Last night was the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which, for all intents and purposes, often feels like a heightened and more expensive High School Thespian Society banquet. However, there were some priceless moments that made this particular secondary awards show (I’m sorry, but you know it’s true) remarkable.
During the televised ceremony, the cast of the sci-fi darling Stranger Things accepted the award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series. David Harbour, known for playing police chief Jim Hopper on the show, accepted the award and gave a rousing speech on behalf of his fellow cast members.
The transcript of the impassioned speech (if you’re opposed to watching videos) is as follows:
Oh, my god. 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—oh, it’s so heavy!—we’d like to thank Netflix, Sean, Matt, Ross and the amazing casting director Carmen Cuba. And I would like to say that in light of all that’s 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 from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper, and through our art to battle against the fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly 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 are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive. 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 at a loss against the hypocrisy and 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 weak 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.
The artistic call to arms elicited a vexing array of emotions from the costar at Harbour’s right elbow, Winona Ryder, who apparently experienced the full range of human emotion in a span of roughly two minutes.
Naturally, members of the Twitterverse couldn’t help but laugh over Ryder’s unapologetically perplexed faces, and Ryder was soon the internet meme du jour.
Yes, everything is awful — but isn’t it heartening to know that Winona Ryder has not only made a career comeback, but has become (semi) culturally relevant once more, like a bizarre and poorly-dressed phoenix rising from the ashes?
Keep grimacing/shrugging/smiling/mugging, Winona. You’re the American dream.