Finally last year's sag awards are here!

Wow! Here it is a whole year after the 25th Annual SAG Awards show and I am just getting this posted! Well that is because of numerous reasons and I was all but to totally forget posting this entry as I started writing a new one welcoming everyone to the New Year of 2020 where I was only going to reference this long lost writing, which had me re-read it and had to put the finishing touches on it and post it. So here it is!

Instead of pulling out many specific parts that actually took several blog entries for the Oscar’s in 2018 – I am only focusing on two parts – the opening monologue and the final award of the night. Here is the first – the opening by the host of the 25th Annual SAG Awards show. The host or hostess or a neutral term the emcee if you prefer, always try and make it fun and funny for the audience in the room and more so for the audience at home. But lately it seems that by the plummeting television ratings that it is more for the audience in the room. And is the reason that I skipped a lot of the award show season last year. But I did find out about this show and I had to watch part of it from the TNT YouTube page. And this is what I wanted to share with all of you. Now mind you – this is a little long blog entry but that is because I am transcribing these two examples from the show. You can skip that part if you just watch the TNT video segments. And again the first up is the opening monologue. This is the only one in which I not only provide the text of the monologue but commentary in parentheses. So it is longer than the second show’s example where I do not add any comments with the exception of describing what is happening on stage within the speech.

Megan Mullally: Opening Monologue.

Total of 3 minutes and 49 seconds.

I just want to add that I was going to delete the transcription of Megan Mullally’s monologue after re-watching the video segment – but in case the link to the above video is suddenly unavailable it can be read below. Also I added my comments in it! And for this transcription I will put her words in bold and that way it can be read or skimmed a lot easily!

Voice announcer says: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome four time SAG award nominee, Megan Mullally.” (Large audience applause.)

Megan Mullally says: “Hello and good evening. Well, this is nice. It is my great privilege to welcome you all to the 25th annual SAG Awards. (She claps with applause as does the audience.) The night when Hollywood finally shines a spot light on actors. (Splattering of applause from audience.) It’s just brave. Look, I mean, come on, everybody knows winning a SAG award is the greatest honor an actor can receive this weekend. (Again a splattering of laughter as they are not sure if they should laugh or not. Her delivery is spot on but it is a sarcastic wit or humor that she is giving and is known for in her most famous role on the television show “Will & Grace”. But it is obvious that the audience is not sure how to take it.) I mean this is the place to be. I mean come on, look at this room. Lady Gaga is here. (Camera cuts to her and the audience gives a big applause.) Honey, you are crushing it. I mean what a year. “A Star is Born” has 4 nominations tonight. (Pauses as the audience applauds.) Gaga stars in it. Co-wrote the music. Currently has 2 shows running in Las Vegas and she’s been doing my eyeliner for the past 15 years! (Some laughter from audience.) I mean, look. (She closes her eyes to have everyone look at her eyes and eyeliner.) Look at this. Look! (She turns from one side to the other with her eyes closed.) I mean I just wouldn’t trust anyone else. (She has opened her eyes and looks toward Lady Gaga.) You know you’re the best. (Lady Gaga plays along and says, “All for you baby.”) She was born this way.

All right, well, obviously we still got a way to go, but in 2018 Hollywood did manage to get a few things right. They cast black people in “Black Panther” (splattering of applause and some oooo’s. I think some were applauding for the diversity in movies and others were worried this was a racists comment or joke. In this day and age of political correctness seems to make everyone very cautious about what they say, especially the beacon of the PC culture, makes even Hollywood on edge despite it is one of their own – meaning one from within the Hollywood inner circle delivering the message.) So, that’s good. Asian people in “Crazy Rich Asians” (a little more applause and less oooo’s. I think they are getting it. First of all she is just pointing out the obvious but also with a little bit of her sarcastic wit.) And a green book in “Green Book” (some laughter.) You know, (She gives a little chuckle) you know there were some executives saying, ‘Ummm, could the book be white?” (Her body slumps over and with her head tilted, her face grimaces.)

