October 2, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman make history at SAG Awards

Four performers of color — Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya and Yuh-Jung Youn — made history Sunday night by sweeping the top four film categories at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

For the first time since the SAG Awards began in 1995, the prizes for lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor and supporting actress all went to nonwhite nominees. Davis and Boseman landed the awards for lead actress and lead actor, respectively, for their performances in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” securing the latter’s latest posthumous honor.

Rounding out the individual film winners were Kaluuya, who took home supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah” and Youn, who scored supporting actress for “Minari.”

In the lead actress bracket, Davis bested Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) with her turn as blues singer Ma Rainey in George C. Wolfe’s adaptation of the August Wilson play.

Davis is the first Black woman to win lead actress twice for her performance in a film. She previously received the distinction for 2011’s “The Help.” (It’s the latest historic achievement for Davis.)

“Thank you, August, for leaving a legacy to actors of color that we can relish for the rest of our lives,” Davis said in her acceptance speech.

Boseman, who played trumpeter Levee opposite Davis, triumphed over Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Steven Yeun (“Minari”) for lead actor. The “Da 5 Bloods” star also was nominated for supporting actor alongside Kaluuya, who edged out Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7″), Jared Leto (“The Little Things”) and Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) with his performance as Black Panther party leader Fred Hampton.

“If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind,” said Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, while accepting the award on her late husband’s behalf. “That’s a quote by Chadwick Boseman. … Thank you, Chad. Thank you.”

“You can’t make a film without an incredible group of people that come together and want to tell your truth,” Kaluuya said in his speech. “I want to share this with … Chairman Fred Hampton for guiding us and showing us his power even now, 52 years later. This one’s for Chadwick Boseman, and this one’s for Chairman Fred Hampton.”

And finally, Youn’s portrayal of an unconditionally loving grandmother in “Minari” beat out supporting performances by Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”), Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”), Olivia Colman (“The Father”) and Helena Zengel (“News of the Day”). According to the Hollywood Reporter, Youn is the first performer of Asian descent to win an individual SAG Award for work in a motion picture.

“I don’t know how to describe my feelings,” Youn said. “I’m being recognized by westerners. … I’m very pleased and happy. … Thank you so much.”