This was intended to be a best, worst and weirdest recap of Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, but, honestly, there weren't any worst moments. And nothing especially weird went down. Clocking in at a brisk two hours, it was an all-around...fine show. A bit boring -- and entirely too predictable -- but filled with plenty of lovely bits, too. Here were the best moments of the evening:
Kristen Bell as Host: As far as awards show hosts go, Bell was a breath of fresh air as the SAG Awards first-ever host, keeping the night trucking along with unyielding chipperness. Her opening monologue hit the right notes of humor and pathos and her various appearances throughout the broadcast were never unwelcome, which not all hosts can say. (The bit with Dax Shepard and Greta Gerwig was corny, but also very cute!)
Our favorite of Bell's jokes? When Maya Rudolph set her up with, "I really like your show about living in hell. What's it called again?" and Bell responded, "Oh my god, thank you so much. It's called 2018!"
The All-Female Presenters: Maybe just do all-female awards shows? Time's Up remained a big topic of conversation here and the SAG voters honored the movement by enlisting actresses to do most of the presenting for the night. We loved the pairings too: Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, of course. Gina Rodriguez and Megan Mullally. Connie Britton and Mandy Moore.
And Especially Niecy Nash: Nash and Olivia Munn did so well presenting the SAG nominations that they were actually asked to host the Critics' Choice Awards and present together again tonight. Their bit (not knowing the nominee's work) didn't reinvent the wheel, but Nash really sold it, especially her confusion over whether Peter Dinklage plays a dragon on Game of Thrones. If Bell doesn't return, it looks like SAG may have their next host. (And while Munn's drag about no Asian actors being nominated didn't land as solidly as Natalie Portman's "all-male nominees," it didn't go unnoticed.)
Sterling K. Brown's Acceptance Speech, Per Usual: After making history at the Globes, the This Is Us star did it once more here, becoming the first black actor to win the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama. That it's taken this long is, truly, an embarrassment; nonetheless, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving actor. "To all those people out there still hustling, trying to make it," he said during his speech. "The fame won't sustain you. The money won't sustain you. The love? Keep that love alive, it will keep you going."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Making History: Louis-Dreyfus was absent from the show -- having only recently completed her final round of chemotherapy -- but her repeat win for Female Actor in a Comedy Series (in addition to being part of Veep's winning ensemble) officially makes her the most-awarded actor in SAG history. She delivered something of an acceptance speech on Twitter, writing, "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. 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?"
Morgan Freeman's Life Achievement: If Rita Moreno, who presented Morgan his award, didn't already have a successful TV series, we would be actively campaigning to see these two on our televisions every week. Anyway, once he took the stage, in response to the compliments directed his way, Morgan joked, "I know you're just saying that because it's true." After some early bizarreness talking to someone in the audience, he kept the speech brief and breezy and ended by making a point about the SAG trophies: "It works from the back. From the front, it's gender specific. Maybe I started something..."
And at Least One Other Man Finally Said Something: After not a single actor said anything in support of Time's Up at the Globes or even acknowledged the movement happening around them, Three Billboards winner Sam Rockwell did, thanking co-star Frances McDormand and then announcing, "I stand with you and all of the incredible women in this room who are trying to make things better. It's long overdue." (No thoughts, Gary Oldman?)
A Big Win for This Is Us: The This Is Us cast beat out The Crown, Game of Thrones and The Handmaid's Tale to win Ensemble Drama Series, perhaps the only true surprise of the evening. No matter how you might feel about the win, no one could deny what a joy it was watching the cast react to it. Onstage, it was Milo Ventimiglia who spoke for them, very thoroughly thanking their crew, from the writers to the P.A.s, and dedicating the win to their fans: "For the people that watch with us every Tuesday night and embrace the show that reflects positivity and hope and inclusion, we love you."
Brie Larson and Lupita Nyong'o's Teleprompter Fail: What would an awards show be without a teleprompter fail? And can you think of two more charming people to handle it than these two? "Here are the nominees for actor-- Well, you just passed, OK! I hope you know what the category is, because they just passed it," Larson laughed, as Nyong'o fumbled her own line. Larson groaned, "This is going so well."
And the Signoff from Frances McDormand's Acceptance Speech: "Bye!"