(****** Okay I have to pause it here and talk about this because it was very obvious that she was joking here. It was a long set up by first talking about blacks and then Asians but then the next nominated film, “The Green Book” was used. And if you didn’t see the movie or the trailers, this movie is about a world-class black pianist who needs and hires a white person to drive him around the South in 1962 so he can perform concerts at several venues. I have not seen the movie yet but I plan to. It looks fantastic. It is based on a biography of the world-class pianist, Dr. Don Shirley which makes me want to watch it, plus I am a fan of the actor, Viggo Mortensen and the director Peter Farrelly. Anyway, now you know what the joke is about. Well, the back story to it anyway. And there was a very small splattering of laughter – most seemed uncomfortable with it — Why? — maybe because it seems to suggest that some of the Hollywood executives are white supremacists? — or — that some Hollywood executives will do what they seem to always do and go with what they think is the safest bet, they are bean counters and want to go with what till make the most profit – stick with the numbers? Either way, these actors did not want to accept this is as a joke and possibly worried that some executives would be watching and scared it would ruin their chance for their next role. I first thought of it as the latter, just bean counters and was therefore funny. It is a JOKE. But it is also rooted in some truth as all jokes are. And the closer to the truth and the closer it hits home, so to speak, the funnier it is. But the fact that I think it is more to the latter they just want to make huge amounts of money – I can relate it to those with a disAbility in the creative roles in Hollywood. With some, if not all, nearly always saying, “Ummm, is there an able bodied actor to play this role?” In fact, I come to that conclusion based on the set up. Megan Mullally says, “…obviously we still got a way to go but in 2018 Hollywood did manage to get a few things right. They cast black people in ‘Black Panther’. So that’s good. Asian people in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.” So as she started with “obviously we has still got a way to go” and I would say that when it comes to people with a disAbility being cast in roles of characters with a disAbility we have a very long way to go. Okay, with that said, back to Ms. Mullally’s opening monologue.*******)  

“Not my favorite joke. (she laughs and so does the audience. I wonder if she said that based on the crowd reaction or if she really feels that way?) And to SAG nominee, the beautiful, Emma Stone. Who just turned 30. (audience gives a strong applause) Our condolences. You had a great run. Like a really great run. Extra, extra good. But you know we are looking forward to your “reverse mortgage loan commercials” They’ll going to be great! (laughter from audience. Emma Stone goes along with it) Chin up. Yep. Good.  Roles for women continue to break new ground. Glenn Close played a wife. So that’s new. (Glenn Close starts laughing as does the audience. This referring to her role as the frightful and evil mistress in “Fatal Attraction” that made her famous many years ago.) Yeah, Um, Melissa McCarthy portrayed a woman who repeatedly apologizes and asks for our forgiveness. I was like, “What? This is groundbreaking!” Emily Blunt played a nanny. (splattering of mild laughter) And in another film written and directed by her real life husband, John Krakowski, Emily played a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak. (audience, including both Emily and John, where the camera is focused on, laughs as it refers to the movie “A Quiet Place” where all the characters had to be extremely quite or …I do not want to give any spoilers in case you have not seen it. But I highly recommend watching it. They made a great thriller and one of the character’s is deaf and John who also directed it insisted that an actress who is deaf play that character! That is what I’m talking about – and advocating for! Representing! Authentically representing!) I mean so great not to have to learn any lines. Am I right? That was really really thoughtful of you John. Thank you.” (The camera returns to Emily and John. You can hear him say, “You’re welcome.”) —- Then the TNT YouTube cuts off at 3 minutes and 41 seconds.

Already I have mentioned that Megan Mullally was making some obvious references to getting the casting correct in a funny way. And the whole thing is funny. Take out my commentary in parentheses and it flows better. And I just was to add how cool it would have been if there was a movie that Ms. Mullally could make reference to where there was a character with a disAbility and they cast it with an actor with a disAbility. Oh! Wait there was! As I mentioned in my comments where Ms. Mullally did refer to Emily Blunt and her husband, the actor and director, John Krakowski for the movie, “A Quiet Place” in which he insisted on hiring an actress who was deaf for the character that is deaf. Or would making fun of an actor with a disAbility crossing the line? They way it is in Hollywood, unless you have the courage of someone like John Krakowski, that hiring someone with a disAbility in itself is crossing their line!

Okay on to the second and final example that I want to highlight in these SAG Awards show. And it is for the final award for the night which went to the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. It was presented by actress, Jodie Foster and it went to “Black Panther.”

Before I put up the video segment – and write out the transcription – I have to say again when in the past as I highlight those of the racial minority within the entertainment industry which I am so grateful to see them overcome so much to get where they are now – from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s all the way to today – where they are honored and respected and celebrated in the entertainment industry – I am going to say again, or ask that you try and imagine of what is being said in this acceptance speech was actually coming from an actor with a disAbility. Of course we have to imagine this being said by an actor with a disAbility in future – some say a distant future because we have so far to go. In many ways we are still in their 1950’s in representation in the industry. But we feel it. And dream of it. And work for it. So just try and imagine that for us – the writers, directors and the actors with a disAbility being accepted in this industry one day while you are watching and/or reading the transcript below. Pay special attention to the words that I have put in bold and italicized of the very genuine and heartfelt acceptance speech given. Can you see someone like me saying them?

