SAG Awards Breakthrough for ‘Orange is the New Black’

Actress Uzo Aduba won the SAG Award for the most outstanding actress trophy in a Comedy Series for her character in “Orange is the New Black.” The show also won for most outstanding performance by an ensemble. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/

LOS ANGELES-The moment Hollywood has been waiting for has officially arrived. The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) took place Sunday, January 25, 2015 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.

The SAG Awards is like no other awards show. It is the first industry to honor film casts and television ensembles. It is a show all about being recognized for your work and to have it recognized by your fellow peers who are equally as talented. From the award categories and voting process to the intimate ceremony setup, the SAG Awards are in a ball game of their own.

Diversity played a big role at the SAG Awards this year. One thing that stood out more than the red carpet itself was the cast of; Orange Is the New Black (OITNB). Not because they are a cast of 40, but because of their down to earth personalities. Each individual was humble, grateful, and unique in their own way.

Selenis Leyva and Elizabeth Rodriguez from OITNB shared what the SAG Awards meant to them.

“To be recognized by my peers feels amazing. I am still a little bit in shock that we are here. Not because the show is amazing and that I am obsessed with everyone, but because we’re here. WE ARE HERE!” said Leyva. “Recognition, peers and grateful is what comes to mind immediately when I think of the SAG Awards. I got my SAG card years ago doing voice over work. That was like my first thing, doing ADR work. To be here on this red carpet tonight, with my daughter, with this amazing cast, I am beside myself. I have already won.”

Cast members from “Orange is the New Black,” celebrate backstage after winning the SAG Award for outstanding performance as an ensemble in a Comedy Series. The 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) were held Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/

Rodriguez said, “SAG Awards definitely means recognition, humility and arriving. I say arriving because, it’s the SAG Awards. It’s so specific. It is us doing it and it feels less political. There are so many people that are here that I have known throughout the years. It’s just so amazing to see each other and know each other from other places, whether it was theater or something. We are all here at this moment, it will never happen again like it is right now. I am trying to be fully aware and live in it.”

Actor Germar Terrell Gardner known for OITB, also felt overwhelmed with joy for their nomination.

“It means the world! I am just excited to be here. Excited to be here with my peers and the individuals I have worked with from, Orange Is the New Black,” Gardner said. “Everyone on that show is great. The fact that it is being recognized in this way by our peers is remarkable. The SAG Awards means everything to me. I use to sit and watch at home, probably at my mother’s house because I couldn’t afford cable. Just sitting and imagining what it would be like to be in this atmosphere and now that I am here…it’s beautiful, just beautiful.”

Jessica Pimentel from OITNB said the cast is a “family.”

“Orange is the New Black” actress Jessica Pimetel stuns on the red carpet at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/


“We work together really hard, we work for each other and, it’s a family. We are nominated as a family and it feels so good,” said Pimentel. She summed up their moment in three words as, “We made it.”

Orange is the New Black was nominated for the Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and post red carpet took home the award.  This was the first year that the Netflix show was nominated. It ended Modern Family’s four-year streak in the best comedy ensemble cast category.

After the cast received their awards, Yvette Freeman from the show voiced how she believes with this win; they are redefining what television is.

“We are growing with society,” Freeman said. “This win is saying that we are looking at the regular person and bringing them forward. It is telling true stories and that is what you are seeing up here, you are seeing real human beings in this show. That is why it is raining true to everyone in this room and everyone looking at T.V. It (OITNB) is a wonderful show, with wonderful women.”

Uzo Aduba from OITNB went home with not one, but two awards. She received an independent award for Female Actor in a Comedy Series.

She called winning “a humbling experience.”

“It was a very humbling experience. When my name was called, I thought my heart stopped for a second. I was like, come on heart beat again I need you right now,” said Aduba.

It is safe to say that, Orange Is the New Black definitely stole the show with not only their great personalities, but their well-deserved domination as well.

Thai Lee

I am a recent graduate from the University of Central Missouri. I majored in Digital Media Production with an emphasis in news. My aspiration is to become a television Journalist.

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