Helen Mirren accepts lifetime achievement award: ‘Hate to use the word SAG at my age’

‘I suppose, you know, I’m still alive so by that measure I’m eligible,’ Mirren quipped

Maanya Sachdeva
Monday 28 February 2022 07:07
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Helen Mirren stars in HBO's Catherine the Great - trailer

Dame Helen Mirren accepted the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Lifetime Achievement award on Sunday (27 February) with a speech full of witty quips.

The 28th SAG awards were handed out at a live ceremony in Santa Monica, California, as the guild honoured performers in 15 categories across film and television on Sunday night (27 February).

Mirren – whose illustrious acting career has spanned the stage, television and film – was presented with the Lifetime Achievement honour by Mare of Easttown actor Kate Winslet and Nightmare Alley’s Cate Blanchett during Sunday’s show.

“I suppose, you know, I’m still alive so by that measure I’m eligible,” 76-year-old Mirren began her speech, after the audience’s thunderous applause for her died down.

The Queen Elizabeth I actor then shared the secret to her long-term success in Hollywood, ascribing it to a personal “mantra”.

“Be on time and don’t be an ass,” Mirren continued, before mouthing the word “hole” at the end of her sentence to circumvent the no-swearing rule at award shows.

She went on to thank the guild, before good-naturedly adding: “I hate to say the word SAG at my age – it’s always ‘S-A-G’ for me.”

Mirren said she had been “angsting about what to say tonight” before she was struck by inspiration.

“To all those people with whom I have shared my professional life – the actors. I will talk about actors,” she continued, before self-deprecatingly joking, “Oh my god, what a brilliant idea. So original, I mean I like to think inside the box!”

She dedicated her award to her tribe of ”rogues and vagabonds” as she celebrated the legacy of British actors like Winslet, Olivia Colman, Vanessa Kirby and Michaela Coel.

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“It’s you, actors, that I want to thank. For your wit and your humour – all the giggles all the laughter – I’ve laughed all my life, honestly,” the veteran Hollywood star continued, adding, “Your perception, your emotional generosity, your great intelligence, and your incredible energy.

“This is for the actors.”

Squid Game and Ted Lasso emerged the night’s big winners among the television categories.

Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain and Will Smith won awards for outstanding performances in film roles this year. Chastain tearfully accepted the award for her portrayal of American evangelist Tammy Faye in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Smith’s portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard earned him the award for Best Actor at the SAG’s 2022 edition.

You can find a full list of winners here.

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