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Idris Elba at the SAG Awards: 'Welcome to diverse TV'

By Karen Butler   |   Jan. 31, 2016 at 8:44 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- British actor Idris Elba positively remarked on-stage about the diversity of the winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, which bears stark contrast to the all-white nominee slate for next month's Oscars.

The SAG Awards show honors excellence in movie and television acting, while the Oscars recognize stellar work in all fields of filmmaking. For the second year in a row, no people of color were nominated in the Oscar acting categories, sparking online outrage and calls for reform within the industry to promote diversity.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV," Elba quipped before he introduced his Best Ensemble-nominated film Beasts of No Nation at Saturday's SAG Awards. The comment was met with laughter, followed by enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Earlier in the evening, Elba won the trophies for Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries for the cop drama Luther and Best Supporting Actor in a Film for Beasts, which is about child soldiers in Africa.

Viola Davis earned the statuette for Best Actress in a Drama Series for the procedural How to Get Away with Murder, Queen Latifah won the prize for Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries for the biopic Bessie and Uzo Aduba took home the award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for the prison program Orange is the New Black. Aduba and her OITNB co-stars also scored the Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series title.

"Look at this stage. I mean, this is what we talk about when we talk about diversity -- different race, color, creed, sexual orientation," Laura Prepon said, referring to her cast, which includes straight, gay and transgender artists, as well as people of color and white actors.

Jeffrey Tambor won the Best Actor in a Comedy Series award for playing a transgender woman in Transparent and Alicia Vikander earned the accolade for Best Supporting Actress in a Film for her portrayal of the wife of a transgender woman in The Danish Girl.

Michael Keaton dedicated his cast's Best Ensemble in a Film win for Spotlight -- a drama about the real-life journalists who exposed child-molester priests in Boston -- to the "disenfranchised" and the "powerless."

"This is not only for the survivors of this horrific situation, but, for me, personally, and, I'm only speaking for me, this is really for the disenfranchised everywhere," Keaton said. "This is for every Flint, Mich., in the world. This is for the powerless. This is for the powerful, who take advantage of the powerless. And you can hang me for that; I don't really care. That's why I'm proud to be part of this. Thank you very much. It comes down to two things: There is fair and there is unfair and I am always going to vote for the fair. I'm always going to vote for the good guys."

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