The Screen Actors Guild displayed its appreciation of black actors Saturday night.
Several black performers received SAG awards for TV performances: Queen Latifah for her role as blues singer Bessie Smith in Bessie, Viola Davis for How to Get Away With Murder, Uzo Aduba for Orange Is the New Black and Idris Elba for his role in Luther.
Elba took center stage when he also won the supporting actor prize for his role in the film Beasts of No Nation, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences overlooked for an Oscar nomination.
“Welcome to diverse TV,” he said, sending a clear message to academy members who nominated only white actors for Oscars for a second consecutive year.
The Oscar snub of actors of color unleashed a barrage of criticism for the lack of diversity among its voting members.
“This is what happens when you have the SAG group—a group of very diverse people who understand the work that we all put in and that we all deserve the same opportunities,” Queen Latifah told the Los Angeles Times backstage.
Davis told the Times that this group of black actors won because of “effective” performances.
She added: “They won because the actors have craft, they have a level of excellence that reaches people—and we’re actors, too. We’re artists, too. We deserve to be a part of it, and I think you saw that tonight.”
SAG Awards committee Chair JoBeth Williams said that her organization “worked very hard to reflect the real world.”