Total of 5 minutes and 27 seconds.

Again in case the video link above becomes unavailable, I have the transcription that I wrote, so if there are any errors in it then I apologize. And there is very little comments in it unlike the one with Megan Mullally above! So it should be an easy read. After the announcement of the winner being “Black Panther” many of the main cast members come up on the stage, Chad Boseman was the one speaking on behalf of them.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN: “Well, I’ll be, I didn’t think I was going to have to speak. Obviously we have to thank SAG-AFTRA for this moment of appreciation and celebration of this film. Thank our director Ryan Coogler. He is a genius. Got to run through the names of the execs: Bob Iger, Hannah Horn, Nate Moore, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and — Kevin — Wait. I’ll get it. I have save the best for last. I am not going to forget. I am not going to forget Kevin Feige. Kevin Feige. And this cast, this ensemble that — you know, when I think of going to work every day and the passion and the intelligence, the resolve, the discipline that everybody showed, I also think of two questions that we all have received during the course of multiple publicity runs. And one is: Did we know that this movie was going to receive this kind of response? Meaning, was it going to make billions of dollars? Was it’s going to make a billion dollars? Was it going to still be around during this award’s season? And the second question is: Has it changed the industry? Has it actually changed the way that this industry works? How it sees us? And my answer to that is to be young, gifted, and black. Because all of us up here know — and, Andy, we include you too. (the actor Andy Serkis has just joined the cast on the stage. And for those who do not know him by name and so you understand what Chad says let me tell you that Andy is a white English actor who portrays the villain Ulysses Klaue in the movie) Man, you got great timing, boy. Great timing.

To be young, gifted, and black, we all know what it is like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet, you are young, gifted, and black. We know what it is like to be told to say there is not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it is like to be a tail and not the head. We know what it is like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day because we knew, not that we would be around during an award’s season and that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see. We knew that we had something that we wanted to give. And to come to work with every day and solve problems with this group of people every day with this director, that is something that I wish all actors would get the opportunity to experience. If you get to experience that, you will be a fulfilled artist.

Now, the question of — what is that — the question of, you know, we will be around — don’t give me the music (the “your time is up” music begins and continues). The question of will we will be around during the award’s season, I just have to say it, you know, it is a pleasure to be celebrated by you, to be loved by you. And one thing I do know, did it change the industry? I know that you can’t have a Black Panther now without a “2” on it. So we love you, and we celebrate it.”

Wow! Again I have to say that I am so happy and moved by that acceptance speech. Chad Boseman said everything in such a dignified, thoughtful and grateful way to show how he and many in the entertainment industry that are part of a racial minority feels. I can and do feel what Chad Boseman was saying and feeling. And when I was young and dreaming and working toward being a filmmaker many of us wanted to reach the success that he and those in this movie have done. But when I became paralyzed at the age of 30, just a few months before my 31st birthday.

Larry in a suit and in his manual wheelchair
My best suit if I were going to an Award show!

I quickly learned that I was a part of the largest minority in the country. The 54 million Americans with a disAbility minority. And even more discouraging is finding out how much of an outcast I was in the entertainment industry and what that means for me at becoming a filmmaker – So I can relate – despite not being a part of a racial minority – I have to use a wheelchair for my mobility and that in itself makes anything I write with such passion, featuring something I really know about, a paraplegic as the leading character, being the director of that film which I desire so much and to be a fully authentic film by insisting that an actor with the same or similar disAbility as my character be cast – so far down the list of possibilities of being where other minorities are is nearly hopeless. I challenge you to re-read the transcript of Chad Boseman’s speech and substitute a paraplegic or a person with a disAbility for each time he refers to himself or others who are black in the entertainment industry and how they feel. I think you will understand how I can relate to Mr. Boseman and how I wish to be in his position as a person with a disAbility minority in this industry. But I keep fighting and advocating for myself and all those of us with a disAbility to one day fulfill our dreams of being creatives – meaning the creative roles of writer, director or actor – on the big screen or the small screen so long as we can represent ourselves in the entertainment industry so that one day one of us – not in an ensemble cast made up of mostly those with the same minority like in this example – and maybe not necessarily as an actor but in another award show that features other creatives such as writers and directors like me – and even as an individual human being with a disAbility to be able to give an acceptance speech like this one. Wow! I think about that. I dream of it and can imagine it. Can you imagine that?

Authentic Paraplegic Filmmaker

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