SAG Awards: Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt win top honours

‘Parasite’ created history by becoming first foreign-language film to win best motion picture cast award

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt won honours for their outstanding performances at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Photo: PTI

‘Friends’ alum Jennifer Aniston won her first best female actor in a drama series honour at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) for her role in ‘The Morning Show’.

The award marks her first overall win in more than two decades and her first-ever individual win from SAG.

“Who knew that emotional break-downs felt that good? It was literally like seven months of therapy covering about 20 years of work. So thank you for watching that,” she said in her speech while joking about her character in the show.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Jennifer Aniston reacts before going on stage to accept the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series for ‘The Morning Show’ at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

She went on to thank her co-star and executive producer Reese Witherspoon and head writer Kerry Ehrin for creating “layered and complicated and messy and ugly and just beautifully human” characters.

Aniston also gave actor Adam Sandler a shout out after he was snubbed by the 2020 SAG Awards and Oscars for his performance as a jeweller with a gambling problem in ‘Uncut Gems’.

“Adam Sandler, your performance was extraordinary and your magic is real buddy, I love you,” she said.

Also read: ‘Joker’ leads Oscar nominations with 11 nods; ‘Parasite’ creates history

Alongside Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix won the best male actor award for ‘Joker’, adding to his Golden Globe win.

The Hollywood star, who is tipped to win this year’s best actor Oscar for his role in ‘Joker’, has credited ‘The Dark Knight’ star Heath Ledger for giving him the confidence to play the DC supervillain.

“Really, I’m standing here on the shoulders of my favourite actor, Heath Ledger,” Phoenix, who is nominated for best actor Oscar, said.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Joaquin Phoenix reacts as he accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for ‘Joker’ at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

Ledger won numerous awards, including a posthumous Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a SAG award for his portrayal of the comic book antagonist in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film.

Phoenix also gave a shout-out to Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, reported Vanity Fair.

The actor recalled how he and DiCaprio were pitted against each other as child actors during early audition days.

Also read: Golden Globes: Phoenix drops F-bombs, calls for action on climate change

“There would always be two other guys that I was up against and we’d always lose to this one kid… every casting director would always whisper, “It’s Leonardo’s,” he said as the audience roared with laughter.

“You’ve been an inspiration for over 25 years to me and so many people,” he added as DiCaprio acknowledged the nod.

To Christian Bale, who was nominated for ‘Ford v Ferrari’, Phoenix begged to deliver at least one bad performance. “It’s infuriating. I wish you would. Just suck once,” he said.

Phoenix covered full ground as he paid homage to ‘Marriage Story’ star Adam Driver and ‘Rocketman’ fame Taron Egerton.

“Adam, I’ve been watching you the last few years and you’ve been turning in these beautiful, nuanced, incredible, profound performances. I’m just so moved by you… you should be here. Taron, I’m so happy for you… you’re so beautiful in this movie and I’m so happy for you, and I can’t wait to see what else you do,” he added.

Also read: Joker: Why we love a creepy megalomaniac more than a superhero

‘The Irishman’ veteran Robert De Niro, who was given the Life Achievement Award, took his time on the stage to appeal to the voters to look for candidates who support unions.

The 76-year-old actor said the support from SAG meant a lot to him, especially “these days, when there’s so much hostility towards unions”.

“Political leaders who support unions are more likely to support Affordable Care Act, equitable taxes, humane immigration regulations, a safe environment, a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control, and fair wages and benefits. We owe them our support and we owe them our vote,” De Niro said in his acceptance speech as reported by Deadline.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Leonardo DiCaprio, right, presents the lifetime achievement award to Robert De Niro at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

The actor said since he was in a position to raise his voice against “blatant abuse of power”, he would do so whenever the situation demanded.

“I imagine some of you are saying, ‘Alright, let’s not get into the politics.’ But we are in such a dire situation that is deeply concerning to me, and to so many others, so I had to say something. There’s right and there’s wrong, and there’s common sense and there’s abuse of power, and as a citizen I have as much right as anybody—an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else—to voice my opinion. And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I’m going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power,” De Niro said as the audience rose to give him a standing ovation.

Also read: Parasite and class war cinema — exposing the ugly face of the world

Shocking everyone at the awards, ‘Parasite’ created history as the South Korean class drama went on to become the first foreign language film to pick up the top prize of the best motion picture cast award.

“Although the title is ‘Parasite’, I think the story is about co-existence,” said lead actor Song Kang-ho of the twisty film revolving around class divide.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Kang-Ho Song, Park So-dam, Bong Joon-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Choi Woo-shik, and Lee Sun Gyun win outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture for ‘Parasite’ at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

The win for the Bong Joon-ho-directed film, which has travelled far and wide from festival circuits to Hollywood’s top award ceremonies, comes close on the heels of the Oscars, where it’s eyeing the largely predictable best international film and the most coveted biggie, best picture.

In the acceptance speech, Song, via translator, said he is honoured to receive the award in front of many ‘amazing’ actors that he looks up to.

“I am so honoured to receive this award in front of such amazing actors that I admire, I will never forget this beautiful night, thank you so much,” he added.

Bong said though he is happy with the film’s winning streak this awards season, he is not holding his breath for the Academy Awards.

“It is true that the momentum is building, and we are a part of the awards race, but I think today was truly important as these actors were acknowledged by fellow peers and that’s the greatest joy of this night. With regard to the Oscars, no one can predict what will happen,” the director said backstage as reported by Deadline.

Like the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern emerged favourites in the supporting categories for Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist period piece ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ and divorce drama ‘Marriage Story’.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Brad Pitt accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

The SAG for outstanding action performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture was bagged by Marvel tentpole ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

In the television segment, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ co-stars Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams scored an award each in the categories of actor in a television movie or miniseries for playing the duo of choreographer and director Bob Fosse and iconic dancer Gwen Verdon.

Peter Dinklage was honoured as best actor in TV drama for his performance in the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ as the fan favourite Tyrion Lannister. The epic fantasy show, which ended last May, also won the award for outstanding action performance by a stunt ensemble in a comedy or drama series.

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ star Tony Shalhoub was named the best male actor in a comedy series and the show, fronted by actor Rachel Brosnahan, won the award for best ensemble cast in a comedy series.

SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Parasite, Joker, Friends, Golden Globe Awards,
Renee Zellweger accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for ‘Judy’ at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo: PTI

Actor-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who has been the toast of the award season post the second season of her show ‘Fleabag’, was acknowledged by fellow actors as the best female actor in a comedy series for the beloved series.

As the rein of ‘The Crown’ changed hands from Claire Foy’s Queen Elizabeth II to Olivia Colman’s portrayal of the British monarch, the royal period drama was adjudged the best ensemble in a drama series.

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