If Trump was mad about Meryl Streep’s Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, he must have been steaming out of his ears like Tom after Jerry tricked him into swallowing a bottle of hot sauce if he was watching the Screen Actors Guild Award. (Which he really should know better than to do, but hey, he watches and live tweet SNL every weekend…)
The night took on a strong political– and by political, I mean liberal– tone from the start and things didn’t let up. Considering that the entertainment industry naturally attracts creative people who largely skew liberal, that shouldn’t be surprising. And speeches that reflect these views delivered at awards shows is nothing new. They’ve pretty much been a part of the whole process since awards shows were invented.
At last night’s ceremony, held at the Shrine Auditorium, one speech in particular had the crowd on its feet and that was delivered by David Harbour, who plays police Chief Jim Hopper on Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’, after the freshman series took the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Harbour accepted on the cast’s behalf, saying:
“This award from you, who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and, through our art, to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture. And through our craft, cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken, and afraid and tired they are not alone.
“We are united in that we are all human beings, and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive.
“Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of ‘Stranger Things,’ we 1983 midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts — those who have no homes — [and] we will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak, and the disenfranchised and the marginalized and we will do it all with soul, with heart and joy.
“We thank you for this responsibility.”
Indeed, one of the appeals of ‘Stranger Things’ is that the heroes of the narrative are outcasts. The awkward young heroes, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Will (Noah Schnapp) are D&D playing, AV Club nerds who are bullied at school and call to mind the casts from classic films like ‘Stand By Me’, ‘The Goonies’ and ‘The Monster Squad’. Even Will’s relatively normal older brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) is an outcast because he has to work to support his family, unlike his wealthy layabout classmates. Eleven recalls outsider characters like ‘Carrie’ or Charlie from ‘Firestarter’ who are tormented despite their extraordinary gifts. And fans created a cult around Barb (Sharon Purser), the level-headed, straight-laced (i.e. uncool) best friend of Nancy, who resisted the pressure to join the popular kids, when Nancy caved, and as a result was killed. There are even teases that Will might turn out to be gay.
The ‘Stranger Things’ ensemble beat out those of ‘The Crown’, ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld’.
After last year’s outcry over the lack of minority nominees at the Academy Awards, the SAG Awards swung in the opposite direction, with wins for ‘Hidden Figures’ (Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture), Denzel Washington (Lead Actor – ‘Fences’), Mahershala Ali (Supporting Actor – ‘Moonlight’), Viola Davis (Lead Actress – ‘Fences’), and ‘Orange Is The New Black’ (Ensemble Cast In A Comedy Series).
In one conservative victory, Republican Clint Eastwood’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ won for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture.
‘Stranger Things’ Season Two will hit Netflix sometime this summer.
Do you feel that ‘Stranger Things’ victory is a blow for underdogs? Or is this all just entertainment?
“We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy what we have envisioned for ourselves and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility!” #DavidHarbour gave an impassioned speech tonight while accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. #sagawards #davidharbour @sagawards #cnnsagawards #strangerthings ( via @millermobley)