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SAG Awards strike defiant tone against immigration ban

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/30/2017 By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

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The cast of "Stranger Things," Emma Stone and Julia Louis-Dreyfus won at a Screen Actors Guild Awards that has been, in part, a very well-dressed protest against President Donald Trump's sweeping immigration order.

Meryl Streep, left, and Viola Davis attend the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Meryl Streep, left, and Viola Davis attend the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) While protests continued at airports nationwide over Trump's temporary ban of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations, many at the SAG Awards struck a defiant tone.

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mahershala Ali accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Ashton Kutcher, the first presenter at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, welcomed not just the viewing audience but "anyone in airports that belong in my America."

The cast and crew of "Orange is the New Black" pose in the press room with the awards for the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press The cast and crew of "Orange is the New Black" pose in the press room with the awards for the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Louis-Dreyfus added another honor for her performance on the political satire "Veep." She called herself the daughter of an immigrant who fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France.

Simon Helberg, left, and Jocelyn Towne display protest signs against the U.S. policy of temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Simon Helberg, left, and Jocelyn Towne display protest signs against the U.S. policy of temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes," said Louis-Dreyfus. "And this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American."

Lily Tomlin accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lily Tomlin accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Perhaps the most moving speech came from Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor for his acclaimed performance in Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age portrait, "Moonlight." Ali said he saw lessons for today in "Moonlight," in which he plays a character who makes a difference in a shy, gay Miami boy's hard life. "We see what happens when you persecute people," Ali said. "The fold into themselves."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for "Veep" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for "Veep" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Ali said his relationship with his mother exemplified tolerance. The son of an ordained minister, Ali converted to Islam 17 years ago.

Viola Davis accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for "Fences" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Viola Davis accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for "Fences" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"We put things to the side," Ali said of their differences. "I'm able to see her. She's able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. That stuff is minutia. It's not that important."

Viggo Mortensen, left, and Kathryn Hahn speak at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Viggo Mortensen, left, and Kathryn Hahn speak at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

But the fieriest speech was by David Harbour, who led the cast of Netflix's "Stranger Things" — maybe the night's biggest surprise winner — on stage. "We will hunt monsters," he vowed in lengthy remarks that drew a standing ovation.

Damien Chazelle arrives at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Damien Chazelle arrives at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Like Ali, other Oscar favorites cemented their front-runner status, including Emma Stone for "La La Land" and Viola Davis for Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation "Fences." Davis framed her speech as a thank you to Wilson for honoring the average man, "who happened to be a man of color."

William H. Macy poses in the press room with the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series for "Shameless" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press William H. Macy poses in the press room with the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series for "Shameless" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"We deserve to be in the canon, in the center of any narrative that's written out there. And that's what August did," said Davis. "He elevated my father, my mother, uncles, who had 8th and 5th-grade educations. He just encapsulated them in history. So thank you, August."

John Lithgow accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series for "The Crown" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press John Lithgow accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series for "The Crown" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The hit Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" won best ensemble in a comedy series for the third straight year.

Ashton Kutcher presents the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ashton Kutcher presents the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"We stand up here representing a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here from places like Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Ireland," said star Taylor Schilling, while a cast member added "Brooklyn!" ''And we know that it's going to be up to us and all you, probably, to keep telling stories that show what unites us is stronger than the forces that divide us."

Taylor Schilling, center, and the cast of "Orange Is the New Black" accept the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Taylor Schilling, center, and the cast of "Orange Is the New Black" accept the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

A pair of veteran actors took other TV honors: John Lithgow for best actor in a drama series ("The Crown") and Bryan Cranston for his Lyndon Johnson in the HBO movie "All the Way."

Bryan Cranston appears backstage with the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or limited series for "All the Way" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Bryan Cranston appears backstage with the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or limited series for "All the Way" at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

"La La Land" may have tied an Oscar record with 14 nominations, set a Golden Globes record with seven wins and won the top prize at Saturday's Producers Guild Awards, but it wasn't competing for the top Screen Actors Guild award. Nominated instead for best ensemble are the casts for "Moonlight," ''Manchester by the Sea," ''Hidden Figures" and "Captain Fantastic."

Actors, the largest group in the motion picture academy, hold considerable sway. SAG, though, is much larger, with about 160,000 members, compared to about 1,200 actors in the academy.

Lily Tomlin was the lifetime achievement honoree. The 77-year-old actress gave a warm, rollicking speech that dispensed both drinking advice and regret over wasting "a lot of time being ambitious about the wrong things."

"Did you hear? The Doomsday Clock has been moved up to two and a half minutes before midnight," said Tomlin. "And this award, it came just in the nick of time."

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Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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