Winona's faces are ALL OF US
It’s officially awards season!
That means that if you’re a fan of movies, TV shows, web series, acting, writing, directing, editing, composing—the arts in general—this is the time of year your favorite (or least favorite!) stars and ingenues are rewarded for their difficult and inspiring work.
And while their contribution to pop culture may have died down over the months since their debut, awards season is a time to look back and remember the shows and projects that so impacted us over the past year.
Think back to July 15, 2016. Does it ring a bell? Do you know where you were? Well, if you’re anything like me, you were eagerly binging Netflix’s latest series, Stranger Things. And if you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Now that we’re seeing the cast together again for awards shows, it’s a time to look back on the great work they accomplished, but also to learn more about them and see just where they stand in our current climate. This years, actors and actresses aren’t afraid to voice their opinions while accepting their awards, but the speech David Harbour (Chief Hopper) just gave at the Screen Actors Guild Awards is one for the books!
The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were celebrated on January 29th, and this week, everybody is talking about the same thing: David Harbour’s acceptance speech on behalf of the Stranger Things cast.
A show noted for its spot-on nostalgic feel, powerful young actors, captivating plot, and endearing storyline, the Netflix original Stranger Things was well-received around the world, but it was especially beloved by fans of 1980s sci-fi and horror.
During the SAG Awards, Stranger Things was announced as the recipient of the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Actor David Harbour, who played Chief Jim Hopper on the show, accepted the award on behalf of his co-stars, and then his speech brought the house down.
As the joyful cast made it to the stage and accepted the award, Harbour began to say what you’d expect from an actor dedicated to his craft:
“Wow, This is unreal. This is unreal. I’m supposed to start talking, I’m sorry, I’m sick. On behalf of this fearless and talented cast, we would like to thank [takes award] ooh it’s so heavy. We’d like to thank Netflix, Sean, Matt, Ross, and the amazing casting director Carmen Cuba.”
So far, pretty standard, yes? Then he kept going:
“In light of all that is going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things. But this award from you, who take your craft seriously, and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world, is a call to arms for our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and, through our art, to battle against fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominately narcissistic culture and through our craft to 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, they are not alone. We are united in that we are all human beings, and we all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting, and mysterious ride that is being alive.”
Already, his impassioned words were proving to be no run-of-the-mill speech. Finding a swift pace and a captivating eloquence, Harbour went on.
“Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home, we will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters, and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility. Thank you.”
By the time he was finished, the entire audience was on their feet, screaming and clapping and cheering the unabashed commitment that Harbour was making to the marginalized groups being threatened in the world today. Much as the cast did in Stranger Things, he vowed to take in and protect those being made to felt that they don’t fit in. And this speech was not at all happenstance.