There is plenty of news to go around right now, with the recent travel ban and temporary halting of the ban, protests against the new administration, and escalating tensions throughout the US. In the world of film, the Oscars are just around the corner. However, before moving forward to focus on that, I’d like to take a step back and talk about the Screen Actors Guild awards, which took place on the 29th of January.
Right on the heels of Trump’s travel ban, the SAGs took a reassuringly political turn towards solidarity with groups affected. In particular, David Harbaur of Stranger Things gave a passionate speech about standing up to hate and oppression, both in life and in art. Starting with Ashton Kutcher’s statement that the people being blocked from entry to the country were loved and a part of the fabric of the country, and continuing through Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series award winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role winner Mahershala Ali, up to Denzel Washington during his acceptance speech as Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and beyond, nearly all award winners had something to say in support of those affected by the ban, or against the policies being put in place by the new administration.
Art is a shaper of minds, and it was refreshing to see so many artists stand together on an issue blatantly hurting so many. With the Oscars rapidly approaching, we’ll have to wait (and hope) to see if the Academy can match the passion of the SAGs.