Get ready to punch some people in the face: The 2018 SAG Awards are fast approaching. As we prepare for a female-powered night celebrating the best performances of 2017, we’re throwing it back to one of the greatest moments from last year’s show.
The 2017 Screen Actors Guild ceremony took place just two days after the newly inaugurated President Trump issued his immigrant ban, and the stars who took the podium didn’t hold back in their criticism of the controversial executive order. But nobody got the SAG crowd fired up like Stranger Things’ David Harbour (with a silent assist from Winona Ryder), whose passionate acceptance speech on behalf of the cast, winning Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, brought down the house in its celebration of acting as well as its condemnation of bullies.
“In light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things,” Harbour said, “but this award from you — who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe like me that great acting can change the world — is 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.”
“We are united, in that we are all human beings and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting, and mysterious ride that is being alive. Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.”
Speaking in the pressroom following the win, Harbour said his prepared speech had “gone through many iterations” in the days since Trump’s inauguration, adding that he made additional changes following the new president’s immigrant ban. “I’ve had a lot of feelings and thoughts since last week, and I wanted to express it in some way that dealt with what we do through our art and also the craft of acting.”
Stranger Things and Harbour himself are both nominated at this weekend’s SAG Awards. But no matter who takes home the Actor, here’s hoping the speeches are half so inspiring.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by Kristen Bell, air live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
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