A Look Back on the Craziest Things to Happen at the SAG Awards

Revisit the SAG Awards' many unexpected moments.

By Samantha Schnurr Jan 17, 2020 11:00 AMTags
Watch: 26th Annual SAG Award Nominations Complete List

A lot can happen at the SAG Awards. 

While it's considered one of the tamer ceremonies of Hollywood's annual award season, over the years, the SAG Awards have been the site of some truly unforgettable—and unexpected—moments. 

Take, for example, Winona Ryder, who, during Stranger Things co-star David Harbour's acceptance speech for the show's Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series win, made enough facial expressions to keep people talking and making memes into the next day. 

Or, there was Morgan Freeman, who during his Life Achievement Award acceptance speech, pointed out the anatomy of the award show's signature trophy before wrapping up his notably brief speech. 

A few years earlier, Cate Blanchett made a lot of people blush after getting a bit too handsy with the statue during her acceptance speech. 

Flashback: Relive the 2010 SAG Awards

Like we said—unforgettable, indeed. And, now, with the 2020 SAG Awards just days away, who knows what surprises the 26th ceremony will have in store. 

As the countdown to Sunday's show comes to a close, relive the show's craziest moments with E!'s gallery below!

Ninth Time's a Charm

Despite having been an established actor for well over two decades, Leonardo DiCaprio won his very first SAG Award in 2016 for his performance in The Revenant. The star had previously been nominated eight times before nabbing a statuette for Outstanding Performance by Male Actor in a Leading Role.

Titanic Reunion

Needless to say, Leonardo DiCaprio's first major win at the 2016 SAG Awards prompted his former Titanic co-star Kate Winslet, who was also at the ceremony, to jump out of her seat and give him a big hug. The pair was also photographed sharing a laugh on the red carpet. We'll never let go of this friendship!

PJ Party

Julia Louis-Dreyfus celebrated her record-breaking ninth SAG Award win in 2018 in her pajamas. She opted to skip the event as she recovered from cancer treatments, though she did tweet out a hilarious acceptance speech to make up for her absence. "I wish I could have been @SAGawards tonight but have to admit it's pretty fun to watch in my pj's. So honored to win," she wrote. "So proud to be a union member. So happy for my @VeepHBO bozos for winning ensemble award. Miss being at the table with you all. How was the chicken?"

Awarding at Home

In 2021, the typically hours-long affair was pre-recorded as a 60-minute special due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since its inception, the entire ceremony was filmed remotely with no in-person presenters or guests. However, in keeping with tradition, many stars did take part the show's iconic "I am an actor" opening monologues—including Jimmy Fallon.

Ted Lasso Takes Over

Since the 2021 SAG Awards ceremony was filmed virtually, the cast of Ted Lasso had a little fun and pre-taped a segment to introduce the nominees for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble—which included themselves. Though the AFC Richmond clan ended up losing the prestigious honor to Schitt's Creek, their sketch still made for good comedy. Who knew Roy Kent was such a fan of The Muppets? Watch the full skit here.

First-Time Host

Kristen Bell made SAG Awards history in 2018 when she became the first-ever host of the ceremony. He quipped during her opening monologue, "First time. First person. First lady. I honestly never thought I would grow up to be the first lady, but you know what, I kind of like it. I think my first initiative as first lady will be cyberbullying because I have yet to see any progress on that problem quite yet."

Double the Victory

Idris Elba made history at the 2016 SAG Awards when he won not one, but two statues, becoming the first male and first black person to do so. The star won Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Beasts of No Nation and Best Male Actor in a Television Movie or Mini Series for Luther.

Comfort Is Key

In 2016, iconic comedian and Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Carol Burnett put her best foot forward and stepped out on the red carpet in a green skirt and jacket paired with a black beaded top. While most photos showed her donning black shoes at the event, one picture captured her in a pair of gray UGG slippers. Now that's a red carpet trend we all can get behind. 

Two Lifetimes of Achievement

Carrie Fisher presented her mom Debbie Reynolds with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 SAG Awards and the two of them poked fun at each other during the milestone moment. While speaking about her role in Singin' in the Rain, Reynolds said, "Some of you may not remember this, but I had a bun. At the back of my head, I had a big bun, an ugly bun. I'd warned my daughter Carrie, who'd just gotten a part in a picture, Princess Leia in Star Wars, and I said, 'Carrie be careful of any weird hairdos.' So luckily, George gave her two buns. Thank you, George." The mother and daughter died one day apart in 2016. 

Starting Something

In 2018, Morgan Freeman accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award while donning a baseball cap and made a very astute observation during his speech. "I wasn't gonna do this, but I'm gonna tell you what's wrong with this statue," he said. "It works from the back. From the front, it's gender specific. Maybe I started something."

Meryl Streep to the Rescue

At the 2017 SAG Awards, Meryl Streep helped La La Land star Ryan Gosling adjust his bow tie—and simultaneously made people around the world very jealous. 

Getting Handsy

This is one of those times where words aren't enough to explain. All we can say is that Cate Blanchett got noticeably handsy with her statue in 2014 after winning for her role in Blue Jasmine.

Winona Ryder's Winning Expressions

In 2017, Stranger Things won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. As David Harbour gave an impassioned speech, Winona Ryder's resulting facial expressions quickly became the star of the show. Harbour later praised the expressive Ryder and called the resulting memes about her "epic."

Political Fashion Statement

Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg and his wife Jocelyn Towne made a very clear political statement at the 2017 awards. Their signage and body art referenced President Donald Trump's ban that prohibited people from predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the U.S. He instituted the Executive Order on Jan. 27, 2017, which was a week after his inauguration. The SAG Awards were Jan. 29.

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