The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, held on Sunday, January 25, honored actor in film and television. The SAG Award is unique because actors are voted for by their peers, not some committee. It came as no surprise that top television honors went to the NBC comedy “30 Rock.” The NBC comedy has been receiving top honors for the past year.
“30 Rock” went on to win all of the television comedy awards. Tina Fey won for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series, her second SAG in this category. Alec Baldwin won for Best Male Actor. The show’s cast went on to win the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. These were major victories in light of how cable series have outshined network television.
In the dramatic television category, Hugh Laurie won for Best Male Actor for “House.” Sally Field won for Best Female Actor for her performance as the matriarch on the drama “Brothers and Sisters.” The top honor for drama series, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble went to the cable series “Mad Men.”
The television mini-series “John Adams” won both award for in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor and Female Actor. The honors went to Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.
In the film categories, the winners were spread out among a number of critically-acclaimed movies released this past year. “Slumdog Millionaire,” the small movie that has been gaining a lot of attention, took away the top honor for Outstanding Performance by a Cast of a Motion Picture at the SAG.
As expected, the late Heath Ledger won for Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his creep performance as The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” The SAG was accepted on his behalf by his costar Gary Oldman, who chocked up as he spoke of his fellow actor.
Kate Winslet won for Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her war-era drama “The Reader.” Unlike the Golden Globe Awards, where she swept the Female Actor category, everyone was surprised when Meryl Streep beat her for the SAG for Female Actor in a Leading Role for her performance in the movie “Doubt.” In her speech, Streep graciously acknowledged her fellow nominees as well as the actors who costarred with her in this movie.
Sean Penn won for Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “Milk.” He also delivered the “huh” moment of the night with his rambling, incoherent acceptance speech.
Of course, the highlight of the night was James Earl Jones receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was gracious and eloquent in his speech and praised the work of younger actors. It’s hard to believe that this man with such a recognizable voice once stuttered and even refused to speak. He deserved the honor just by virtue of his work in “Star Wars.”
Most of the honors received on January 25 offered few surprises, as many of the performers had already garnered a lot of praise. For more information about the SAG Awards, including its history, visit their official website at http://www.sagawards.org/.