On Sunday, while the 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) was ongoing, celebrating the best acting performances of the year, a number of actors used their time onstage to briefly speak about Russia’s invasion, offering their support for the people of Ukraine.
At the outset, Leslie Odom Jr. addressed attendees: “While tonight is a celebration, we are all at the same time holding a place in our hearts for the people of Ukraine and sending our thoughts, prayers, and hopes for impending peace.”
SAG President Fran Drescher voiced her support for Ukraine. Hacks winner Jean Smart called for peace. And Michael Keaton, who won for his role in Dopesick, even gave Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky a shout-out.
“I will tell you, we have a fellow actor in Zelensky, who deserves some credit tonight for fighting the fight.” Keaton said. Prior to being a politician, Zelensky was a popular comedian and actor.
At the end of his acceptance speech for best ensemble in a drama series, Succession star Brian Cox expressed his distress at what was happening in Ukraine, but beyond that, he urged support for Russian actors who are opposed to the invasion.
“The thing that has really distressed me is what’s happening in Russia,” said Cox. “To my fellow actors and actresses and performers and writers and critics, they are told under pain of high treason they cannot say a word about Ukraine. For those people, the people in Russia who don’t like what’s going on, and particularly the artists, I think we should join and celebrate them and hope that they can make a shift. Because I believe they can.”
Lady Gaga also voiced her support for the Ukrainian people before the show began, saying, “I am just really honored to be here. This is a beautiful night where we all get to celebrate art together and celebrate each other. There’s so much going on in the world and my heart goes out to Ukraine. I think tonight we should all really sit in the gratitude of this.”