The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) distributed their 28th annual SAG Awards Feb. 27 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
While LGBTQ+ representation was relatively low across the major categories, a number of significant "firsts" did occur, especially with respect to the film CODA and the television series Squid Game.
Queer actor Ariana DeBose won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the musical West Side Story. DeBose has already won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Oscar for that film as well. DeBose is the first openly queer womanand the first openly queer woman of colorto win a SAG award.
"It's taken a long time to feel comfortable calling myself an actor," DeBose said in her acceptance speech. "My roots come from the dance world and the Broadway stage. The Anita that we saw on the screen took every bit of me, but she took 10 years to make and I'm extremely prod of her and her filmand I really do believe that when you recognize one of us, you recognize all of us."
Among those also nominated alongside DeBose were Caitriona Balfe, for Belfast; Cate Blanchett, for Nightmare Alley; Ruth Negga, for Passing; and Kirsten Dunst, for the LGBTQ+-themed The Power of the Dog.
Dunst's co-star Benedict Cumberbatch, who played a gay cowboy in The Power of the Dog, was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a supporting Role, but lost to Will Smith for his role in King Richard. Other nominees included Javier Bardem, for Being the Ricardos; Andrew Garfield, for Tick, Tick…BOOM!; and Denzel Washington, for The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Kodi Smit-McPhee, who also portrayed a gay man in The Power of the Dog lost in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role category to Troy Kotsur, who became the first deaf actor to take home a SAG Award, for CODA. Other nominees included Ben Affleck, for The Tender Bar; Bradley Cooper, in Licorice Pizza; and Jared Leto, for House of Gucci.
Jessica Chastain won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her turn as embattled televangelist (and LGBTQ+-rights supporter) Tammy Faye Baker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Chastain's category was especially competitive this year, as fellow nominees included Olivia Colman, for The Lost Daughter; Lady Gaga, for House of Gucci; Jennifer Hudson, for Respect; and Nicole Kidman, for Being the Ricardos.
CODA won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. It because the first film with a predominantly deaf cast to win the honor. Other nominees included Belfast, Don't Look Up, House of Gucci and King Richard.
As for television categories, Ewan McGregor was nominated for his turn as the title role in the miniseries Halston, as the late gay fashion designer. He lost to Michael Keaton for Dopesick. McGregor and Keaton's fellow nominees included queer actor Murray Bartlett, for The White Lotus; Oscar Isaac, for Scenes from a Marriage; and Evan Peters, in Mare of Easttown.
Queer actor Cynthia Erivo was nominated for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in the miniseries Genius: Aretha, but she lost to Kate Winslet's widely acclaimed performance in Mare of Easttown. Their fellow nominees included Jennifer Coolidge, for The White Lotus; Margaret Qualley, for Maid; and Jean Smart, for Mare of Easttown.
Jung Ho-yeon and Lee Jung-jae won as the female and male leads respectively for the hit Netflix drama series Squid Game; their show was the first Korean series, and first foreign-language series, to be recognized with SAG awards. The HBO series Succession won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
In the comedy categories, Ted Lasso was recognized for both Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Jason Sudeikis' lead performance. Jean Smart won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for her work on Hacks.