Hollywood pays tribute to Ukraine, President Zelenskyy amid Russian invasion during SAG Awards
The 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards took place on Sunday night in California
Ukraine was on the minds of many during the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) on Sunday night.
Several stars in Hollywood gave tributes and offered prayers for those impacted by the Russian invasion. The ceremony was held at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, and broadcast on both TNT and TBS.
Lady Gaga, who appeared on behalf of her film "House of Gucci," revealed on the red carpet that she was "really honored to be here" but noted that those in Ukraine should be remembered during the glitzy affair.
"This is a beautiful night where we all get to celebrate art together and celebrate each other," the 35-year-old told E!’s "Live from the Red Carpet". "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."
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Michael Douglas shared a similar sentiment as he wore a blue and yellow pocket square representing the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
"This is not the LA Rams," the 77-year-old clarified to Access Hollywood, referencing the Los Angeles football team that has the same colors.
"If ever there was a time for us to appreciate what true democracy is, I’m just so proud of what these people of this country have done," said the actor.
Like Douglas, several attendees used accessories to show support for Ukraine. Tyler Perry, Shari Belafonte, Douglas Hodge and Jon Bernthal wore blue and yellow ribbons. Actress Greta Lee wore a yellow and blue Marc Jacobs dress. Lisa Ann Walter pinned a blue and yellow corsage to her dress.
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Some performers used their speeches to address the ongoing conflict.
"First, I would like to extend prayers to the people of Ukraine," Fran Drescher told the audience.
Jean Smart, who won the award for outstanding actress in a comedy series, concluded her speech with, "Please everyone, pray for peace."
"My heart is with our international family all over the world right now, who is fighting for their safety and their freedom," echoed Jessica Chastain, who won for best actress in a film.
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Brian Cox, who stood alongside his "Succession" cast, described the invasion as "truly awful."
"This is a thing that's come to me about what's going on in the Ukraine," said the 75-year-old. "It's truly, truly awful, really, really awful what's happening. And it's particularly awful in terms of what is affecting the other people, particularly in our profession."
"The thing that's really distressed me is what's happening in Russia to my fellow actors and actresses and performers, and critics," the actor shared. "They are told under pain of high treason that they cannot say a word about Ukraine. And I think that is pretty awful. I think we should all stand together and also for those people in Russia who do not like what's going on, particularly the artists."
"I think we should really join in celebrating them and hoping that they can actually make a shift. Because I believe they can," he concluded his message.
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Cox also noted how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a performer before serving as the nation's leader.
"The president of Ukraine was a comic, you know, he was a wonderful comic performer," he said. "And we should respect that for him, and to come to the presidency is amazing."
Like Cox, Michael Keaton commended the 44-year-old’s efforts.
"We have a fellow actor in Zelenskyy, who deserves some credit tonight for fighting the fight," said the 70-year-old who accepted the award for male actor in a miniseries or TV movie.
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Laverne Cox, who served as E! News’ red carpet correspondence, also addressed the conflict during her live coverage of the event.
"The performances we are celebrating here tonight have brought you joy and inspiration this year," said the "Orange Is the New Black" star. "With all this going on in the world, it can sometimes be difficult to find light and hope. Tonight, our hearts are with our friends in Ukraine. We stand with them and pray for their safety."
Andrew Garfield also remarked that "it’s a tricky day to celebrate."
"Keeping what’s happening in Ukraine in our hearts, it’s weird," the actor admitted. "It’s definitely odd that we are dressing up in this moment, but yeah, I’m very grateful to be here with our community – a community of love…"
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During the opening of the show, Leslie Odom Jr. addressed the conflict.
"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," the actor said alongside his "Hamilton" co-stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Daveed Diggs.
The SAG Awards are considered one of the most reliable predictors of the Academy Awards.
Ukrainian troops slowed Russia’s advance on key cities, at least for now, while a Ukrainian delegation arrived at the border with Belarus on Monday for talks with Russian officials. European Union defense ministers were also to meet, to discuss how to get weaponry they have pledged into Ukraine. Meanwhile, Western sanctions triggered by the invasion sent the ruble plummeting, leading Russians to line up at banks and ATMs.
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The Russian military assault on Ukraine went into its fifth day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his nuclear forces put on increased alert, ratcheting up tensions yet further. Kyiv’s outgunned but determined troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital and other key cities — at least for the time being.
Explosions and gunfire that have disrupted life since the invasion began last week appeared to subside around Kyiv overnight. Long lines formed outside supermarkets Monday as residents were allowed out of bomb shelters and homes for the first time since a curfew imposed Saturday.
Exact death tolls are unclear, but Ukraine’s president says at least 16 children have been killed and another 45 wounded, among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other casualties. Millions have fled homes or the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.