SAG Awards make history as actors of color sweep top film categories
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Four actors made Screen Actors Guild Awards history on Sunday after being the first people of color to sweep the top four categories in film acting.
The SAG Awards are a closely watched Oscar harbinger. Actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and SAG winners often line up with Oscar ones.
Last year, "Parasite" went on to win best picture at the Academy Awards, and all of the individual SAG winners — Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix — won at the Oscars, too.
Those awards this year went to a group entirely of actors of color, potentially setting the stage for a historically diverse slate of Oscar winners: Chadwick Boseman, best male actor for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"; Viola Davis, best female actor for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"; Yuh-Jung Youn, best female supporting actor for "Minari"; and Daniel Kaluuya, best male supporting actor for "Judas and the Black Messiah."
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In this video grab provided by the SAG Awards, Viola Davis, right, accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," as her husband Julius Tennon looks on during the 27th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on April 4, 2021. (SAG Awards via AP)
As Yahoo Entertainment noted, the 2021 show marked the first time that people of color took home the top acting awards in film at the SAG awards since they got their start in 1995. The outlet revealed that Yuh-Jung Youn’s win for best female actor in a supporting role is particularly groundbreaking for the awards as she is the first Asian woman to take home a top SAG Award.
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"I don't know how to describe my feelings," Youn said during her acceptance speech. "I've been recognized by Westerners. It is very, very honored, especially by my fellow actors who choose me as a supporting actress."
Meanwhile, Netflix’s "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" proved fruitful for the late Chadwick Boseman as well as Viola Davis, who was up against previous SAG favorites Carey Mulligan and Frances McDormand.
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"Thank you, August, for leaving a legacy for actors of color that we can relish the rest of our lives," said Davis, referring to playwright August Wilson.
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It was a big night for Netflix as well with its other awards contender "The Trial of the Chicago 7" brought home the top prize. Written and directed by Sorkin, "The Trial of the Chicago 7" had been set for theatrical release by Paramount Pictures before the pandemic hit, leading to its sale to Netflix. The streamer is still after its first best-picture win at the Oscars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.