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Inside EW's Screen Actors Guild Awards party

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Orange Is The New Black
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

This weekend’s awards season festivities got a jump start Saturday night at Entertainment Weekly’s Screen Actors Guild Awards Party. Film and television stars gathered at the Chateau Marmont, just off bustling Sunset Boulevard, to celebrate this year’s nominees.

Partygoers included Laverne Cox, Robert Duvall, Julie Bowen, Eric Dane, Natasha Lyonne, Alfred Enoch, Tyler James Williams, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Laura Carmichael, Rhea Seehorn, Alysia Reiner, Tyler Ritter, Laura Prepon, Reid Scott, Lauren Potter, and more.

The cast of Orange is the New Black had plenty to celebrate, since the show is heading into the SAG Awards today with two nominations: Uzo Aduba for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. “It’s an amazingly diverse group of women,” said Lauren Lapkus, who plays the doe-eyed, rookie correctional officer, Susan Fischer. “That’s such a rare thing to see on TV. I think it’s cool for people to see a really strong, female-driven cast, a female-driven story, and so many different perspectives on that.”

Adds Catherine Curtin, who plays correctional officer Wanda Bell: “There’s a great need for dialogue about [the U.S. criminal justice system] for people to understand that second chances should be in order… Putting a face and a heart and a soul and a mind to people who made a mistake, maybe they’re really good people, touches the heartstrings of our country. I think we have a very sympathetic nation.”

Game of Thrones also has much to look forward to at the ceremony, where the show will be up for three SAG Awards: Peter Dinklage for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series, and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

According to Maisie Williams, a.k.a Arya Stark, one of Thrones‘ strengths is its willingness to let its characters to fluctuate between good and bad. “With any good character in this show, people are sort of rooting for them,” Williams said. “Going through the stuff that Arya goes through, you don’t stay that good character. Your visions of what’s good and what’s not get a bit skewed.”

Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, also saw a big transformation in her character. “[Last season] ended on a massive high for her, for once, on Game of Thrones,” she said. “[Sansa] shed her old skin, she molded that off, and now she’s this new, hardcore, powerful woman.”

When they weren’t busy chatting, guests at the party enjoyed a photobooth, a milk and cookies bar, and a candy station. Actors mingled (Cox introduced herself to Enoch, and excused herself for needing to take a moment to “fan girl”), partied it up (the Game of Thrones girls got down on the dance floor), and got their sugar fix (Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero were spotted with grab bags filled with the like of sour gummies, Peeps, Nerds, and more). All that energy will undoubtedly come in handy tonight; now that the party is over, the SAG Awards are finally about to begin.

The SAG Awards will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS tonight at 8 p.m. PT/5 p.m. PT.