Aaron Sorkin’s historical drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” collected the top Screen Actors Guild Award honor of best motion picture ensemble Sunday evening, although leading individual performance honors went to the two leads of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman.”
Meanwhile, Netflix’ “The Crown” continued its awards season dominance by winning the prize for best ensemble in a drama series, while Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek,” after sweeping the comedy categories at the Emmys, won the SAG honor for best comedy ensemble.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27th annual SAG Awards were presented in a pre-recorded, hourlong television special simulcast on TBS and TNT.
Veteran actor Frank Langella, who portrayed the corrupt just who oversaw “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” accepted the ensemble award on behalf of the film’s cast. And while hailing all of the performances, he heaped the most praise on writer/director Sorkin, whom he called their leader, saying “his loving and respectful direction transformed a group of disparate actors into an ensemble.”
“We owe a debt of thanks to the voices of the Chicago 7, and most especially Aaron Sorkin, our leader, whose voice is the soul of this movie,” he said.
Boseman’s wife, Simone, accepted the leading actor award on behalf of her late husband, praising his fellow cast members and the film’s creators. And she concluded by quoting Boseman himself.
“If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind,” she said. “That’s a quote from Chadwick Boseman.”
Like Simone Boseman, Davis thanked the late playwright August Wilson, who penned “Ma Rainey” in 1982.
“Thank you, August, for leaving a legacy to actors of color that we can relish for the rest of our lives,” she said. “Thank you so much.”
Davis also won a SAG Award for lead actress in 2017 for her work in the screen version of another Wilson play, “Fences.” She went on to win the Academy Award for that role. She and Boseman are both nominated for Oscars this year.
Daniel Kaluuya was named best supporting actor for his role as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He praised Hampton in his acceptance speech, for “guiding us and showing us his power even now, 52 years later.”
“This one’s for Chadwick Boseman and this one’s for Chairman Fred Hampton,” he said.
Yun-Jung Youn took the prize for best supporting actress for her role as the family matriarch in “Minari.” The celebrated Korean actress struggled with her English as she accepted the honor, saying, “I don’t know how to describe my feelings.”
“Schitt’s Creek” completed its farewell by winning the SAG honor for best ensemble cast in a comedy series. Series co-creator Daniel Levy hailed the “incredible ensemble of actors who made comedy look absolutely effortless with their skill and their dedication.”
“Thank you to all who voted for us,” he said. “What a way to say goodbye, and thank you so much.”
The show’s Catherine O’Hara was named best actress in a comedy series. She hailed Daniel and Eugene Levy and the show’s writers, saying their “storytelling gave me and everyone in the town from which I am currently estranged every possible chance to love, be loved, make happy fools of ourselves and blossom into the best we could be.”
Jason Sudeikis, meanwhile, repeated his Golden Globe win as best actor in a comedy series for Amazon’s “Ted Lasso.”
“The Crown” was named best ensemble cast in a drama series for the second consecutive year, while Gillian Anderson was named best drama actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher.
Anderson gave thanks “to the entire `Crown’ ensemble, who in my eyes have not (earned) enough attention for all the depth that they bring to every episode.”
Jason Bateman won for best actor in a drama for his work in Netflix’s “Ozark,” repeating his win from 2019.
While he praised his cast mates, he added, “I’m sure they would all agree that the biggest thank yous go to the health-care workers that have tended to us all during this last year, and the miracle work from the scientists that have given us the vaccines that are not only going to let us continue to make fake lives, but most importantly the real life that we’re all yearning to get back to.”
Mark Ruffalo won the award for best actor in a television movie or limited series for his dual role as twin brothers — one suffering from mental illness — in HBO’s “I Know This Much is True.”
“Acting doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it happens between people in a magical place,” he said, adding, “Mental illness is a real thing and I just think it’s real important that we’re open and honest about it and have no fear and have no shame.”
Anya Taylor-Joy was named best actress in a TV movie or limited series for her role as a young chess master in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.”
“It was such a privilege every single day to work with the playmates I got to work with,” Taylor-Joy said. “… A show isn’t made by one person. It’s made by everybody and I’m just so grateful I get to do this.”