“Stranger Things” officially became an Emmy contender on Sunday night with its upset win for drama ensemble at the SAG Awards.
The 1980s-set sci-fi romp bested the night’s big winner, “The Crown,” in the category, along with such heavyweights as “Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey” and another buzzy newcomer, “Westworld.”
Nowhere was the surprise of the victory more evident than on the wide-eyed face of “Stranger Things” star Winona Ryder as the group trundled on stage to collect the award. While star David Harbour read an impassioned “call to arms” for the artistic community, the four youthful co-stars of “Stranger Things” — Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin — were jumping up and down and hugging one another.
Harbour got the crowd on its feet with his rousing and breathless plea for artists to “go deeper through our art and battle against the fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture and through our craft cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired that they are not alone. We are united in that we are all human beings, we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive.”
Overall, Netflix steamrolled through the night, scoring the win for ensemble comedy as well, with “Orange Is the New Black” taking its third consecutive SAG trophy. Claire Foy and John Lithgow claimed the lead drama actress and actor kudos for “The Crown.” Foy was a winner earlier this month at the Golden Globe Awards, as was the series.
“Crown” was assured of having kudos traction as its birthright by virtue of its status as a big-budget period piece about Queen Elizabeth II’s early years on the throne. But “Stranger Things,” the sleeper hit of last summer, has been considered more popcorn fare than awards bait.
HBO took home two wins, for “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as comedy actress and Bryan Cranston as lead actor in a miniseries/movie for his turn as President Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way.”
William H. Macy ensured that Showtime wasn’t empty-handed, nabbing the comedy actor win for “Shameless.” And Sarah Paulson added another bit of hardware to her trophy case, prevailing once again as lead actress in a miniseries/movie for her work as FX’s “The People V. O.J. Simpson.”