Robert De Niro called out the "dire" political climate of the US as he accepted a Life Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards on Sunday (19.01.20).

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

The 76-year-old actor is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and used his time on stage at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium to hit out at the "abuse of power" being demonstrated and vowed not to stay silent.

He said: "There's right and there's wrong, there's common sense and there's abuse of power.

"As a citizen, I have the right to voice my opinion.

"If I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I am going to use it whenever I see a blatant misuse of power...That's all I'm going to say about that tonight."

Earlier in his speech, the 'Irishman' actor claimed he often "worried" about getting another job.

He said: "As actors, we don't take victory laps. We're too worried about what our next job is going to be."

He went on to tease an upcoming project he has with Leonardo DiCaprio - who presented him with the award - and frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese.

He quipped: "At least I know I've got another year of health insurance."

The legendary star went on to praise the "community of actors" he is a part of.

He said: "I've been puzzled over what to say to express my appreciation for this award tonight, but more than that, being a part of this community of actors, for being able to have a career with dignity, and creative fulfillment.

"We, as actors, don't do it all alone. We can't do it all alone. We depend on each other for collaboration in our work and support and fellowship both onscreen and off, and for that, I am so grateful."

Leonardo had welcomed De Niro - who he first worked with on 'This Boy's Life' in 1993 - to the stage after first introducing a highlights reel of the actor's work.

He said: "The role of an actor is to make us feel they take us to new places, using their skills to guide us towards a deeper understanding of humanity.

"For almost 50 years, Robert De Niro's performances have done exactly that.

"He has astounded us with his portrayals of heroes and villains, loaners and leaders, dreamers and sociopaths. His characters have echoed through our culture in iconic films."