On Sunday, the 2023 SAG Awards were held at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, and streamed live on YouTube and Netflix. If the Golden Globes were any indication, the film featuring the most famous dimension-hopping Chinese-American family, Everything Everywhere All At Once, swept the top honours.
When the huge box-office blockbuster won Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the entire cast, including Michell Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and 94-year-old legend James Hong jumped on stage to accept the award. Hong, who has been acting in Hollywood for 70 years, made sure to joyously remark on how Asian American stories are finally getting their due.
JAMES HONG TOLD ALL OF YOU IDIOT YELLOWFACE WHITEWASHING RACISTS TO 闭嘴 AND I FOR ONE AM HERE FOR IT 🤫 pic.twitter.com/V6mLs4C5Qw— William Yu 유규호 (@its_willyu) February 27, 2023
"My first movie was with Clark Gable,” Hong said in his speech, “but back in those days... the leading role was played with these guys with their eyes taped up like this and they talk-a like this... and the producers said the Asians were not good enough, and were not 'box office'... But look at us now!”
Hong is also the king of jokes, because he added about his castmates, “We are not all Chinese, but Jamie Lee is a good Chinese name,” he deadpanned, to which Jamie Lee Curtis burst into laughter. We love this for her.
Speaking of the Halloween scream queen, Jamie Lee won the SAG for Best Supporting Actress and had a huge response to the moment. When her name was announced, she blurted out “Oh shut up!” before kissing costar Michelle Yeoh on the lips. NGL, we’re a bit jealous about that last part.
SURPRISE!!!!!!— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) February 27, 2023
OH SHUT UP!@E_E_ @SAGawards
Her acceptance speech was very emotional, with her recalling her famous Hollywood parents, Psycho star Janet Leigh and Spartacus star Tony Curtis.
"I'm wearing the wedding ring that my father gave my mother," she said, holding back tears. "They hated each other, by the way. But, my sister, Kelly, and I were born from love. My father was from Hungary and my mother was from Denmark, and they had nothing, and they became these monstrous stars in this industry they loved so much. My parents were actors."
She went on to address the “nepo baby” controversy surrounding acting dynasties in Hollywood.
"I married an actor [Christopher Guest]. I love actors, I love acting, I love the job we get to do, I love being a part of a crew, I love being part of a cast, I love what we do with each other, it's such a beautiful job and I know that so many people in our industry who are actors don't get to do this job, and you look at nights like this and you think, is that ever going to be possible for me?" she continued. "I know you look at me and go, 'Nepo baby, that's why she's there,' and, I get it, but, the truth of the matter is: I'm 64 years old, and this is just amazing."
Off the top of the awards ceremony, she even poked fun at her “nepo baby” status during her “I Am An Actor” speech while sitting in the audience. It received a huge laugh from her peers.
Jamie Lee Curtis proudly referring to herself as a nepo baby during her “I am an actor” speech was perfection #SAGAwards pic.twitter.com/5vksrPUHTh— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) February 27, 2023
Co-star Ke Huy Quan, who previously made us cry at the Golden Globes when he recalled how iconic director Steven Spielberg launched his career back in 1984 for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, walked away with Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role, and his speech, true to form, was just as emotional. But it was bigger than just for him, because he became the first Asian to win the award in SAG’s history.
Ke Huy Quan is a national treasure. #SAGAwards2023 #KeHuyQuan pic.twitter.com/Z4tzxsGqaF— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) February 27, 2023
“This is a really emotional moment for me,” he gushed, holding the trophy. “I recently was told that if I were to win tonight, I would become the very first Asian actor to win in this category.”
"When I heard this, I quickly realized that this moment no longer belongs to just me, it also belongs to everyone who has asked for change [...] The landscape looks so different than before; thank you to everyone who took part in these changes."
He finished off his speech with, "Lastly, to all those at home who are watching, who are struggling and waiting to be seen, please keep on going because the spotlight will one day find you. Thank you, everyone, for rooting for me; I will be rooting for you."
Not to be forgotten, Malaysia’s most famous daughter Michelle Yeoh walked away with the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and she dropped an F bomb during her speech!
"SAG-AFTRA, to get this from you, who understands what it is to get here, everyone of you know the journey, the roller-coaster ride, the ups sand downs," the 60-year-old Star Trek Discovery star gushed. "But important, we never give up. I thank you for your love, for your support because I know I'm up against titans, rightly so."
She then became overwhelmed, turning away from the audience in tears, exclaiming "S**t! F**k!”
The audience of course loved her for this. She finished off her emotional speech with, “Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is not just for me. This is for every little girl that looks like me.”
The SAG awards are considered an excellent predictor and precursor to the Oscars, as the voting members largely overlap. So if you’re a betting person, place your bets now!