WITH 13 nominations and five wins in a glittering career, Dame Helen Mirren was the star of the 28th SAG Awards.
At the Sunday night bash, where accolades were handed out by the Screen Actors Guild, she was honored again – this time with a lifetime achievement award.
At the Santa Monica Barker Hangar in California, Helen dedicated her gong to her peers.
And the star-studded crowd, which included Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett, roared with laughter at Helen’s jokes.
She said: “‘Lifetime achievement’ sounds so grand, but I guess I’m still alive, so by that metric I qualify.
“But any accomplishment I’ve achieved is a result of my mantra, ‘Be on time and don’t be an ass’.”
She continued, “I hate saying the word ‘sagging’ at my age. It’s still SAG for me.
Helen continued, “I’ve been anxious about what to say tonight. I was waiting for inspiration. Then it came. . . I’m going to talk about the actors.
“My God, what a brilliant idea! So original. I like to think inside the box. It is you, actors, that I want to thank. For your wit, your humor, all the giggles, all the laughs.
“I’ve laughed my whole life, honestly. Your perception, your generosity, your intelligence and your incredible energy. And your dedication to our chosen profession.
“Together we laugh, we cry, we worry, we change clothes, we vomit and we have diarrhoea.”
After picking up the gong, celebrating her incredible five-decade career, Helen was seen chatting with a series of stars including Lady Gaga, Jessica Chastain and Tyler Perry.
Gaga was consoled by Dame Helen after missing out on Jessica for an acting gong and later enjoyed a reunion with Bradley Cooper, her co-star in 2018’s A Star Is Born.
Meanwhile, Dame Helen said she has no intention of slowing down. She’s keen to reprise her role as Magdalene Shaw in the Fast & Furious movies and said she loves working on the superhero sequel Shazam! Fury of the gods.
Speaking about playing the villainous Hespera, Helen said, “I had such a great time playing a Roman goddess. I love working with these amazing stunt and special effects artists. It’s great to see them working. I love to mix.
“I love going from these extraordinary big-budget technical films to a film that’s much more about relationships and conversations than shots.”
“Fishing fish for hours”
In an interview with Variety, she added, “I think the next hurdle is that I would love to play a cowboy!
“Just a cowboy on a horse. I’ve fallen off a horse so many times. I absolutely can’t ride, so that would be a major challenge.
Fellow Brit Kate Winslet won an Outstanding Performance Gong for her role as cop Mare Sheehan in the HBO hit Mare Of Easttown. No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond, was recognized for his stunts.
Aled Jones’ daughter Emilia won for her film CODA, in which she plays Ruby Rossi, the only hearing member of a deaf family.
Emilia and her co-stars won for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. And CODA’s Troy Kotsur made history by becoming the first deaf actor to win an individual SAG Award.
Emilia said: “I trained for nine months with American Sign Language. I had singing lessons too. I also had to learn to fish, so I woke up at 3 a.m. every morning for two weeks and rode three miles out to sea and caught fish for hours and hours.
Netflix hit Squid Game was a big winner, becoming the first foreign-language TV series to triumph in 28 years of annual partying.
There were acting wins in the drama series for its stars Lee Jung-jae and HoYeon Jung, as well as an ensemble nod for his stunt work.
Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis was named Outstanding Male Actor in a Comedy Series, along with Jean Smart from Hacks the Outstanding Female.
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