Helen Mirren Receives Life Achievement Award at 2022 SAG Awards: 'It's Always S-A-G For Me'
Helen Mirren received the SAG Life Achievement Award.
The English actress was honored Sunday by Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett, on behalf of SAG-AFTRA, during Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.
In her acceptance speech, Mirren, 76, said, "Lifetime achievement, sounds so grand, I suppose I'm still alive so by that measure, I'm eligible." She went on to share her "mantra" that is behind all of her achievements so far: "Be on time and don't be an ass."
Mirren then continued "Thank you S-A-G so much for this, I hate to say SAG at my age, it's always S-A-G for me," she said as the crowd laughed.
"I am simultaneously enormously proud and yet with the understanding that I do not deserve this and there is the conflict I believe you all understand: insecurity versus ego. That cocktail I believe most actors sip in the evening as they contemplate on the gift they received the moment they decided to become an actor," she said.
Mirren also mentioned her struggle in knowing what to say during this speech: "I've been angsting about what to say tonight and then it came to me: to all those people with whom I have shared my professional life, the actors!"
"It is the actors I address. From following my dream of following in the footsteps of Eleonora Duse, through the inspiration of Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti and onto Winslet, Riley, B. Carter, Coleman, Comer, Cole and Kirby, I joined our tribe of rogues and vagabonds a long time ago and it is you actors that I want to thank. Your perception, your emotional generosity, your great intelligence, your incredible energy and your helpless dedication to our chosen profession."
"In my experience, which is now considerable," she said, "we love and admire each other's work. Together we laugh, we weep, we worry, we change clothes, we throw up and we suffer diarrhea. Don't you?"
"A few years ago I had the fiercesome and wonderful challenge of performing Phèdre and standing in that 2,000-year-old space, I felt the ghosts of all those ancient Greeks and vagabonds. I felt their fear, I felt their elation and I felt at one with them. Actors, you are a magnificent tribe. This is for the actors, thank you!"
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David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Helen Mirren
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Mirren was named the 57th recipient of the award back in November. To date, she is the most decorated SAG Life Achievement honoree, with a total of 13 SAG Awards nominations and five SAG Awards Actor wins.
"I am honored to have been chosen to receive the SAG Life Achievement Award," said Mirren in a statement at the time. "Since I was a young actor starting out, I have always been inspired by and learned from American screen acting, so this award is particularly meaningful for me."
Added SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, "Dame Helen Mirren is quite simply a brilliant and luminous talent. Her work runs the gamut of characters from a not-so-retired CIA super-killer and a ruthless Russian spy handler to a Hungarian cleaning lady and the most exquisite Elizabeth II. She has set the bar very high for all actors and, in role after role, she exceeds even her own extraordinary performances."
"I've always felt a kinship with Helen. She's the Queen of England and I'm the Queen of Queens. She won an Oscar and I'm left-hander of the year. It's uncanny," joked Drescher, 64. "And, it is my deep, personal honor to be the first to congratulate Helen as the 57th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Bravo, my dear!"
RELATED VIDEO: Helen Mirren Opens Up Ahead of Her SAG Life Achievement Award: "I Feel I'm at the Pinnacle of My Career"
Of receiving the honor, Mirren recently told PEOPLE, "It's a pinnacle."
"From a pinnacle, you've only got two choices and that's down or up to the clouds," added the Woman in Gold actress. "Having said that, it's a great pinnacle to find yourself standing on."
Mirren has won numerous awards over the course of her illustrious career outside of her SAG achievements, including an Oscar, three Emmys, numerous BAFTA Awards, a Tony Award, a BAFTA Fellowship Award and The Film Society at Lincoln Center's Chaplin Award. In 2003, she was famously made a Dame of the British Empire.
The 28th annual SAG Awards are currently airing live on TNT and TBS, from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.