Best in show: What looks were winning at the SAG and Image Awards?

With two Hollywood awards ceremonies in one weekend, there were plenty of looks to love—so who understood the assignment?

One weekend, two major Hollywood red carpets and dozens of stunning looks. Our stars were out to play this weekend at Saturday night’s NAACP Image Awards and Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with a few doubling down on major glamour for the weekend (we’re looking at you, Kerry Washington and Jennifer Hudson). There were hits, there were risks, and there were trends—and of course, we were here for all of it.

(l-r) Cynthia Erivo, Kerry Washington, and Ariana DeBose at the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were perhaps the closest return to a pre-pandemic awards show we’ve seen in the past few years; an old-school Hollywood turnout largely devoid of masks or social distancing, which understandably prompted mixed feelings, since COVID is still very much a reality. Nevertheless, nominees and presenters were clearly ready to show out in their Sunday best, and some clear themes emerged, as a result,

Color Stories

(l-r) Ariana DeBose, Kerry Washington, Cynthia Erivo
Photos: Getty Images

It’s a well-known fact that brown skin carries vibrant color better than most, and a series of actresses put that color theory to the test on Sunday night. Everything was coming up roses for Best Supporting Actress winner Ariana DeBose in a strapless fuchsia gown by Valentino Haute Couture that gave serious actress in the front and party in the back. Presenter Kerry Washington pumped up the volume in a citron strapless ballgown by Celia Kritharioti Couture. And nominee Cynthia Erivo went full-on bombshell in a Jessica Rabbit-worthy strapless red patent leather gown by Louis Vuitton, topped with a matching faux fur capelet.

(l-r) Karen Pittman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Saniyya Sidney
Photos: Getty Images

The bold hues continued with The Morning Show‘s Karen Pittman, who donned a canary yellow ballgown by Greta Constantine. Actress and E! host Yvette Nicole Brown let the scarlet color of her simple silhouette by Betsy & Adam do the talking. And King Richard ingenue Saniyya Sydney fully embraced her Cinderella moment in a cerulean chiffon gown by Zuhair Murad.

Dark Matter

(l-r) Rosario Dawson, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Laverne Cox
Photos: Getty Images

We’re always rooting for everyone Black, and black—and its close friend navy—was the choice for several stars on the SAGs red carpet. Rosario Dawson kept it classic yet playful in a strapless gown with pouffed bodice by Oscar de la Renta. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were a united front, Jada’s already-owned vintage black and navy ballgown by Gareth Pugh chosen to coordinate “beautifully” with Will’s navy suit, as she told E! host Laverne Cox on the red carpet. Cox also went dark for the night, the actress donning a black tiered and feathered gown with a sheer silver-beaded bodice by Michael Fausto.

Living on the Edge

(l-r) Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Aunjanue Ellis, Demi Singleton
Photos: Getty Images

A red carpet is always a ripe opportunity to take a fashion risk, and several stars took an edgier approach to awards show dressing on Sunday night. Among them were Hacks star Carl Clemons-Hopkins, who gave non-binary dressing punk-rock layers in Weisheng Paris, topped with a leather biker cap. King Richard matriarch Aunjanue Ellis leaned into the drama in a strong-shouldered beaded dress by Daniel Del Core with a thigh-high slit, while her castmate Demi Singleton was a playful punk princess in a bubble-skirted hi-low dress by Celine, paired with sheer anklets and strappy sandals.

Keeping it Light

(l-r) Amanda Brugel, Jennifer Hudson, Venus Williams, Juliana Canfield
Photos: Getty Images

As many of the leading lights of Hollywood assembled on Sunday night, it stood to reason that many stars chose luminous looks for the occasion. They included The Handmaid’s Tale ensemble member Amanda Brugel, who went with a goddess-like look in Antonio Grimaldi, while nominee Jennifer Hudson gave us classic Hollywood glamour in a pale pink gown by Vera Wang. An undisputed style star of the night, Venus Williams came to represent in a custom asymmetrical white and silver gown by Dolce & Gabbana. And Succession actress Juliana Canfield kept it sweet and simple in a lavender gown by Versace.

Suited and Booted

(l-r) Daveed Diggs, Kid Cudi, Rob Morgan, Leslie Odom, Jr., Tyler Perry
Photos: Getty Images

Don’t let all the dresses fool you; there were plenty of men having fun with fashion at the SAGs on Sunday. Case in point? Presenter Daveed Diggs was as playful as ever in a silver brocade suit by Versace. Don’t Look Up‘s Kid Cudi added a pop of color and a head-to-toe homage to Virgil Abloh to his red-carpet look, wearing Air Jordan 1 x Off white ‘Chicago’ kicks with his embroidered Louis Vuitton tuxedo. Rob Morgan, also a star of Don’t Look Up, didn’t shy away from a pattern, opting for a bold one in his custom tux by Toure Designs. Leslie Odom Jr. had us seeing spots in an all-over polka-dotted ensemble by Balmain. And Don’t Look Up‘s Tyler Perry‘s suit simply said “money” as the entertainment mogul sported a forest green suit by Isaia.

Of course, the SAG Awards weren’t the only big night in Hollywood this past weekend; on Saturday, the NAACP Awards presented a hybrid ceremony, in which talent appeared in-studio, from home, and at various locations around Los Angeles.

The biggest story of the night was undoubtedly the in-studio appearance of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The appearance was a great style story, too, as both appropriately chose to wear Black designers for the evening; Harry in a custom tux by Ozwald Boateng and Meghan perfectly coordinated to the Image Awards set in a one-shouldered tonal blue gown by Christopher John Rogers.

As one of the weekend’s busiest bodies, Kerry Washington managed a double knockout, starting off the weekend in a salmon-colored chiffon gown by Zuhair Murad—but great minds clearly think alike. Meagan Good was also a standout at the awards in an almost identical hue and similar silhouette, making this a trend worth watching.

Issa Rae may have been late to Saturday night’s party, but she clearly came to party. The ever-playful star was matched in energy by her shocking pink, strapless high-low gown by Monsoori—and much like Ariana DeBose‘s similarly hued SAG gown, there was even more to love in the back, courtesy of an extravagant train.

Jennifer Hudson was the big winner of the Image Awards, scoring both Best Actress and Entertainment of the Year honors. Understanding the assignment, she brought the drama in corseted, black velvet by Christian Siriano, in a look deserving of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

A big night for Blackness deserves major looks, and the always-on trend Zendaya came through with not one, but two. Taking a casual stroll through the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Z was anything but, giving young Hollywood realness in a ’60s-inspired, silver-beaded ivory cocoon coat atop a silver-spangled minidress, both by Maison Valentino.

But she wasn’t done there. For Zendaya’s second Image Awards look, Maison Valentino Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing gave Z’s longtime “image architect” Law Roach access to the house’s archives. A style storyteller, Roach chose a red, black, and green mid-20th-century strapless ballgown that spoke volumes without saying a word.

It was a lot to take in—but with the Grammys, Academy Awards, and Met Gala still on deck, there are plenty more fashion moments to come. We’ll be there, so stay tuned!

Maiysha Kai is Lifestyle Editor of theGrio, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in fashion and entertainment, a love of great books and aesthetics, and the indomitable brilliance of Black culture. She is also a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and editor of the YA anthology Body (Words of Change series).

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!