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Moonlight's Mahershala Ali Leads Woke AF Speeches at SAG Awards

Moonlight's Mahershala Ali Leads Woke AF Speeches at SAG Awards

mahershala ali sag awards moonlight
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

"I think what I've learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people."

The liberal elite are at it again! At least that's what some conservative commentators will have to say about the flurry of politically-themed speeches at last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards. While some may want celebrities, or the media, to just keep their mouths shut, they're simply doing what anyone with a platform ought to do when they see injustice in the world--address it.

While awards show MVP Meryl Streep didn't take the stage for another legendary Trump read, there was no shortage of actors speaking up amid the president's controversial immigration ban, the ramifications of which became clear over the weekend.

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Among the most moving speeches came from Mahershala Ali, who's been scooping up nominations and awards left and right for his subtle but impactful performance in Moonlight.

"I think what I've learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people," Ali said. "They fold into themselves and what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community. Taking the opportunity to uplift him and to tell him he mattered, he was okay and accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that."

Ali, who is Muslim, also spoke to his experience with his mother, who is an ordained minister, and how they managed to get past those hurdles.

"She didn't do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 yrs ago," he added. "But I tell you now, you put things to the side and I'm able to see her and she's able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. And that stuff is minutia. It's not that important."

Elsewhere, Julia Louis-Dreyfus turned Trumpian with her speech--"Whether the Russians did or did not hack tonight's SAG Awards, I look out at the million, or probably even a million and a half people in this room and I say this award is legitimate and I won! I'm the winner! The winner is me! Landslide!"--before invoking her father who fled from Nazi-occupied France as a refugee.

When the cast of Stranger Things took home their best drama ensemble award, David Harbour (you know, Chief Jim Hopper) went all the way off, promising to punch folks in the face "when they seek to destroy the weak, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized," as co-star Winona Ryder's own face went through every human emotion possible.

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When the legendary Dolly Parton presented her 9 to 5 sister, the legendary Lily Tomlin, with the lifetime achievement award, Tomlin kept the audience in stitches, starting out her speech with, "What a week this has been, though! And so you are kind of anti-climactic. Did you hear the Boomsday [sic] Clock has been moved up to two-and-a-half minutes before midnight? This award came just in the nick of time."

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But the speech that really drove it all home came from national treasure Taraji P. Henson, accepting the best cast award for Hidden Figures. "This film is about unity," she said breathlessly, before taking the SAGs to chuuuuuuuurch--at one point Octavia Spencer even let out a "Yes Lord."

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Ms. Henson continued: "This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside (Janelle Monae: "YES!") and we come together as a human race--we win, love wins, every time."

From now on I'm just going around screaming "God! Rest his soul! In peace! John Glenn!" at any and every one.

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