Rita Moreno appeared at Saturday Night’s PGA Awards, accepting the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America.
Accepting the award from presenter Jessica Chastain, the legendary EGOT winner made quite the entrance as danced her way to the podium, with Chastain joining in.
jessica chastain and rita moreno dancing “suavemente” in PGA Awards 2022💖 pic.twitter.com/xNOqi4Fuzf
— allie (@tinychastain) March 20, 2022
In her acceptance speech, the 90-year-old Hollywood icon recounted her decades of social activism.
“I am not a person of religious faith, but for me, film has often been a sacred text that has spurred me to follow what [Abraham Lincoln] called the ‘better angels of our nature,’” Moreno told the crowd at the event, held at Los Angeles’ Fairmont Century Plaza.
“In 1963, I sat on Abraham Lincoln’s steps, only a few feet from [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.]. I was there… Thanks to an invitation from Harry Belafonte, I was there to hear the preacher’s dream. In seasons when profits fall silent and statesmen reign, thankfully, filmmakers keep on preaching and never stop advocating for matters of equity and justice,” she continued.
Paying tribute to the award’s namesake, she described producer and director Stanley Kramer as “one such prophet who never shied from matters of social justice and equity in his body of work,” said Moreno.
“I am 90 now,” she added. “And working for a lifetime, and this business has taken tenacity and hard work. Advocating for issues of social justice for the last 60 years has been exhausting, exhilarating and life-giving. Had it not been for those sets and the fire set inside me as a young woman, I would certainly not be here tonight receiving this wondrous honour.”
Jessica Chastain presents the PGA’s Stanley Kramer Award to Rita Moreno, 90, who Chastain says introduced herself to Chastain a decade ago by complimenting Chastain’s breasts. Moreno dances to stage, recounts being at MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, gives a great speech of her own pic.twitter.com/ly2amCkCE7
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 20, 2022
She concluded her remarks by defending actors who share their political views.
“We are in the throes of yet another award season, and some in our tribe have been known to use a spotlight to advocate for issues addressed in their nominated works — climate change, universal health care, voting rights and LGBTQ advocacy, and many, many others,” Moreno declared.
“And I know that in some audiences, that has been known to create, how shall I say — a mild discomfort? For others, heart palpitations. ‘After all, who are these actors, these Hollywood types think they are, huh? Citizens in a democracy?’ Well, f**k ’em. Freedom of speech belongs to all of us actors. And let’s not forget comedians are patriots, too — just look in the direction of Mr. Zelenskyy in Ukraine,” she explained, before ending with a joke.
“Thank you, and I promise I’ll be more charming on another occasion.”