As actress Kristen Bell has been careful to point out, she is not the first female host of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She’s the first host, period.
It was always going to be hard for the SAG Awards to top this year’s Golden Globes, with its all black-clad red carpet and empowering speeches that declared #TimesUp on sexual abuse in Hollywood. But with Bell and an army of female presenters leading the charge, 2018’s second big award show did its best to keep the momentum going on a long-overdue movement.
“There has never been a host for this award show before,” Bell said at the top of her monologue. “Yep, first time, first person, first lady. And I honestly never thought that I would grow up to be the first lady.”
“But you know what? I kind of like it,” she continued, before taking a stab at first lady Melania Trump. “I think my first initiative as first lady will be cyberbullying, because I have yet to see any progress made on that problem quite yet.”
“Everyone’s story deserves to be told, especially now,” Bell added. “We are living in a watershed moment in time and as we march forward with active momentum and open ears, let’s make sure we are leading the charge with empathy and diligence, because fear and anger never win the race.”
Then came a joke: “Regardless of our differences, we can all come together and delight in one thing: Frozen 2 is coming out in theaters in 2019.”
The scourge of sexual misconduct weighed heavy over the night, including in some of the nominees, from Aziz Ansari, who decided not to attend the ceremony in the wake of the controversial allegation against him, to James Franco, who showed up despite the several women who have spoken out against him since his Golden Globe win.
Another nominee, Alison Brie, who is married to James Franco’s brother and The Disaster Artist co-star Dave Franco, addressed the allegations against her brother-in-law on the red carpet.
“I think that above all what we’ve always said is that it remains vital that anyone that feels victimized should and does have the right to speak out and come forward,” Brie told E!’s Giuliana Rancic. “I obviously support my family, and not everything that’s been reported has been accurate, so I think we’re waiting to get all the information. But of course now is the time for listening, and that’s what we are all trying to do.”