Anya Taylor-Joy wins first SAG Award for role in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’
This year, Taylor-Joy was up against a strong group of female actors including Cate Blanchett for Mrs. America, Michaela Coel for I May Destroy You, Nicole Kidman for The Undoing and Kerry Washington for Little Fires Everywhere.
Unlike other television and film award shows, the Screen Actors Guild Awards’ nominees and winners are voted on entirely by their peers. Approximately 160,000 members of the SAG-AFTRA union take part in the voting process each year. This group is made of numerous individuals within the entertainment industry including actors, announcers, dancers and recording artists among others.
This year, SAG-AFTRA has recognized Taylor-Joy for her performance as Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit. For her Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series speech, Taylor-Joy gave a special thanks to her fellow nominees and their inspiring performances. As also paid special tribute to everyone she worked with on The Queen's Gambit.
"It was such a privilege every single day to get to work with the playmates I got to work with," Taylor-Joy says in her speech. "They were so beautiful, supportive and kind."
The Queen's Gambit quickly smashed Netflix records after its debut in October 2020. Currently, it is the most-watched scripted limited series ever on the streaming platform. According to Variety, 62 million Netflix accounts tuned in for the seven-episode show within the first 28 days of its premiere.
In the limited series, Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a wickedly talented chess player in the 1960s. As she slowly climbs her way to the top, however, she quickly learns that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of the ambitious yet introverted chess wiz has led to her first-ever nomination at the SAG Awards. So far this year, Taylor-Joy has already taken home the Best Actress - Limited Series, Anthology Series or TV Movie award at the Golden Globes. The Queen’s Gambit also went on to win Best Limited Series Anthology Series or TV Movie. As well, Taylor-Joy also won Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie at the Critics Choice Awards for her role in the series.
Alongside Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp who plays Mr. Shaibel, the janitor of Harmon's orphanage who taught her to play chess, has also earned his first SAG Award nomination. This year, he's been recognized in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series category.
The Queen's Gambit is streaming now on Netflix.
Over the years, Taylor-Joy has taken on a diverse array of acting roles. Horror movie buffs may recognize her as Thomasin in the grim 2015 film The Witch. She also played Casey Cooke alongside James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller Split.
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More recently, in 2019, Taylor-Joy reprised her role as Cooke and faced the multiple personalities of McAvoy’s character again in Glass. Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson and Samuel L. Jackson are among the other actors who star in the film.
Last year, Taylor-Joy acted in the fantasy/horror film The New Mutants. The movie, which is based on the X-Men comics, also stars Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton among others.
Outside of film, Taylor-Joy has also appeared in a few music videos. Back in 2016, she starred in the theatrical music video for the Skrillex remix of Good Times Ahead’s (GTA) "Red Lips (feat. Sam Bruno)." Additionally, in 2019, she was the protagonist in Hozier’s suspenseful video for "Dinner & Diatribes" which appears on his album Wasteland, Baby!.
More on the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series nominees
In Mrs. America, Blanchett portrays real-life conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. In the 1970s, she led the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment movement. The historical drama, which is streaming on Hulu, details the political era through the perspective of other prominent women including Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba) and Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks).
Blanchett’s role in Mrs. America has led to her 15th nomination at the SAG Awards. In 2004, she won her first SAG award with the actors in The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Then, in 2005, she won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for her portrayal as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. More recently, in 2014, her starring role in Blue Jasmine earned her the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture award. Her acceptance speech from 2014 is available to watch below.
Blanchett’s portrayal of Schlafly also led to her 11th nomination at the Golden Globes. However, the Best Actress - Limited Series, Anthology Series or TV Movie award went to Anya Taylor-Joy for The Queen's Gambit.
Coel created, wrote, co-directed and starred in the comedy/drama series I May Destroy You. On-screen, she portrays Arabella, a young writer living in London. Following a night out with friends, Arabella discovers that certain details from the night are missing from her memory. Soon after, she realizes that she’s been the victim of rape. The harrowing series depicts trauma, tragedy and strength as Arabella works to rebuild her life after the life-altering experience.
This marks Coel’s first-ever nomination at the SAG Awards. Last month, her role as Arabella led to her first Critics Choice Awards nomination in the Best Actress in a Limited Series category. However, the award was given to Taylor-Joy for The Queen’s Gambit. As well, I May Destroy You was also recognized in the Best Limited Series category at the award show.
In 2015, Coel’s TV sitcom Chewing Gum made its debut in the United Kingdom. The series, which is based on her play Chewing Gum Dreams, eventually landed in the U.S. in 2016. Similar to I May Destroy You, Coel created, wrote and was the theme music composer for Chewing Gum. Both I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum are now available to stream on HBO Max.
However, when Elena (Matilda De Angelis), a young mom from Henry’s elite prep school, turns up dead, Jonathan becomes the main suspect in her murder. As the NYPD trails her every move, Grace soon finds herself stuck in a web of deceit and confusion as she tries to uncover the truth behind the gruesome killing.
The Undoing is currently streaming on HBO Max.
Alongside Kidman, Grant is also nominated at the SAG Awards. His nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series. For Kidman, this year’s nomination marks her 14th at the award show.
In 2018, she won her first and only SAG Award in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television category for Big Little Lies. During her speech, Kidman addressed the ageism many female actors face in Hollywood.
“I want to thank you all [her fellow nominees] for your trailblazing performances you have given over your career,” she says in her SAG Awards speech. “And how wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old. Because 20 years ago, we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives. So, that’s not the case now. We have proven and these actresses and so many more are proving that we are potent and powerful and viable."
The Undoing cast and series were up for numerous awards at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. However, Donald Sutherland took home the only award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television at the Critics Choice Awards.
Little Fires Everywhere is based on the popular novel of the same name from Celeste Ng. In the adapted series, which is streaming on Hulu, Washington plays Mia Warren, an artist and single mom who frequently moves around.
When Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive in Shaker Heights, Ohio, she meets Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon), a prim and proper mother who is never one to break the rules. Eventually, the women become enemies and Richardson attempts to uncover the secrets in Warren’s mysterious past. However, Richardson’s determination soon turns into an obsession at a devastating cost for her family.
This marks Washington’s fourth nomination at the SAG Awards. Back in 2005, she earned her first nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture alongside her fellow actors in Ray. Then, in 2014, she was recognized in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series category for her role in Scandal, but Maggie Smith took home the award for Downton Abbey.
More recently, in 2016, she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series for the political thriller Confirmation. In the end, the award was given to Sarah Paulson for her role in Ryan Murphy’s The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
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