The Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night saw Hollywood show its support for Ukraine with Lady Gaga, Brian Cox, Michael Douglas and more expressing their solidarity with the Eastern European nation.
Russian forces shattered the peace in Europe by invading Ukraine last week, and as the 28th SAG Awards in Santa Monica, California took place to celebrate artists, the current situation in Ukraine was at the forefront of celebrity concerns.
Fran Drescher, who is president of the SAG, opened the evening by “extending prayers” to the Ukrainian people.
“First of all, I would like to send my prayers to the Ukrainian people,” she opened her speech.
Later in the night, Succession‘s Brian Cox gave a sobering speech about the conflict after accepting the award for best dramatic ensemble on behalf of the HBO hit.
“One more thing I would like to add,” the Logan Roy star said after congratulating his fellow cast and crew members, “which I think is important to me and hopefully important to you. as actors, performers, screenwriters and directors, [is] what is happening in Ukraine. It’s really, really awful.”
Cox went on to acknowledge Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s acting career.
“It’s particularly awful in terms of [how] it affects people, especially in our profession. The President of Ukraine [Volodymyr Zelensky] was a comedian. He was a wonderful actor. And we should respect that. Coming to the presidency was incredible,” he said.
He then noted Russian artists and creators who are unable to speak out against their country’s actions.
“But what really distressed me was what is happening in Russia, to my fellow actors and actresses, performers, writers and critics. They are told, on pain of high treason, that they cannot say a word about Ukraine. I think it’s awful,” Cox said.
Cox urged the public to “all together for these people too”, adding: “The people in Russia who don’t like what’s going on, and especially the artists. I think we should join them and celebrate them and hope that they can make a change, because I believe they can.
Michael Keaton also mentioned President Zelenskyy when accepting his award for Outstanding Performance in a Television Movie or Limited Series for Drug.
“We have a fellow actor in Zelenskyy who deserves some credit for leading the fight,” he said.
Leslie Odom Jr. also reminded the audience to keep thinking about Ukraine despite the SAG celebrations.
“Although tonight is a celebration, we all at the same time hold a place in our hearts for the people of Ukraine and send our thoughts, prayers and hopes for an imminent peace,” he said.
Lady Gaga also referenced the ongoing dispute during a red carpet interview on Sunday night.
“I’m truly honored to be here,” said the Gucci House said the actress.
“It’s a beautiful night where we can all 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 we all sit in gratitude for it.”
Michael Douglas wore a Ukrainian flag handkerchief and said on the red carpet: ‘It’s not the LA Rams’, referring to the Los Angeles football team who dress in the same colors of yellow and blue .
“If ever there was a moment for us to appreciate what real democracy is, I’m so proud of what these people in this country have done,” the 77-year-old actor said.
Jean Smart, who won the SAG for Actress in a Comedy Series for hacksended his speech with a call for peace.
“Please everyone pray for peace,” Smart said.
Andrew Garfield, who was nominated for his performance in Netflix Tick, tick… Boom!, said on E! red carpet that was “difficult” to celebrate when such events were taking place internationally.
“[It’s] quite a difficult day to celebrate, but keeping what is happening in Ukraine in our hearts, it’s really strange that we are dressing up at the moment, but I’m grateful to be here with our community,” said the Spider Man said the star.
Jessica Chastain, who won the SAG Award for Actress in a Motion Picture for Tammy Faye’s eyesalso acknowledged the victims of war in his acceptance speech.
“My heart is with our international family all over the world right now, who are fighting for their safety and freedom,” she said.