On Sunday night (19 January), Jennifer Aniston took home the Best Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2020. As it had been 24 years since picking up her last award at the SAGs, Aniston truly owned the night.
And rightly so.
The actor’s winning role, as news anchor Alex Levy in The Morning Show, is the latest in a string of recently hailed performances. She made us laugh our socks off last summer in Netlfix’s Murder Mystery. And Dumplin’, which she starred in and co-produced, was the feel-good film of 2018.
But rather than celebrate Aniston’s overdue recognition in the industry, the focus was placed on two other things. Firstly, the reaction to her dress proved that people seem to have a problem with women having nipples. And secondly, photographs of Brad Pitt holding onto her hand while they laughed together quickly went viral. Why? Well there still seems to be a fixation on the former couple “getting back together”. This is despite the fact that they divorced over 15 years ago.
The deluge of headlines quickly followed. “Are Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston on the verge of rekindling their relationship?” asked one tabloid. “Jennifer Aniston ‘finally over’ Brad Pitt as she squirms out of his grip” wrote another, ignoring the fact that Aniston has been leading a pretty happy and successful life over the last 15 years. “Jennifer Aniston hails the ‘night I’ll never forget’ after Brad Pitt reunion’’ shouted a third headline, again ignorant to the award in her hand that she was actually hailing.
It was enough to nearly overshadow the reason Aniston was there in the first place. But another photo on the red carpet served as a gentle reminder.
When Aniston posed alongside The Handmaid’s Tale actor Elisabeth Moss, the two women reached out to each other and raised their arms at an equal height to hold hands. Moss was also nominated in the same Best Actress category, which Aniston went on to win. The mutual respect and admiration is clear in the photograph of the embrace. And Aniston gave a shout out to her industry peers in her witty but poignant award-winning speech.
“All of you, your performances have inspired me for years,” she told the room. “I feel like we’ve kind of grown up together. And I know that the few times that I’ve been invited back into this room over the last 20-something years, it’s been so special.”
Aniston also singled out her co-star and “partner in crime” Reese Witherspoon for praise. “It took 20 years but we did it, finally,” she enthused.
This was the third nomination in the Best Actress category that Moss has received for her role as June Osborne in The Handmaid’s Tale. But the competition was pretty tough. Fellow nominees included Helena Bonham Carter for The Crown, Olivia Colman also for The Crown and Jodie Comer for Killing Eve.
And with so much support for each other, the competition is only set to become stronger and stronger.