Nicole Kidman’s stirring tribute to actors aged 40-plus is among our favourite moments from the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, the first edition of the ceremony in its 24-year history to be helmed by a host – stage and screen star Kristen Bell.
It was Nicole Kidman, however, who delivered the most rousing speech of the evening upon winning her first SAG Award after 10 nominations, for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series in Big Little Lies. The 50-year-old actress channeled the call for diversity in film and television currently ringing through all corners of Hollywood and used her speech to champion a particularly marginalized, often stereotyped group of performers: women over the age of 40.
“I want to say, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, I revere you,” Kidman began, paying homage to two of her fellow Outstanding Female Actor nominees. “I’ve watched you and I’ve learned for you. And there’s others: Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Judy Davis, Isabelle Hupert, Shirley MacLaine, Judi Dench. The list is so long and I would love to say so many more names, but I can’t right now. I want to thank you all for your trailblazing performances you’ve given over your career. And how wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old because 20 years ago, we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives. That’s not the case now. We’ve proven, and these actresses and so many more are proving that we are potent and powerful and viable.”
Kidman then put the onus on the industry itself to be an agent of change. “I just beg that the industry stays behind us because our stories are finally being told. It’s only the beginning and I’m so proud to be part of a community that is instigating this change, but I implore the writers, directors, studios, and financiers to put passion and money behind our stories. We have proven we can do this. We can continue to do this, but only with the support of this industry and that money and passion.”
The speech couldn’t have come on a more appropriate evening, as every individual SAG acting award handed out last night, except for one, went to an actor or actress over the age of 40. The lone holdout? The award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, won by Claire Foy, 33, for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown.
Aside from Kidman’s speech, some of the evening’s most quotable moments included everything from references to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements to humorous, off-the-cuff quips. These are a few of our favourites:
* “Elisabeth Moss is here from the documentary The Handmaid’s Tale. That’s a sad one.” – Kristen Bell, during her opening monologue.
* “Even though our lines and the stories we’re told are given to us by writers, it’s our job, under those imaginary circumstances, to find the truth. And I think it’s a glorious way to make a living, especially in this day and age when so many people either can’t recognize the truth or don’t think it’s important.” – William H. Macy, 67, accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series in Shameless.
* “My mom and dad were actors, they dragged me to rehearsals when I was a baby, and I slowly realized that they were nuts.” – Sam Rockwell, 49, accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
* “Truth is power and women are stepping into their power … Make no mistake, this is not a moment in time. This is a movement.” – Gabrielle Carteris, 57, President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, in her address.
* “Oh my god that’s a lot of love. But I can take it. You damn near killed me.” – Rita Moreno, 86, after receiving a standing ovation when she took the stage.
* “There’s something wrong with this statue. It works from the back. From the front, it’s gender specific. [Pause] Maybe I’ve started something.” – Morgan Freeman, 80, pointing out the gender of the SAG “Actor” statuette.
* “People call us weird and strange. The truth is that everyone’s weird and strange and we just embrace ourselves for who we are.” – Sterling K. Brown, 41, accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series in This Is Us.
* “They’re telling me to wrap up, and that very sad music seems to follow me everywhere.” – Gary Oldman, 59, as he accepts his award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Performance for Darkest Hour.
SAG Award Winners Aged 40-plus
William H. Macy, 67, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, Shameless
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 57, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, Veep
Allison Janney, 58, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, I, Tonya
Sam Rockwell, 49, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Alexander Skarsgård, 41, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, 50, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series, Big Little Lies (10-time nominee, first win)
Morgan Freeman, 80, Lifetime Achievement Award
Sterling K. Brown, 41, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, This Is Us
Gary Oldman, 59, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Darkest Hour
Frances McDormand, 60, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri