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Trial of the Chicago 7 takes top honors at SAG Awards




Still, the victory for The Trial of the Chicago 7 marked the first time a movie from any streaming service has won the All Guilds Award. Written and directed by Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 was scheduled for a theatrical release by Paramount Pictures before the pandemic struck, leading to its sale to Netflix. The streamer is still after his first Oscar win.

Frank Langella, who plays the judge who presided over the 1969 prosecution of activists arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, drew parallels between that time of turmoil and today while accepting the award on behalf of the cast.

God gives us leaders, said Reverend Martin Luther King before he was shot in cold blood on that same date in 1968, a deep injustice, Langella said, citing the events that led to those dramatized in The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Rev. King was right. We need leaders to make us hate ourselves less.

Victory came over two other Netflix releases My Raineys Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods as well as Amazons One Night in Miami and A24s Minari. If Lee Isaac Chungs had won the Korean-American family drama Minari, it would have been the second year in a row that a largely non-English film won the SAG top prize. Last year, the cast of Parasite triumphed, becoming the first cast in a non-English film to do so.

The SAG Awards are a harbinger of Oscar up close. Actors are the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and SAG winners often line up with Oscar winners. Last year Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, and all of the individual SAG winners Rene Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix also won the Oscars.

These awards went to an all-colored group of actors this year: Chadwick Boseman, Best Male Actor for Ma Raineys Black Bottom; Viola Davis, Best Female Actress for Ma Raineys Black Bottom; Yuh-Jung Youn, Best Female Supporting Actress for Minari; and Daniel Kaluuya, Best Supporting Male Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah.

Of these, Davis’ victory was the most surprising in a category that often belonged to Carey Mulligan (promising young lady) or Frances McDormand (Nomadland). His fifth individual SAG Davis award.

Thank you, August, for leaving a legacy for actors of color that we can savor the rest of our lives on, Davis said, referring to playwright August Wilson.

As throughout awards season, Best Male Actor once again belonged to Boseman for his final performance. Boseman, who died last August at the age of 43, had already set a record for most four SAG film nominations in a single year. He was also posthumously nominated for his supporting role in Da 5 Bloods and shared the ensemble nominations for the film Spike Lees and Ma Raineys Black Bottom.

It was at the SAG Awards that Boseman gave one of his most memorable speeches. At the 2019 Guild Awards, Boseman spoke on behalf of the Black Panther cast when the film took home the top prize. We all know what it’s like to be told there’s no room for you to be featured, Boseman said at the time. Yet you are young, talented, and black.

Oscar favorite Nomadland missed out on a nomination for Best Ensemble, possibly because its cast is made up largely of non-professional actors. The movie Zhaos has already won the Producers Guild’s highly predictive awards, as well as the Golden Globes. The Trial of the Chicago 7, vying for Best Picture at the Oscars and four other awards, could be a challenge for the frontrunner.

In an interview following the pre-registration of the award for The Trial of the Chicago 7, Langella called the virtual experience much more civilized. I’m in my bedroom slippers, he said from New York’s Hudson Valley. I don’t have any pants, added co-star Michael Keaton.

Eddie Redmayne, who plays Tom Hayden in the film, credited Sorkin and casting director Francine Maisler for bringing together such a disparate group of actors, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong in a together.

It was like a clash of different types of music, be it jazz, rock, or classical – but it all came together under Aaron. He was almost the conductor, says Redmayne. It was a day and a joyful day to see these great different and varied players fight.

In the television categories, the sets of Schitts Creek (for comedy series) and The Crown (for drama series) added to their award streak. Other winners included Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queens Gambit), Gillian Anderson (The Crown), Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Jason Bateman (Ozark) and Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True).

The awards are typically the most high-profile event for the Screen Actors Guild, although the union clash earlier this year with former President Donald Trump may have made headlines. After the guild prepared to kick Trump out (credits include The Apprentice, Home Alone 2) for his role in the Capitol Riot, Trump resigned from SAG-Aftra.

Follow AP screenwriter Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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