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SAG Awards 2024: ‘Oppenheimer’ Dominates as ‘Succession’ and ‘The Bear’ Win Top TV Prizes

“Oppenheimer” dominated the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, winning the prize for best cast, as well as statues for Cillian Murphy’s lead performance and Robert Downey Jr.’s supporting work. The drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb was an unexpected box office hit last summer and is considered a front-runner for next month’s Academy Awards.

The cast of HBO’s “Succession” was named best ensemble in a drama series for successfully pulling off their final season of familial power-grabbing and back-stabbing, while FX’s “The Bear,” a pressure-cooker look at restaurant life, earned a best comedy series ensemble prize. It was a free-wheeling night of surprises, sure-things and plenty of f-bombs, as many of the winners spoke frankly about the struggles and sacrifices that characterize a life in the arts.

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In an upset, “The Crown” star Elizabeth Debicki captured leading actress in a drama series for her chameleonic work as Princess Diana, while Pedro Pascal was a surprise winner for his performance as the survivor of a zombie apocalypse in “The Last of Us.” “Succession” stars Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook had been heavily favored to win, and even Pascal seemed stunned by his victory. “I’m a little drunk,” he said. “I thought I could get drunk.” Debicki, who had no shoes on, admitted she also did not expect to hear her name called and hadn’t prepared a speech.

Other winners felt preordained. Jeremy Allen White, who plays the brilliant and troubled chef at the center of “The Bear” was named best actor in a comedy series for a second consecutive year. White’s co-star Ayo Edebiri won best leading actress in a comedy for her role as a sous-chef with larger culinary aspirations. The pair recently won Emmys and Golden Globe Awards for their work.

Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, who co-starred in “Beef” as two strangers whose lives intersect after they are involved in a road rage incident, won the top acting awards for a TV movie or limited series. Like White and Edebiri, the actors had also triumphed at the Globes and the Emmys, which were held just a few weeks ago.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” star Lily Gladstone was named best actress for her performance as Mollie Kyle, an Osage woman who is betrayed by her husband and targeted for her fortune as part of an elaborate conspiracy. Gladstone made history, becoming the first indigenous actress to win the award. “We bring empathy into a world that needs it,” she told her fellow performers, urging the actors in the room to “keep speaking your truth.”

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who has racked up nearly every major prize this awards season, added to her collection the SAG Award for best supporting actress for playing a grieving cafeteria manager in “The Holdovers.” “For every actor out there still waiting in the wings for their chance, let me tell you your life can change in a day,” Randolph said to loud applause, adding, “Keep going.”

Randolph wasn’t the only winner to reflect on the difficulties and rewards of a profession where success or failure can come down to a receptive casting director or a blown audition. Yeun remembered getting his SAG card for a candy commercial (he wore a Speedo and wriggled around in caramel), while Debicki reflected on the joy she of getting a role in a school play, saying it’s a feeling she has carried with her into her professional work.

The SAG Awards, which traditionally have aired on cable television, were shown live on Netflix for the first time, which meant that winners and presenters felt free to drop four-letter words. Even though the evening was celebratory, the prizes were handed out at a tumultuous time in Hollywood, with the streaming revolution largely responsible for a period of intense labor strife and economic disruption. The members of the actors union, as well as the Writers Guild of America, spent months on strike in 2023, angry over the way that streaming had shrunk the royalties they once earned when the movies and shows they appeared in were licensed. A new deal was reached in November, with the actors receiving pay bumps and higher residuals. The pact also included protections against the use of artificial intelligence. But the work stoppage led to production delays and lost income.

At the awards show, Fran Drescher, “The Nanny” star who oversaw the 118-day strike as SAG-AFTRA president, praised the members for their solidarity, saying that their efforts resulted in a “historic” pact. “You are the champions,” Dreshcer said. “You survived the longest strike in our union’s history with courage and conviction.”

The growing importance of streaming services that angered performers and screenwriters hasn’t always been a boon for studios. Many of them made expensive bets that they could better compete with Netflix by launching their own in-house challengers like Disney+, Paramount+ and Max, only to find that the costs were too great and the profits too scarce. Most of these major conglomerates have seen their stock prices swoon as Wall Street has more closely scrutinized their business models.

One winner entered Saturday’s ceremony fully aware she’d be making a speech. Barbra Streisand, the legendary singer, actress, producer and director, received SAG’s life achievement honor, taking the stage as the theme from “The Way We Were” played. She remembered being a young girl, living with her family in a modest Brooklyn apartment, dreaming of Hollywood while eating coffee-flavored ice cream and reading film magazines.

“I didn’t like reality,” she said. “I wanted to be in the movies.”

Many of the screen goddesses Streisand idolized didn’t look like her — her mother told her she should learn to type instead of banking on becoming a leading lady. “But I didn’t listen,” Streisand declared.

See the full list of winners below.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

“American Fiction”

“Barbie”

“The Color Purple”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Oppenheimer” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper – “Maestro”

Colman Domingo – “Rustin”

Paul Giamatti – “The Holdovers”

Cillian Murphy – “Oppenheimer” — WINNER

Jeffrey Wright – “American Fiction”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Annette Bening – “Nyad”

Lily Gladstone – “Killers of the Flower Moon” — WINNER

Carey Mulligan – “Maestro”

Margot Robbie – “Barbie”

Emma Stone – “Poor Things”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Sterling K. Brown – “American Fiction”

Willem Dafoe – “Poor Things”

Robert De Niro – “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Robert Downey Jr. – “Oppenheimer” — WINNER

Ryan Gosling – “Barbie”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Emily Blunt – “Oppenheimer”

Danielle Brooks – “The Color Purple”

Penelope Cruz – “Ferrari”

Jodie Foster – “Nyad”

Da’Vine Joy Randolph – “The Holdovers” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

“The Crown”

“The Gilded Age”

“The Last of Us”

“The Morning Show”

“Succession” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

“Abbot Elementary”

“Barry”

“The Bear” — WINNER

“Only Murders in the Building”

“Ted Lasso”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Brian Cox – “Succession”

Billy Crudup – “The Morning Show”

Kieran Culkin – “Succession”

Matthew Macfadyen – “Succession”

Pedro Pascal – “The Last of Us” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston – “The Morning Show”

Elizabeth Debicki – “The Crown” — WINNER

Bella Ramsey – “The Last of Us”

Keri Russell – “The Diplomat”

Sarah Snook – “Succession”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Rachel Brosnahan – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Quinta Brunson – “Abbott Elementary”

Ayo Edebiri – “The Bear” — WINNER

Hannah Waddingham – “Ted Lasso”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Brett Goldstein – “Ted Lasso”

Bill Hader – “Barry”

Ebon Moss-Bachrach – “The Bear”

Jason Sudeikis – “Ted Lasso”

Jeremy Allen White – “The Bear” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Uzo Aduba – “Painkiller”

Kathryn Hahn – Tiny Beautiful Things”

Brie Larson – “Lessons in Chemistry”

Bel Powley – “A Small Light”

Ali Wong – “Beef” — WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Matt Bomer – “Fellow Travelers”

Jon Hamm – “Fargo”

David Oyelowo – “Lawmen: Bass Reeves”

Tony Shalhoub – “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie”

Steven Yeun – “Beef” — WINNER

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series

“Ahsoka”

“Barry”

“Beef”

“The Last of Us” — WINNER

“The Mandalorian”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

“Barbie”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

“John Wick: Chapter 4”

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” — WINNER

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