Sam Elliott Calls '1883' SAG Awards Win 'the Most Meaningful Acknowledgement' of His Career

More than 50 years after he made his film debut, Sam Elliott is finally getting the awards attention that eluded him for so long. On Sunday night, he won his first Screen Actors Guild award thanks to his performance in the Paramount+ limited series 1883. Elliott, 78, earned the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series award for playing Shea Brennan in 1883, a prequel series to Paramount Network's Yellowstone.

Although Elliott had a prepared speech, he clearly didn't expect to win and joked about wasting half of his 43 seconds to speak as he pulled out a piece of paper to read from. "What can I say in 45 seconds, after just receiving the most meaningful acknowledgment of my 55-year career from a group of my peers?" Elliott began. "Many of whom I don't even know, or know only from afar as a fan who respects their work. Not time to say enough."

"But I can say thank you, and I can tell you that I'm honored and grateful to be in your company, whether in this audience or at home," he continued. "After seeing the work of my fellow nominees, I'm not sure I should be standing up here, but I'm sure I'll get over that."

Elliott told the actors in the crowd that he is "gonna treasure" this trophy because it comes directly from his colleagues and fellow members of SAG-AFTRA. "I'll treasure it as a constant reminder of 1883 and what a gift it was for all of us on both sides of the camera," he said, before sending a message to his 1883 co-stars. "There's a piece of this for all of you. Not only for who you are but your beautiful work that helped me find the way," he said. "I love you all for that." The actor also thanked 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan for his "brilliant script" and producer David Glasser. He ended his speech by thanking his wife, actress Katharine Ross, "my partner through thick and thin, and the mother of our beautiful daughter."

The night was special to Elliott for another reason. He reunited with Jeff Bridges, whom he worked with on the classic The Big Lebowski. "I'm sitting with Jeff at the table and I haven't seen Jeff in quite a time," Elliott told Entertainment Tonight. "I'm really happy to be with him."

Elliott began his acting career in the late 1960s and earned his first onscreen credits for episodes of The Felony Squad and Judd for the Defense in 1968. He has then gone on to become one of Hollywood's most beloved character actors. However, it was not until 2019 that he earned his first SAG nomination for his role in Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born remake. The film also earned Elliott his first Oscar nomination. Elliott, who married Ross in 1984, has over 100 credits to his name.