As Morgan Freeman began his speech on stage at the SAG Awards on Sunday night, he suddenly stopped. “Hey … I’m talking to you. Yeah, hey,” he said to someone in the front of the audience. “Okay, well you just stand out to me for me, that’s all!”
At the time, it seemed like Freeman was either flirting with someone in the crowd, or chastising an audience member for being distracting as he began his acceptance speech as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree. (Sites like TMZ assumed it was the latter.) Watch the moment in the clip below.
But backstage, Freeman revealed to IndieWire that he actually was thrown by seeing a familiar face: Lily Tomlin. “She’s a wonder in herself and I’ve always loved her. I see her and I say hello!”
Coincidentally, Tomlin was honored with the same Lifetime Achievement Award last year at the SAG Awards. Freeman was handed the award by his one-time “Electric Company” co-star Rita Moreno. (Tomlin was also a guest star on “Electric Company” back in the day.) Beyond that, Freeman also pointed out that the SAG Awards statue was male, something that actress Ann Dowd also mentioned before the ceremony.
“I wasn’t going to do this, I’m going to tell you what’s wrong with this statue,” he said. “It works from the back. From the front, it’s gender specific. Maybe I started something.”
Freeman ended by noting how heavy his award was, and Moreno helped him off the stage.
Backstage, Freeman mentioned that he wondered whether a “lifetime achievement award” meant that it was time to “get off the stage you’re done. My hope is that’s not the case. That they’re saying congratulations so far.”
Here’s Freeman’s full acceptance speech at the 2018 SAG Awards: