SAG Awards places diversity on display


Diversity was the night’s Big Winner. 

Last Saturday, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, or SAGs for short, aired on TBS and TNT. The ceremony, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, is probably one of the most special evenings to take place during award season.

Why, you may ask?

It is because the small and big screen stars are voting to nominate the work of their peers and later send a few home with the night’s top honors. When the nominations were dolled out in early December, the contenders for the infamous Actor statue came from all walks of life, creed, color and sexual orientation.

It is a great deal of difference compared to the controversial list of all white nominees for this years Academy Awards.

The nominees, which influenced the hashtag #OscarSoWhite, getting the news media and a slew of black actors talking about a boycott of the award show that is set to air on ABC on Feb, 28. Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee took to his Instagram account to say, “we cannot support it and I mean no disrespect.… But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches.”

With the sound of the public and media outrage, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs has even stated to industry publication Deadline that she was disappointed in the way the nominations turned out.The controversy lead the media and the public’s attention to the body of voters that make up AMPAS, mostly “older white males that are out of touch with today’s movie goers.”

Again, this is extremely different from the body of voters that make up the Screen Actors Guild, which is why I think the SAG awards gain so much attention, because actors are giving awards to their peers, making it all that more special.

I remember watching the award show and having actor Idris Elba be a fixture at the podium, having won awards for his work in Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” and the BBC’s “Luther,” and saying, “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV.”

According to reports from South Florida Times website and the Associated Press, Elba did not make a direct reference to the crisis that has been sweeping through Hollywood over the last few weeks.

There was so much diversity seen through the night at the awards ceremony, and it especially hit home for so many watching at the Shrine or at home on the couch, when “Orange is the New Black” took home gold for the second year in a row for ‘outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.’”

Laura Prepon, who accepted the award with her cast standing beside her, said, “Look at this stage. This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. Different race, color, creed, sexual orientation.”

Diversity was definitely a surrounding theme of the evening and no one said it better than Viola Davis, “we’ve become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic, it’s just not.”