Politically-charged speeches at SAG Awards take aim at Trump

Politics took center stage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night as award winners used the spotlight to slam President Donald Trump’s halting of immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The most blistering speech of the night came from David Harbour, one of the stars of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.” Harbour was on stage to accept best ensemble in a TV drama series.

“It’s a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and through our art to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture and through our craft to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that, when they feel broken and afraid and tired, they are not alone.”

Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor for his performance in “Moonlight,” said his film, about a shy, gay Miami boy’s hard life, held lessons of acceptance. “We see what happens when you persecute people, Ali said. “They fold into themselves.”

Ali said his own relationship with his mother exemplified tolerance. The son of a Protestant minister, Ali converted to Islam 17 years ago.

"We put things to the side," Ali said of their differences. "I'm able to see her. She's able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. That stuff is minutia. It's not that important."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who added another award to her mantle for her performance in “Veep,” said she was the daughter of an immigrant who fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France.


"Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes," said Louis-Dreyfus. "And this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American."

Lily Tomlin was the lifetime achievement honoree Sunday. The 77-year-old actress gave a warm, rollicking speech that dispensed both drinking advice and regret over wasting "a lot of time being ambitious about the wrong things."

"Did you hear? The Doomsday Clock has been moved up to two and a half minutes before midnight," said Tomlin. "And this award, it came just in the nick of time."

Wrapping up the night, “Hidden Fences” stunned with winning the award for best movie ensemble. Stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer took the stage to accept the award. Henson concluded the show the same way its first presenter, Ashton Kutcher, began it.

“This story is about unity," Henson said. “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins. Every time."

Trump and his policies have overshadowed award season. It began with Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes earlier this month and continued Sunday and will probably be talked about at the Oscars.

The immigration ban has already altered the Academy Awards. On Sunday, the revered Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, whose "A Salesman" is nominated for best foreign language film, said he would boycott the Oscars, even if he was allowed to travel for them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.