When Morgan Freeman talks, everybody listens. At last night's (21 January) Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards there was an exception however, when someone decided to talk to a fellow guest as the legendary actor accepted his lifetime achievement award.

Not one to put up with such shenanigans, the Shawshank Redemption and Seven star promptly delivered a short and sharp rebuke to the erring guest, silencing him quickly before continuing the speech everyone else in the room was listening to intently.

"Hey ... I'm talking to you. Yeah, hey," Freeman said, before a reply not picked up on TV. "Okay, well you just stand out to me. That's all."

Moving on to his speech, he addressed the crowd with a wry joke: "These moments in one's life usually will call for an entire litany of thank yous. I can't do that because I don't know all of your names, so I won't try."

The 80-year-old opened his speech by saying: "This is beyond honour, this is a place in history."

He thanked his children, his partner, his agent and business partner, including actor Rita Moreno who presented him with the award just as he did for her in 2014. The pair have been friends for 50 years and first worked together in the 70s.

"Morgan is way more than just an actor, narrator, producer, humanitarian. This man is a national treasure," Moreno said. "Morgan likes to say that if you become a star, people are going to go see you. And if you remain an actor, they're going to go and see the story you're in."

Freeman is the 54th recipient of the SAG Life Achievement award. He previously won a SAG Award for his performance in Million Dollar Baby, in addition to his two Golden Globes and his Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

He was a latecomer to the entertainment business, breaking through in his 40s with supporting roles before receiving wide acclaim for The Shawshank Redemption, Street Smart and Driving Miss Daisy.

He went on to enjoy big roles in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Seven, Deep Impact, Bruce Almighty, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. More recently he has featured in comedies; Going in Style and Just Getting Started.