This year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards had no shortage of winners, but one of the event’s greatest honors went to Robert DeNiro, known best for his roles in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Prefaced by an introduction from fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, DeNiro received the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award. When walking up the stage to give his speech, DeNiro received a standing ovation.

In his speech, DeNiro thanked the two labor unions who created the SAG Awards and help organize them every year. “I thank SAG-AFTRA for tirelessly fighting on our behalf for workplace and economic gains and respect, and that especially bears remembering theses days when there’s so much hostility towards unions,” said DeNiro, garnering applause from the audience. He transitioned, using his speech to talk politics. “Political leaders who support unions are more likely to support Affordable Care Act, equitable taxes, humane immigration regulations, a safe environment, a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control, and fair wages and benefits. We owe them our support and we owe them our vote,” he continued.

In a possible reference to Ricky Gervais’s viral monologue at this years Golden Globes, DeNiro offered a responded to those who wish to keep politics out of awards shows. “I imagine some of you are saying, ‘Alright, let’s not get into the politics.’ But we are in such a dire situation that is deeply concerning to me, and to so many others, so I had to say something.” DeNiro said that he has the right to voice his opinion, and that because he has a platform to speak to a wide audience due to his fame, he is, “going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power.” The comment caused the crowd to cheer and some even gave the veteran actor another standing ovation.



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DeNiro’s full speech can be watched below.

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