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SAG Awards 2017: Hidden Figures and Fences among big winners

Hidden Figures

Story by Jack Foley

HISTORICAL drama Hidden Figures and Denzel Washington’s marital drama Fences were among the big winners at a politically charged Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.

The former film, which tells the true story of black female mathematicians during the 1960s space race, won the best ensemble prize at the Los Angeles ceremony.

Washington, who directed Fences, was named outstanding male actor in a leading role (the first SAG of his career), while his co-star, Viola Davis, took the outstanding female actress in a supporting role prize.

Emma Stone was named outstanding female actress in a leading role for her performance in La La Land (which had not been nominated among the ensemble awards).

And Mahershala Ali accepted the best supporting actor prize for gay coming-of-age drama Moonlight.

Both Stone and Ali took the opportunity to criticise US President Donald Trump, following his decision to sign an executive order, on Friday, halting the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banning Syrian refugees, and suspending all nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Stone commented: “We’re in a really tricky time in our country and things are very inexcusable and scary and need action, and I’m so grateful to be part of a group of people that cares and that wants to reflect things back to society.”

On the win itself, she said: “To be an actor playing an actor and receiving an Actor from a guild of actors is pretty exceptional.”

Ali, meanwhile, spoke about his Muslim faith and the importance of recognising each other’s differences and then setting them aside, citing the fact that his mother is an ordained minister while he became a Muslim 17 years ago.

“I’m able to see her, she’s able to see me,” he said of their mutual respect for each other.

Upon winning the best ensemble trophy for Hidden Figures, one of the film’s leading lights, Taraji P. Henson, said: “The shoulders of the women we stand on are three American heroes. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars.”

But referencing Trump’s order, she went on to say: “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win, love wins. Every time.”

In her speech, Viola Davis honoured the late playwright August Wilson, saying:. “He honoured the average man who happened to be a man of colour. We deserve to be in the canon, in the centre of any narrative that’s written out there. He elevated my father, my mother, my uncles, who had eighth- and fifth-grade educations. He just encapsulated them in history.”

Among the TV winners, meanwhile, Julia Louis-Dreyfus called the immigration ban “a blemish” and “un-American” as she won best comedy TV actress for Veep.

And there were cheers for actress Taylor Schilling when she described the award-winning cast of Orange is The New Black as “a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here”.

There was notable success for British production The Crown among the television winners, with Claire Foy and John Lithgow recognised for their work in the Netflix drama about the British royal family.

Another streaming series, the fantasy drama Stranger Things, picked up the prize for outstanding ensemble in a drama series.

Of those films to miss out, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea was perhaps the biggest casualty to leave empty-handed despite being up for four prizes – including the best actor for Oscar-tipped Casey Affleck.

The SAGs are often cited as a useful indicator of which films will prosper at the Academy Awards.

The night was rounded off when Lily Tomlin was presented with a lifetime achievement award by her 9 to 5 co-star Dolly Parton at Sunday’s ceremony.

The complete winners list

Outstanding male actor in a leading role
Denzel Washington, Fences

Outstanding female actor in a leading role
Emma Stone, La La Land

Outstanding male actor in a supporting role
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Outstanding female actor in a supporting role
Viola Davis, Fences

Outstanding cast in a motion picture
Hidden Figures

Outstanding male actor in a TV movie or limited series
Bryan Cranston, All the Way

Outstanding female actor in a TV movie or limited series
Sarah Paulson, The People Versus OJ Simpson

Outstanding male actor in a drama series
John Lithgow, The Crown

Outstanding female actor in a drama series
Claire Foy, The Crown

Outstanding male actor in a comedy series
William H Macy, Shameless

Outstanding female actor in a comedy series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding ensemble in a drama series
Stranger Things

Outstanding ensemble in a comedy series
Orange is the New Black

Outstanding stunt ensemble in a comedy or drama series
Game of Thrones

Outstanding stunt ensemble in a motion picture
Hacksaw Ridge