Awards season is just around the corner and in February one of the most exciting events will take place in Santa Monica for the first time since 1996.

The upcoming 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be hosted in the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport on Feb. 27, 2022. The last time the SAG Awards were in town was for their second-ever ceremony, which took place at the Civic Auditorium.

While the show has been hosted at the Shrine Expo Hall for the last several years, the hall had already been booked for the date of the 2022 SAG awards, leading the organization to examine other venues, according to SAG Awards Executive Producer, Jon Brockett.

The Barker Hangar was selected because of the site’s customizability, size and amenability to COVID safety measures.

“Barker Hangar is great because it’s a big blank canvas where we can create any vision we can come up with. It also has plenty of space to accommodate our needs from the red carpet, to the showroom and post-awards gala,” said Brockett. “The Barker offers us an open air space where we are able to bring everything together in one place and have a new and exciting cohesive design for the SAG Awards.”

The Barker Hangar has a long and storied history in Santa Monica, having served as an event space for the Critics Choice Awards, NBA Awards, MTV Movie Awards as well as many concerts, galas, trade shows, art shows and sporting events.

It was built in 1954 to serve as an aviation manufacturing site and acquired by the Barker family in 1969. Current owner Judi Barker took over the hangar from her father in 1986 and transitioned it to primarily an event space as restrictions on aviation activities tightened.

According to Barker, the SAG Awards will be the first show with an audience to take place at the Barker Hangar since the pandemic began. The People’s Choice awards were pre-filmed at the hangar this year and will air on Dec. 7.

“I love awards shows. They are so much fun … and the SAG Awards are a very different awards show from the other ones that we’ve done,” said Barker. I can’t wait to see the production side of it and what they’re going to do with staging. This is a big one and I’m mostly excited to bring it back to Santa Monica.”

The SAG Awards are presented by SAG-AFTRA in the only televised awards ceremony that exclusively honors performers. Awards are given for both individual and ensemble performances in television and film.

The upcoming ceremony will start at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27 and simultaneously air for two hours on TNT and TBS. Last year’s show took place in a one-hour pre-filmed format due to the pandemic.

“Bringing the show back live in-person, the way it’s meant to be experienced, is something we are all so excited for!” said Brockett. “The SAG Awards has always been about this incredible sense of family that these actors have with each other and when they are all in the same room together, you can feel it. It’s palpable.”

The hangar is particularly well suited to producing events in the COVID era, because there is no fixed seating or stage, allowing the layout to be customized with any type of spacing in mind. The vaulted ceiling rises to 43 feet at the center while the large hangar doors open up to 30 feet, allowing for great air circulation within the venue.

“The health and safety of our nominees, guests, staff and crew are our number one priority,” said Brockett. “We’ll be working closely with COVID experts on doing an event of this scale to ensure everyone is safe and we are in compliance with local government and guilds’ safety protocols.”

Clara@smdp.com