“It’s really a thrill,” Annette Bening told Variety Thursday night on the red carpet of the 2017 CSA Artios Awards. “I remember when I didn’t even know what a casting director was.”

Now of course Bening, who was being honored with the Lynn Stalmaster Career Achievement Award, has a clear understanding of their role. The actress, along with other attendees like Stalmaster, CSA President Richard Hicks, Mandy Moore, Elle Fanning, Lily Collins, Missi Pyle, J.J. Abrams, Taissa Farmiga, Constance Zimmer, Mykelti Williamson, Steven Yeun, Yara Shahidi, and many more arrived at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles to celebrate the often unsung heroes of the industry with compliments and awards for their contributions.

Meanwhile, a second ceremony was simultaneously held in New York at Stage 48 with host Michael Urie. Joel McHale served as the emcee for the Beverly Hills event.

“I have the utmost respect for casting directors,” said “This is Us” star Justin Hartley. “I could never do it. It’s a very difficult job. It’s a nuanced art form.” Shahidi also felt their importance noting, “You end up owing every project you get to a casting director.”

With the event landing on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was no surprise that politics were a topic that showed up frequently. “It’s great to be here,” honoree Nina Gold said while accepting her Hoyt Bowers award. However, before the “Game of Thrones” casting director could get serious, she sent the crowd into a roar of laughter with, “This probably the last day of civilization as we know it.”

Bening, who took the stage soon after gave her sincere thanks to the audience saying, “You know us better than anything. You know us when we’re not quite on our best game, and you know us during those magical moments when the right person comes in at the right moment for the right role, and you see it. I very much am grateful to you.”

The night also honored the Public Theater with the Marion Dougherty New York Apple award, as well as Eve Streger and Danielle Pretsfelder with the Associate Spotlight award.

View the rest of the awards listed below:

Feature Big Budget — Comedy
“La La Land,” Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood

Feature Big Budget — Drama
“Hidden Figures,” Victoria Thomas, Jackie Burch (Location Casting), Bonnie Grisan (Associate)

Feature Studio of Independent – Comedy
“Hell or High Water,” Richard Hicks, Jo Edna Boldin, Chris Redondo (Associate), Marie A.K. McMaster (Associate)

Feature Studio of Idependent – Drama
“Manchester By the Sea,” Douglas Aibel, Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

Feature Low Budget – Comedy or Drama
“Moonlight,” Yesi Ramirez

Feature Animation
“Moana,” Jamie Sparer Roberts, Rachel Sutton (Location Casting)

Television Pilot and First Season – Comedy
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Felicia Fasano, Bernard Telsey, Tim Payne, Tara Nostramo (Associate), Conrad Woolfe (Associate), Abbie Brady-Dalton (Associate)

Television Pilot and First Season – Drama
“Mr. Robot,” Susie Farris, Beth Bowling, Kim Miscia, Michael Rios (Associate) Melanie Crescenz (Associate)

Television Series — Comedy
“Transparent,” Eyde Belasco

Television Series — Drama
“Bloodline,” Debra Zane, Lori Wyman (Location Casting), Shayna Markowitz (Associate), Marie-Thérèse Verbruggen (Associate), Erin Fragetta (Associate)

Television Movie or Mini-Series
“The People v. OJ Simpson,” Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera Hallman, Courtney Bright, Nicole Daniels, Cara Chute Rosenbaum (Associate)

Children’s Pilot and Series (Live Action)
“School of Rock,” Suzanne Goddard-Smythe, Ty Harman (Associate)

Television Animation
“Bob’s Burgers,” Julie Ashton-Barson

Television Unscripted Series
“Billion Dollar Buyer,” Candra Nazzaro

Short Films
“Youth,” Adrienne Stern, Nina Henninger (Location Casting)

Short Form/Web Series
“Her Story,” Geralyn Flood

NY Broadway Theatre
“The Humans,” Carrie Gardner

NY Broadway Theatre – Musical
“Hamilton,” Bethany Knox

NY Theatre – Comedy and Musical
“Dear Evan Hansen,” Tara Rubin, Lindsay Levine

NY Theatre – Drama
“Buried Child,” Judy Henderson

Regional Theatre East/West
“Grey Gardens,” Duncan Stewart, Benton Whitley

Los Angeles Theatre
“Bent,” Heidi Levitt

Special Theatrical Performance East/West
“Little Shop of Horrors,” Carrie Gardner, Stephen Kopel

Theatre Tours
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” Stephen Kopel