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SAG Awards (or Being Inspired)

After my podcast hangout, I had to rush back to my house. That night was the SAG Awards and I decided to host a viewing party at my house! I had invited a ton of people to come over and at one point there were 12 people who said they were going to come by. I’m glad that people started to cancel because there was no way that my house could have that many people! In the end, there were 3 of us watching.

All of us got to vote on the SAG Awards, so it was fun to see if who we voted for won. There were a bunch of surprises and we were all pretty chatty while watching. Sometimes, we were commenting so much that we ended up rewinding my DVR so we could catch what we missed. But we were all in a pretty good mood and being chatty was the mood for the night.

Of all the award winner speeches, I think the two that hit me the most were the ones for “Stranger Things” and “Hidden Figures”. I loved that show and that movie and was so happy to see them win. But I didn’t expect the speeches that we got.

If you haven’t seen or read it, the “Stranger Things” speech was a truly inspiring moment in a time where politics are making a lot of people stressed or upset. Here’s just a part of it:

“I would just like to say, in light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things, 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 predominately 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 at a loss 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 and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility. Thank you.” 

This was exactly what so many people needed to hear right now. So many things in politics have been upsetting, but there are people willing to fight for what they believe in. It’s nice not to feel alone and that there is a community that shares my viewpoints.

When “Hidden Figures” won, I didn’t consider it an upset (it’s the movie I voted for), but I think the cast was so shocked that they won. With the controversy of #OscarsSoWhite last year, I think the fear would be that show and films with diverse casts wouldn’t be recognized this year. But I’m glad that it wasn’t the case.

I love the genuine emotion that was in the speech for “Hidden Figures”. The speech was about recognizing those who were not recognized for their accomplishments at the time and the power of coming together. Again, that is exactly the message we need right now. There is so much trying to get us to be against each other and we can’t have that. As a country, we need to come together and work on making sure everyone is living their American dream.

The SAG Awards was much more political than it has been in the past, but I think that was appropriate given the circumstances now. I know some people think that celebrities don’t have a right to share political views (I don’t know why since our current president is known for being a reality TV performer), but I think hearing other people being so passionate in what they believe in is so inspiring. It has encouraged me to speak out more to make sure that my voice is heard and that I’m not a silent bystander.

Besides being so inspired by the speeches, I was inspired to see people who I’ve gotten to work with on tv. I’m working hard on my acting career and I know that eventually I will be at a level of success similar to my friends. But for now, I just have to be so excited when I see them on tv or their names in the credits.

Enjoying Movie Nights (or Watching My Screeners)

It’s almost time for the SAG Awards which means I’m getting ready to vote on who I think should win in the various categories. It’s still so much fun that I get to vote on the awards and it fees so special to me. I know that all union members get to do this, but it’s still relatively new to me and feels like a novelty. And I do take it seriously and want to make sure I vote for who I feel deserves to win and not just who is my favorite. I know that no everyone does that, but I look at it as if I might be nominated one day. I might not be a name actor by that point, but I would want as much consideration as an a-list actor might get. So I take each nomination just as seriously as the others.

Usually, I’ve been able to see more of the films before the nominations come out. I get to go to screenings through SAG-AFTRA and the film society as well as thought Women In Film and usually toward the end of the year those end up being the films that are the ones that get nominated. But this year, for some reason I really didn’t get to make it to many of the screenings of the films that were nominated. In fact, I didn’t get to see anything other than shows that were on Netflix this time. It’s just the way that the screening season went. A lot of screenings were times that I couldn’t go, and during the holidays a lot of screenings were the blockbusters and not necessarily the films that get award nominations.

So when we started to get our screeners, I was excited because I knew I needed to watch a bunch of movies. But somehow time was going by and I wasn’t watching the screeners I had. And over the weekend, I realized that I needed to start catching up in order to have time to watch everything before I had to vote. So I have been trying to watch one movie a day if possible to make it through my movies. I haven’t been able to do that every day, but I’ve been able to do it for many of them and I’m finally about halfway through watching all of them.

It’s been a fun routine at night (or sometimes before I start work in the morning) to pick out a movie that I want to watch. It’s a luxury to be able to watch these movies at my house where I can be comfortable on the couch (and pause the movies if I need to get something to drink or run to the bathroom). And when my hips have been hurting, it’s nice that I can stretch out on the couch or floor and get my body to feel ok. That’s not something that I can do in a theater, even though I do have to stretch out in my seat when I’m out at a movie or a show. Each time I watch a screener, I feel so lucky that I get to have this privilege and hope that I never get so jaded that I start to expect this treatment.

Most of the movies I’ve watched have been very good. I’m actually sad that some of my favorites are only available on the screener website because I know I’ll lose access to watching it soon. And there are some other films that I’ve struggled to get through and haven’t understood why my friends have thought it was the greatest movie ever or that it was better than all the rest. But whether or not I like the movie, I totally agree that the performances in the films have all been the best of the best and all the actors have been very worthy of their nominations.

There totally are some front-runners in my mind for who I want to vote for already. I won’t vote until I finish watching the movies because that’s only fair. I don’t feel like there is a lot of campaigning by actors and producers to get their films or performers to win. I do get flyers and things in the mail (and I guess you could say getting a DVD screener versus having to watch it on a website is a way to campaign), so I don’t feel pressured to vote any certain way like some other awards shows might have. I get to be an actor watching actors and deciding who is inspiring me the most with their performance.

I’ve got less than 2 more weeks to work on this and I think I’ll be fine getting through all the movies. I do need to set aside time to work on it (which seems like a funny concept to me), but as long as I make it a priority in my off time, I will watch everything before needing to vote. And right after voting, I’ll get to see how the rest of my union actors feel about the performances when the winners are announced. I can’t wait to see what happens!