Let’s start with the very white elephant in the room: There were a literal handful of Black actors nominated at the SAG Awards, so I wasn’t expecting a night full of representation like the NAACP Image Awards. But that’s not to say the night wasn’t without Black excellence.
Per Deadline, in the TV categories, Ted Lasso’s Toheeb Jimoh and Kola Bokinni won as part of the show’s ensemble cast and were the only two Black actors to win–although it’s not like the nominees included any Black actors or series. Look, I already know that Succession and Ted Lasso are going to win everything because they always do. However, I find it hard to believe Insecure wasn’t worthy of recognition for its final season.
On the movie side, it was Ariana DeBose for Supporting Actress, who cemented her Oscar favorite status, with another win for her role as Anita in West Side Story. Despite all the well-deserved praise she has received for her standout performance, DeBose said in her acceptance speech “it’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable calling myself an actor. My roots come from the dance world and the Broadway stage.”
As if stealing every scene in West Side Story wasn’t enough, DeBose has had a history-making awards season. Her SAG Awards win makes her the first openly queer woman to win an individual acting award, and her Oscar nomination is the first for an openly queer woman of color, per the LA Times.
The Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role category was a heavyweight battle with nominees Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield, Javier Bardem and Benedict Cumberbatch all vying for top honors. Personally, I thought it was going to be Denzel or Cumberbatch getting the win, but plot twist. It was Will for King Richard. Frankly, he seemed just as surprised as I was, though he quickly recovered and accepted the award with his trademark charisma and wit.
“That may have been one of the greatest moments of my career just now, because my name was called for King Richard sitting next to Venus Williams,” he said. “Richard Williams is a dreamer like no one you’ve ever known. He has a power of belief that borders on insanity, and sometimes tips over the border. Which is absolutely necessary to take something from impossible to possible.”
He went on to thank co-star Aunjanue Ellis, then praised young stars Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, noting how proud he was to “parent” them on set and introduce them to the room full of stars and legends. It was a truly beautiful moment for someone we first met as the 17-year-old Fresh Prince.
In recent years, the SAG Awards have become a solid predictor for acting categories at the Oscars. So does this mean Will has a chance at winning that elusive Best Actor trophy? Guess we’ll find out when the 94th Academy Awards air Sunday, March 27 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on ABC, with Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes hosting.
Full list of SAG Award winners:
- Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: CODA
- Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: WILL SMITH / Richard Williams —KING RICHARD
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: JESSICA CHASTAIN / Tammy Faye Bakker —THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE
- Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series: MICHAEL KEATON / Dr. Samuel Finnix — DOPESICK
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series: KATE WINSLET / Mare Sheehan — MARE OF EASTTOWN
- Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: SUCCESSION
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: JUNG HO-YEON / Kang Sae-byeok — SQUID GAME
- Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: LEE JUNG-JAE / Seong Gi-hun — SQUID GAME
- Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: TED LASSO
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: JEAN SMART / Deborah Vance — HACKS
- Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: JASON SUDEIKIS / Ted Lasso — TED LASSO
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: ARIANA DeBOSE / Anita — WEST SIDE STORY
- Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: TROY KOTSUR / Frank Rossi — CODA
- Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: NO TIME TO DIE
- Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series: SQUID GAME
- SAG Life Achievement Award: HELEN MIRREN