It was another good night for actors winning awards for queer roles at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday. Mirroring their wins at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month, Mahershala Ali, Darren Criss, and Rami Malek took home awards for playing queer characters. Killing Eve's Sandra Oh was the one woman to win an award for a queer role (her Eve has discussed her sexual fluidity) although women were nominated in queer roles in Can You Ever Forgive Me and The Favourite.
Malek won a leading actor award for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, but the film that took home a major prize at the Golden Globes failed to land the ensemble award. The top award went to the cast of the landmark superhero film Black Panther.
Ali, who won an Oscar for his role in Moonlight, picked up the SAG in the supporting category for Greenbook, in which his character Don Shirley, a jazz pianist, is revealed to be queer at a turning point in the movie.
Criss picked up his award for his turn as the serial killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Accepting the award, Criss addressed the families of his character’s victims.
“For any of the family and friends of those that are still affected by the destruction that he brought, I hope you know that our goal was not to make a spectacle of their tragedy but to create a positive dialogue about social issues and bring to justice things that were in the shadows,” Criss said.
Earlier this month Oh became the first Asian woman to win multiple Golden Globes. Backstage after landing the SAG award, she spoke about the state of diversity in the industry, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“What do I think about diversity? May it continue to grow. Are we there yet?” Oh said. “Of course not, but it’s always good to have something to aspire to and continue to work toward, to see ourselves in a deeply human need — I continue to work towards that."
Taking home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Malek dedicated his SAG award to the man he portrayed, Queen’s charismatic frontman Mercury.
“I thank Queen and Freddie Mercury,” Malek said, according to Entertainment Tonight. “I get some power from him that is about stepping up and living your best life and being exactly who you want to be and accomplishing everything you so desire. I feel that, and he allows us all to feel that. So this is again for him.”
Since Bohemian Rhapsody took home the Golden Globe earlier this month, the film was hit with controversy when a piece in The Atlantic delved into allegations that the movie’s director Bryan Singer had been sexually abusing young men two decades.
Singer was fired from the film shortly before shooting wrapped, but earlier this week, GLAAD announced it did not nominate the film for an award because the organization intended to send a message that it “stands with survivors of sexual assault.”