It was something of a déjà vu evening at the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday evening (January 23). Most winners were repeats from the prior weekend’s Golden Globe Awards , with both Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock again honored for their lead performances in “Crazy Heart” and “The Blind Side,” respectively.
Bullock, who at one point was considered a long shot for any major awards, seemed stunned when her name was called. Upon arriving at the microphone, she admitted to wishing the show wasn’t being aired live so she could express her surprise properly in words unfit for television.
Only the absence of “Avatar” in any of the categories kept the ceremony from completely forecasting how the Academy Awards might turn out in two months. While James Cameron’s box-office champ won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, the fact that it primarily features computer-generated characters made it unrecognized by the acting guild.
The SAG equivalent of a Best Picture prize, given to the best cast in a motion picture, went instead to “Inglourious Basterds.” Speaking for the ensemble of the Quentin Tarantino film, horror filmmaker-turned-actor Eli Roth acknowledged the varied origins of his co-stars, who were plucked from such places as Ireland, Germany, France, New Hampshire and, referring to himself, Fangoria conventions.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who has been a front-runner for the Oscar since “Inglourious Basterds” first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May, again won best supporting actor for that film. His performance as the film’s immediately iconic villain Hans Landa is now surely a shoo-in for the Academy Award.
Also expected to continue her success at the Oscars is Mo’Nique, who, like Waltz, followed up her recent Golden Globe win with a SAG Award for her supporting performance in “Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ By Sapphire.”
As for the guild’s television honors, Drew Barrymore (“Grey Gardens”) followed her Golden Globe win with a SAG Award for best actress in a TV movie or miniseries. Similarly, Kevin Bacon made a repeat win for best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for his performance in “Taking Chance.”
“30 Rock” stars Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey won awards for lead actor and lead actress in a comedy series, respectively, while new favorite “Glee” took home the prize for best ensemble performance. Fey was the sole SAG winner who had not been honored last weekend. Drama series awards went to Julianna Margulies, best actress for “The Good Wife”; Michael C. Hall, best actor for “Dexter”; and “Mad Men” for best ensemble.
Film and TV veteran Betty White, who appeared with Bullock in last year’s comedy hit “The Proposal,” was honored with the guild’s 46th annual lifetime achievement award. Bullock introduced her recent co-star, recognizing her unlikely success over 60 years in an industry that isn’t always kind to older actresses.
“Seventy-one years ago when I signed on to an experimental thing called television,” White said of her career, “I never would have expected it to culminate in an evening like this.”
Implying that it might be premature for her to receive the lifetime-achievement award, she added, “I was only 88 last weekend, so I’ve got a lot more to do.”
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