Image: Public Domain Pictures

What happened at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards?

The Screen Actors Guild Awards showcased the best performances in film and television over the last year. The ceremony has created buzz around a number of performances ahead of the Oscars, throwing some curveballs into the ‘Best Picture’ race.

Rami Malek picked up another award for his performance as ‘Freddie Mercury’ in Bohemian Rhapsody as well as Glenn Close collecting another for her role in The Wife. Both are now solidifying their place as front-runners to take home the top prizes at the Oscars at the end of the month. Malek has managed to rise above the widespread criticisms of Bohemian Rhapsody to prove that his acting can elevate any project. Close’s award is well-deserved given the huge amount of critical praise she received for her subtly brilliant performance.

The buzz around A Star is Born seems to be dying down, with another fruitless award ceremony for its stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Back when the film was released, it seemed almost inevitable that this passion project would be sweeping the season, with praise for the Cooper and Gaga’s on-screen chemistry a huge source of praise. Their performances struck a chord with me, and I have to say that I’m sad to see this awards season skip over them. Gaga’s performance was something you would expect after years of perfecting your craft, not a first leap into cinema. However, the calibre of performances over the last year means she and Cooper have stiff competition for the top awards where they may have had ease winning in previous seasons.

Gaga’s performance was something you would expect after years of perfecting your craft, not a first leap into cinema

Diversity was undoubtedly the biggest winner at this year’s ceremony, with Black Panther taking the award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture’ and ‘Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture’. Many have commented that this win puts Black Panther seriously into the running for ‘Best Picture’. This still seems a long-shot, but it’s refreshing to see an entry that breaks the biopic formula becoming a serious contender for the top prize, as well as a movie which has taken such big strides in raising the diversity on our screens in the last year.

In his acceptance speech, Chadwick Boseman commented that the success of Black Panther has led to the question of how the industry has changed for young black actors. The landscape of Hollywood certainly seems to have become more welcoming, and the SAGs have shown that they can get the recognition for their work. The movie was nominated in a category of diverse and commercially successful movies such as BlacKkKlansman and Crazy Rich Asians, following on from another diverse showing in the previous year’s ceremony. Sandra Oh continued to dominate the small screen awards, winning ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series’ for her role in Killing Eve, and her speech gave us a reminder that, though there may have been progress in the diversity of winners, it doesn’t mean the hard work is over yet.

the landscape of Hollywood certainly seems to have become more welcoming

GLOW won the ‘Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama’, gaining only a fraction of the recognition it deserves. The stunt co-ordination has received a lot of praise since the Netflix series started, and rightly so, but the acting has yet to gain the awards recognition it deserves. With a diverse female cast and some powerhouse performances from Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin, it has yet to capture audiences to live up to its potential. With the huge saturation of streaming service shows, it can be hard to rise to the top, but I have faith that a third season might garner more attention. Amazon Prime hit The Marvellous Mrs Maisel took home a number of awards, proving its appeal is not only due to its brilliant writing but the fantastic performances at its centre.

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