To the general public, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards lack the luster of the Golden Globes or the Oscars. But to the actors themselves, it's the real deal. The awards they win are given to them by their own peers -- other actors. No journalists, no directors, no writers. Just actors acknowledging their own as the best at what they do.
The SAG Awards are also looked upon by the industry as a foreshadow of the Oscars, since the majority of SAG voters are also Academy members.
Held last Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium, this year's SAG Awards mirrored many of the choices from last month's Golden Globes.
Jamie Foxx hit all the right notes when he accepted the Outstanding Actor award for his performance in the biopic "Ray."
Shouting "We have to do it for Ray!" he paced back and forth onstage leading the audience in a chorus of "Ohhs" and "Ah-h-hs" before exclaiming "Yeah, you're ready." He then went on to thank director Taylor Hackford and played to the room by re-creating his first meeting with Denzel Washington outside the club the Roxbury. He recounted how Washington had advised him once it began to look as if "Ray" might be on a winning trajectory, "Just keep doing what you're doing -- if you win or if you lose -- just keep walking in the same direction." Said Foxx, "I'm walking, D."
Adding another notch in her belt towards the 2005 Oscar showdown in the Best Actress category, Hilary Swank beat out Annette Bening again with her role in "Million Dollar Baby." That makes Swank 2 and Bening 1 in the road to the Oscars, though back in 2000, Swank lost the SAG Award to Annette Bening, but went on to win the Oscar.
Swank was gracious as she took the stage Saturday, though, saying, "...I also want to acknowledge my fellow nominees who inspire me to be a better actor."
Morgan Freeman, Swank's co-star in "Baby," took home the Outstanding Supporting Actor award. It was his first SAG win, though he had been nominated in 1995 for "The Shawshank Redemption."
Australian actress Cate Blanchett took home the Outstanding Supporting Actress award for her portrayal of the legendary Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator." During her speech, she opined, "I think the head, shoulders, knees and toes of this belong to Martin Scorsese, who led us all and gave us great courage."
To my delight, the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award, considered to be the SAG equivelent of Best Picture, went to the cast of "Sideways." While the entire cast took the stage, Sandra Oh, who played Stephanie, began with "Thank you so much. We've had such a great ride and this has been such a great experience to be here with all my fellow actors." She then went on to thank everyone from the film's director Alexander Payne, her husband, to the "naked man in the movie."
As with the Golden Globes, the SAG awards acknowledge thespians in television, as well.
Teri Hatcher added a Outstanding Actress in a Television Comedy Series SAG to the Globe she won last month for her role in the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives." The entire cast also took home the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series award.
Cast member Doug Savant took the microphone to poke fun at the show's surprise success by saying, "Good evening. We'd like to use this award to ring the death knell to reality television." The entire audience of actors roared with laughter.
Law & Order's Jerry Orbach, who passed away recently, posthumously took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. His wife accepted the award, saying "Thank all of you. God, if Jerry were here, he would be - he would be so articulate and so giving and loving, and receiving, all of you, for this beautiful award."
Others accepting awards included Jennifer Garner (Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series), Tony Shaloub (Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series), Geoffrey Rush (Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie/Mini-series), Glenn Close (Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Mini-series) and the cast of CSI (Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series award).
The event's Lifetime Achievment award was bestowed upon James Garner, who joked "I don’t know if I deserve this award, but, please, if, just for tonight, you’ll forgive me if I act like I do."
TNT, which aired the awards has already signed a contract to keep the show airing on its network for the next two years.
“TNT is the home of the SAG Awards and we are delighted that we will be able to stay home two more years,” said SAG president Melissa Gilbert. “The network has been a fantastic and supportive partner to the SAG Awards. They understand and help us celebrate the critical contributions that actors make to the moving image arts, and each year helps us bring that dynamic to a global audience.”
For quick viewing, here is the complete list of winners:
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jamie Foxx -- "RAY"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Hilary Swank -- "MILLION DOLLAR BABY"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Morgan Freeman -- "MILLION DOLLAR BABY"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett -- "THE AVIATOR"
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Thomas Haden Church
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Geoffrey Rush -- THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Glenn Close -- THE LION IN WINTER
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jerry Orbach -- LAW & ORDER
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Jennifer Garner -- ALIAS
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub -- MONK
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Teri Hatcher -- DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION --
Robert David Hall
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES --
Ricardo Antonio Chavira
Screen Actors Guild Awards 41st Annual Life Achievement Award