Awards shows are generally pretty banal these days, and we must glom onto the one meme-able moment we can find. At last night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, Winona Ryder provided that moment and many more with a range of facial expressions that prove exactly why she chose the profession of actress.
At times elated, sad, scandalized, angry, uncertain and everything else in between, Ryder’s countenance probably shifted once every second during her Stranger Things co-star David Harbour’s stirring speech about the importance of acting as an art that can influence change. Possibly, this gamut of reactions stemmed from Ryder’s surprise–though why would she be as Hollywood has always been notoriously on blast about its liberalism?–that Harbour would use the stage as a platform to insist on the win for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series being “a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and through our heart battle against fear, self-centeredness, exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture. And through our craft, cultivate an empathetic and more understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired they are not alone.”
Whatever the reason for her array of mouth movements, eyebrow ups and downs and a random fist bump thrown in for good measure, only one thing is certain now in these uncertain times: Jim Varney’s Spanish poster of emotions to break down how to say and remember essential adjectives needs to be replaced with Ryder’s expressions. And yes, the posters exist in other languages too (see German one below), but it just so happens that the Spanish one is forever emblazoned in my mind because I grew up in California, and that’s the language we requisitely learned in junior high, where Varney’s faces made as indelible an impression as Ryder’s.