History Made at the SAG Awards

For the first time in its history, every Screen Actors Guild Award in the film category went to a person of color. Three Blacks and one Asian actor swept the field.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Whether this will be a harbinger for the Oscars no one can say, but history was clearly made Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. For the first time in its 27-year history, every one of the four main film acting awards was won by a person of color. Three Black actors and one Asian swept the film categories. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman took home both lead actor awards for their performances in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Daniel Kaluuya was awarded for his supporting role in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” while “Minari’s” Yuh-Jung Young won for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. She became the first Asian woman to win that honor. 

All these winners have also been nominated for Oscars in the identical categories, which means history could be made there as well. Davis thanked legendary playwright August Wilson, saying that he had created a story that “leaves a legacy for actors of color.” Youn acknowledged being blindsided by her award and said, “I don’t know how to describe my feelings. I’ve been recognized by Westerners. It is very, very honored especially by my [fellow actors] chose me as a supporting actress…I’m very pleased and happy.”

Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” won the award for the best ensemble cast of 2020. The interesting thing about that one is that Sorkin was not nominated for Best Director in the Oscar race. Whether that matters is another of the questions that will be answered when the Oscars air April 25. The SAG honors were awarded in a pre-taped ceremony.