SAG Awards 2014: Ranking the Speeches
Honorable Mention: Emma Thompson
Is there any event this woman can't make better? Even though she didn't actually win an award, Thompson — who presented the Outstanding Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries award — knocked it out of the park by sauntering in to the cheesy intro music and asking, ''Is this music available on CD at all? It's so good.''
14. Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith for Outstanding TV Actress, Drama
Easy call. The Dame wasn't there. Violet would not approve.
13. Modern Family for Outstanding TV Ensemble, Comedy
How many times have we heard Sofia Vergara decry her lack of English skills? There's no doubt the cast of the four-time SAG winner is solid, but this victory was so anticlimactic — especially in the face of worthy competition from series including Veep and Arrested Development — that, like Vergara's ESL gag, the shtick felt tired.
12. Breaking Bad for Outstanding TV Ensemble, Drama
A straightforward, quality speech. Cranston's joke that some of his cast was ''The nicest bunch of white supremacist Nazis I have ever worked with'' was amusing. But this speech was, understandably, more about getting in one final drop of gratitude after an epic series run. We appreciate that...but we could have used one final ''bitch.''
11. Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett for Outstanding Leading Actress
Much like her Golden Globes speech, Blanchett was kind of all over the place while collecting her Actor. Extra points for giving costar Sally Hawkins the ''penis part'' of her trophy, though.
10. American Hustle for Outstanding Film Ensemble
What started as a boilerplate speech from Bradley Cooper took a heartfelt turn when he gave a special shout-out to director David O. Russell for ''mak[ing] you feel like you're part of the family.'' Who ever thought ''David O. Russell'' and ''heartfelt'' could be in the same sentence?
9. Phil Spector's Helen Mirren for Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Miniseries
Mirren is always delightful (props to her gracious acknowledgment of rightful — and Golden Globe — winner Elisabeth Moss), and she landed a pun-tastic joke, ''I don't feel at all SAG-gy, I feel quite perky winning this after all.'' Still, it was a stacked night, speech-wise, so even her straight-A effort is pretty middle-of-the-road.
8. Behind the Candelabra's Michael Douglas for Outstanding Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
The innuendo victory tour marched on as Douglas told his awards-season costar/competitor Matt Damon, ''I know we've run head-to-head.'' With a heartwarming shout-out to his ''97-year-old SAG member'' father Kirk Douglas, Douglas touched all the acceptance-speech bases. And we expect nothing less of this consummate Hollywood pro.
7. Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey for Leading Actor
Deliciously scattered — as is par for the course for a guy whose mantra is ''just keep livin''' — the speech had some genuine (if self-serving) insights, starting with how awards season ''shines a great light on this bull ride that we take called acting.'' He continued, ''I've been able to recently find some characters?and feverishly get drunk on their obsessions?. There's a magic place that we as actors can get or at least strive to get to?when we touch it, it's magic.'' As magic as Neptune and sprockets and single-ship sailors. Alright, alright, alriiiight.
6. Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Outstanding TV Actress, Comedy
In a follow-up to her Selina Meyer-esque Emmy acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus began, ''I'd like to start by thanking the glorious Hollywood Foreign Press for this Golden Globe?.'' That gaffe was followed up with a thank you to the Academy, after which she chastised costar/flashcard holder Matt Walsh: ''You didn't have anything?'' He responded drily, ''I didn't think you'd win.'' Another brilliant bit of commitment to character — and solidarity: ''[I'd like to thank] my agent, my family, and?some of the cast, I suppose.''
5. Dallas Buyers Club's Jared Leto for Outstanding Supporting Actor
The speech we wanted to hear at the Golden Globes, Leto's dream-themed speech was from the heart as he dedicated the statuette to ''the Rayons of the world for not living as others want you to live but as you dream it.'' Also, props to anyone who calls his mom ''the hottest date in town.''
4. Modern Family's Ty Burrell for Outstanding TV Actor, Comedy
Sure, it was clearly prefab, but Burrell's ''Acting: How to Do It Good'' (a.k.a. ''5 simple steps for success'') bit was also charmingly self-deprecating. It's worth a second viewing.
3. Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston for Outstanding TV Actor, Drama
For singing at the start of his speech, for fanboying over Emma Thompson, and for calling Vince Gilligan ''honey,'' Cranston ranks high. Also this: ''I've had so many crappy jobs in my life, I gotta tell ya. I loaded trucks downtown — coal, dust, dirt in every orifice...people yelling at you, 'Cranston, move faster! Work harder!' And the only thing that got me through was dreaming I would make it as an actor.'' Like one of Stefon's clubs, this speech had everything.
2. Rita Moreno, receiving SAG's Lifetime Achievement Award
Eighty-two and fabulous! From her victory lap around the podium to an early-speech F-bomb, the singer-dancer-actor-fighter killed it. And that outfit! (Like American Hustle meets punk meets unstoppable sass, she should have been at the underwhelming 2013 Met Gala.) Moreno even managed to hit on Jeremy Renner and Brad Pitt during her speech. This was a master class in speech-giving. But we'll still give an advantage to the competitive categories, so?
1. 12 Years a Slave's Lupita Nyong'o for Outstanding Supporting Actress
Nyong'o has been an all-star during awards season in every possible way. She thanked everyone she needed to, including giving makeup artist Ma Kalaadevi Ananda thanks '''for making Patsey's scars so real to me.'' She also included a cute anecdote about calling her father when she landed the 12 Years gig; he told her, ''I don't know [Brad Pitt] personally, but I'm glad you got a job.'' She admitted, ''So am I.'' And so are we, Lupita, so are we.