At the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night (Jan. 19), the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a motion picture went to Parasite, a South Korean black comedy thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho. This marked the first time a foreign-language film has won in that category. On the heels of the international popularity achieved by such K-pop groups as BTS, Exo and BlackPink, this is another sign of the country’s rising profile in global pop culture.
Parasite is only the second foreign-language film to even be nominated for the ensemble award. The first was Life Is Beautiful, an Italian comedy-drama directed by its star, Roberto Benigni (1998).
The SAG Awards were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and were broadcast live on TBS and TNT.
The ensemble award is sometimes seen as an indicator of what film will go on to win the Oscar for best picture, though its predictive track record is decidedly mixed. Eleven of the films that won the SAG award for ensemble in a motion picture have gone on to win the Oscar for best picture; Twelve more were nominated but lost; and one (Mike Nichols‘ 1996 film The Birdcage) wasn’t even nominated.
Parasite beat a highly competitive field which also included the emsembles of Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Unlike those films, Parasite featured no actors well-known to American audiences. The winning cast consisted of Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Jang Hye-jin, Jung Hyun-joon, Jung Ziso, Lee Jung-eun, Lee Sun-kyun, Park Myung-hoon, Park So-dam and Song Kang-ho.
Renée Zellweger won outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role in a motion picture for her portrayal of Judy Garland near the end of her life in the film Judy. Zellweger previously won in that same category 17 years ago for playing Roxie Hart in Chicago. She is only the second two-time winner in that category, following Frances McDormand (Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Zellweger also won in the supporting category for Cold Mountain, making her the first female actor to win three SAG Awards for individual film performances.
Rami Malek won outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role in a motion picture last year for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek went on to win the Oscar. Zellweger is the front-runner to win the Oscar for best performance by an actress in a leading role at the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9.
Zellweger was born in April 1969, less than two months before Garland’s death at age 47. Zellweger paid tribute to the legendary star in her acceptance speech: “Judy Garland, 50 years later, your community is thinking of you.”
Joaquin Phoenix took the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role in a motion picture for his performance for Joker. Brad Pitt and Laura Dern took the awards for outstanding performances by a male and female actor in supporting roles in a motion picture for their work in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Marriage Story, respectively. All four film acting awards went as expected, making these actors the clear front-runners to win Oscars three weeks from tonight.
The year’s top box-office hit, Avengers: Endgame, won for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture.
Robert De Niro, 76, received the Life Achievement Award. He was nominated for the outstanding performance by a an ensemble in a motion picture award for his role in The Irishman.
Like Zellweger, Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams won for playing real-life show-business personalities from Hollywood’s golden age—choreographer Bob Fosse and dancer Gwen Verdon, respectively. Rockwell and Williams won for outstanding performance by a male and female actor in a television movie or miniseries for their work in FX’s Fosse/Verdon. Williams previously won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the performance.
Tony Shalhoub was the night’s only double winner. He won two awards for his role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series and outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. This was the second year in a row he has won in both categories. He previously won twice in the male actor in a comedy series category for his role on Monk. Those four awards that category put him second only to Alec Baldwin as the actor with the most wins in the category. Baldwin won seven times for his work on 30 Rock. The cast award was a mild upset win over the newer and buzzier Fleabag.
Jennifer Aniston was a surprise (and surprised) winner of outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series for The Morning Show. Her competition included two actresses from The Crown, Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman. But The Crown took the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.
Other television winners were:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag. Waller-Bridge previously won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the performance.
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series: Game of Thrones.