Pop Culture

How the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2022 Addressed the Ukraine Crisis

As so many awards shows have in years past, the SAG Awards 2022 had to find a way to honor the year’s best acting across film and television while also acknowledging the more serious news of the moment—in this case, the continuing terror in Ukraine. The unfolding war was top of mind for many performers, who addressed Russia’s invasion at various points throughout the red carpet and telecast. Arriving onstage midway through the ceremony, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher began her remarks on behalf of the guild with “First, I would like to extend prayers to the people of Ukraine.”

Prior to the ceremony, The Morning Show’s Greta Lee walked the SAG Awards red carpet in a blue and yellow Marc Jacobs dress in tribute to the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

The most impassioned moment in a speech came from Brian Cox, who accepted the best ensemble in a drama series award for Succession. “It’s truly, truly awful, really, really awful what’s happening. And it’s particularly awful in terms of what is affecting the other people, particularly in our profession,” Cox said of the crisis. “The president of Ukraine was a comic. He was a wonderful comic performer and we should respect that for him and to come to the presidency was amazing. But the thing that’s really distressed me is what’s happening in Russia to my fellow actors and actresses and performers and writers and critics. They are told under pain of high treason that they cannot say a word about Ukraine and I think that is pretty awful. And I think we should all stand together and also for those people, the people in Russia who don’t like what’s going on in particular the artists, I think we should really join in celebrating them and hoping that they can actually make a shift as I believe they can.”

“While tonight is a celebration, we are all at the same time holding a place in our hearts for the people of Ukraine and sending our thoughts, prayers, and hopes for impending peace,” Leslie Odom Jr. said at the start of the show, which opened with remarks from him and his Hamilton costars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Daveed Diggs.

“[It’s] a pretty tricky day to celebrate, but keeping what’s happening in Ukraine in our hearts, it’s definitely odd that we’re dressing up in this moment, but I’m grateful to be here with our community,” Andrew Garfield, who is nominated for his performance in Tick, Tick…Boom!, said on the E! red carpet pre-show. 

House of Gucci nominee Lady Gaga also addressed the ongoing situation while walking the red carpet, telling host Laverne Cox, “There’s so much going on in the world, and my heart really goes out to Ukraine.”

When Jean Smart won the SAG for female actor in a comedy series for Hacks she capped off her speech with acknowledgement of Ukraine: “Please, everybody, pray for peace.”

This post will be updated.

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