No, Cynthia Erivo didn’t snag the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture (say that seven times fast) for her titular role in Harriet. But she did win one of The Glow Up’s Best Dressed nods for the incredible custom Schiaparelli couture ball gown she wore to Sunday night’s ceremony. Like Erivo’s larger-than-life voice, the dress could’ve easily overwhelmed her petite frame, but ultimately the voluminous skirt was well balanced by the cinched strapless bodice—and on her flawless brown skin, the tomato and fuchsia hues were everything.
In fact, while Erivo’s gown was ironically one of the more conservative we’ve seen the almost-EGOT wear during her years on the red carpet, it was just the dose of color we needed in an overwhelmingly melanin-deficient awards season (on that note: shoutout to Parasite for becoming the first foreign-language film in SAG history to win Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture). Spanning both television and film, this year’s SAGs boasted only slightly more representation among its nominees than the Golden Globes or Oscars, but we nevertheless made a respectable showing at Sunday’s ceremony—well known as a favorite among actors, as they are judged by their peers.
Full disclosure: As a longtime SAG-AFTRA member, this writer also cast her votes—and unfortunately, rooting for everybody black wasn’t the winning strategy. But when it comes to winners, my eyes were on the red—in this case, silver—carpet this year, eager to see what our stars would be wearing. Having had a virtual red carpet watch party with members of The Glow Up’s Facebook group, we came up with a few hands-down favorites of the night: Zoë Kravitz, Mahershala Ali and The Handmaid’s Tale’s Amanda Brugel, all of whom brought their own brands of chic to the SAGs.
Kravitz’s status as a style icon is well-documented—after all, she is an ambassador for Saint Laurent. But the sole daughter of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz has not only forged her own lane in Hollywood but has also mastered the art of gamine glamour, and at the SAGs, she did it again. Kravitz exuded elegance as her newly cropped and sleek pixie cut set off her sherbert-colored, strapless Oscar de la Renta sheath—accessorized with white evening gloves!—to perfection.
Meanwhile, we’re just going to start calling Mahershala Ali “Black Velvet” after his SAGs all-black-everything look. The deservedly acclaimed actor is not only perpetually polished, but smooth; his Ermenegildo Zegna XXX black velvet tux was just another in an ongoing string of sartorial hits. In short, the brotha is clean.
But it’s Brugel who’s increasingly emerging as one of our favorite red carpet stars. Last year, she stunned at the SAGs in incredible violet halter-necked chiffon; this year, she gave us sexy mermaid vibes in the best way imaginable, swimming in emerald sequins and channeling old Hollywood-meets-disco diva in a draped gown by Sebastian Gunawan, accessorized with a matching evening bag.
Of course, Brugel wasn’t alone in bringing a stunning look to the SAGs carpet. While there were a few misses (we’ll let you decide who), there were still major moments, like fellow Lead Actress nominee Lupita Nyong’o, wearing yet another of her incredible naturally-textured, award-worthy hairstyles (styled by Vernon François; see below) with her belted floral Louis Vuitton gown. Then, there was 2020 SAG ambassador Logan Browning, who sported curly cornrows (courtesy of celebrity stylist Nai’vasha Johnson) with her ethereal tulle ballgown by Jason Wu. Who else pushed the proverbial envelope? The always fierce Danai Gurira, who gave us a braided mohawk with her simple but absolutely fire gown by Mugler, while the always swoon-worthy O. T. Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) proved traditional Nigerian garb can be as red-carpet-worthy as any tux.
As always, we’ve got the looks below ... and since awards season is barely at its halfway point, we’ll have plenty more to come. But just a word of warning before it’s all over: this and every season, grab the melanin when and where you can.