Hollywood Stars Lady Gaga, Brian Cox, Others Rally Behind Ukraine at SAG Awards

The Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night saw Hollywood show its support for Ukraine with Lady Gaga, Brian Cox, Michael Douglas and more expressing solidarity with the eastern European nation.

Russian forces shattered peace in Europe by invading Ukraine last week, and while the 28th SAG Awards in Santa Monica, California, were held to celebrate performers, the current situation in Ukraine was very much at the forefront of stars' minds.

Fran Drescher, who serves as president of SAG, opened the night by "extending prayers" to the people of Ukraine.

"First, I would like to extend prayers to the people of Ukraine," she opened her speech.

Later in the evening, Succession's Brian Cox delivered a sobering speech about the conflict after accepting the award for best drama ensemble on behalf of the HBO hit.

"One other thing I would like to add," the Logan Roy star said after praising his fellow cast and crew members, "which I think is important to me and I hope important to you as actors and performers and writers and directors, [is] what's going on in Ukraine. It's truly, truly awful."

Cox went on to acknowledge Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's career as an actor.

"It's particularly awful in terms of [how] it's affecting people, particularly in our profession. The President of Ukraine [Volodymyr Zelensky] was a comic. He was a wonderful comic performer. And we should respect that. To come to the presidency was amazing," he said.

Lady Gaga, Brian Cox
Lady Gaga and Brian Cox attend the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Barker Hangar on February 27, 2022, in Santa Monica, California. Getty Images

He then noted the Russian performers and creatives who are unable to speak out against their country's actions.

"But the thing that really distressed me is what's happening in Russia, to my fellow actors and actresses and performers and writers and critics. They are told, under pain of high treason, they cannot say a word about Ukraine. I think that is awful," Cox said.

Cox urged the public to "all stand together also for those people," adding: "The people in Russia who don't like what's going on, and particularly the artists. I think we should join and celebrate them and hope that they can make a shift. Because I believe they can."

Michael Keaton also mentioned president Zelenskyy while accepting his award for outstanding performance in a television movie or limited series for Dopesick.

"We have a fellow actor in Zelenskyy, who deserves some credit for fighting the fight," he said.

Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series award for ’Dopesick’ onstage during the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards at Barker Hangar on February 27, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. 1184596 Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Leslie Odom Jr. also reminded the audience to keep thinking of Ukraine despite enjoying the SAG celebrations.

"While tonight is a celebration, we are all at the same time holding a place in our hearts for the people of Ukraine and sending our thoughts, prayers and hopes for impending peace," he said.

Lady Gaga also referenced the ongoing conflict during a red carpet interview on Sunday night.

"I am just really honored to be here," the House of Gucci actress said.

"This is a beautiful night where we all get to celebrate art together and celebrate each other. There's so much going on in the world and my heart goes out to Ukraine. I think tonight we should all really sit in the gratitude of this."

Michael Douglas wore a handkerchief of Ukraine's flag and said on the red carpet: "This is not the L.A. Rams," referencing the Los Angeles football team that outfits in the same colors of yellow and blue.

"If ever there was a time for us to appreciate what true democracy is, I'm just so proud of what these people of this country have done," the 77-year-old actor said.

Jean Smart, who won the SAG for female actor in a comedy series for Hacks, ended her speech with a call for peace.

"Please, everybody, pray for peace," Smart said.

Andrew Garfield, who was nominated for his performance in Netflix's Tick, Tick...Boom!, said on the E! red carpet that it was "tricky" to celebrate while such events were taking place internationally.

"[It's] a pretty tricky day to celebrate, but keeping what's happening in Ukraine in our hearts, it's definitely odd that we're dressing up in this moment, but I'm grateful to be here with our community," the Spider-Man star said.

Jessica Chastain, who won the SAG Award for female actor in a film for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, also acknowledged victims of war in her acceptance speech.

"My heart is with our international family all over the world right now, who is fighting for their safety and their freedom," she said.

Leslie Odom Jr.
Leslie Odom Jr. attends the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Barker Hangar on February 27, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. Jeff Kravitz/Getty/FilmMagic