The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) gathered tonight for the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. These awards are given by actors to actors, and that is important as who knows better then those who actually perform the craft the performers who deserve to be honored.
Unlike many award shows, there is no host, and I have to say that while a great host can be a blessing to a show, I like the fact that this ceremony chooses to focus more on the nominees and winners. The show opened with several of the actors in attendance telling about how they got started on their chosen career path, and ended with “I am an actor.” That simple statement says so much. All of these people are dedicated to making us laugh and cry, making us feel joy and sorrow, and everything in between. They are the people who bring the characters to life, and they deserve the whole spotlight.
Speaking of the spotlight, one person was honored who definitely has experienced his share of time in the spotlight, spending over 70 years in the business. The 49th Annual Life Achievement Award was presented to Dick Van Dyke, and as a fan myself, I think he was a wonderful choice. The pre-recorded clips piece was wonderfully done, and he gave a very nice speech, saying to his fellow actors “Arent’s we lucky that we found a line of work that doesn’t require growing up.” (However, I have to say “bad form” to the official website for the awards, as apparently they posted a press release about the ceremony in advance of the event itself, in which it says that Carl Reiner presented the award, when in actuality, he was sick and unable to attend, as said by Van Dyke himself on stage. They could not have waited to release the statement, or they could not have edited it?)
Some of the winners were expected, while others came not just as a surprise to myself and other viewers, but also to the honorees themselves. There were no truly “big” winners, however the film “Lincoln” and the television show “30 Rock” each took two awards. It is often said of any award of this caliber that it is an honor to be nominated, and truly that was the case this year, with a strong field in every category.
One thing I learned from this award ceremony is that excellence for an individual performer does not always translate into an outstanding entire cast, and vice versa. Indeed, of the casts winning the awards for ensemble cast, none of them also took home an individual award (for that particular role). I do have one question for SAG-AFTRA, which is why there is not an award for the outstanding ensemble cast for a television movie or miniseries? It seems odd, given that there are individual awards for this subset.
In the film category, each of the films nominated for the ensemble cast award was introduced by cast members during the show. Personally, I think the best moment of the night was when Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway introduced “Les Misérables” and gave their “modern” description of the film. According to Jackman and Hathaway, “That’s the traditional description, but Anne and I also like to describe it in more 2013 movie terms. Wolverine is being chased by Gladiator. Catwoman gets knocked up and, uh, and for some ungodly reason goes to see Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter, and Borat. And Wolverine agrees to raise Catwoman’s baby, and she grows up to star in Mamma Mia!” (Note: each said different lines in this cute introduction.)
When SAG and AFTRA combined recently, this put all film, television, and radio performers under one umbrella, whether they be actors, dancers, singers, or radio/television personalities (including hosts and broadcasters). During the telecast, there was a nice tribute to all of the members of these two groups, and everything they do to enrich our lives. However, I do feel that they did one disservice during this year’s awards. They consider stunt performers part of their family, yet the awards for film and television stunt ensembles were not given as part of the telecast. I know it was only a 2-hour show, but I have to think that they could have cut a couple of minutes here and there, and come up with enough time to properly honor these performers on screen.
Overall, it was a nice ceremony, with just the right amount of comedy that did not seem strained. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners, and thank you to all the talented performers who enrich our lives through their craft.
Here is the complete list of winners:
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln – “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens – “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine – “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
ARGO (Warner Bros. Pictures)
BEN AFFLECK / Tony Mendez
ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel
KERRY BISHÉ / Kathy Stafford
KYLE CHANDLER / Hamilton Jordan
RORY COCHRANE / Lee Schatz
BRYAN CRANSTON / Jack O’Donnell
CHRISTOPHER DENHAM / Mark Lijek
TATE DONOVAN / Bob Anders
CLEA DuVALL / Cora Lijek
VICTOR GARBER / Ken Taylor
JOHN GOODMAN / John Chambers
SCOOT McNAIRY / Joe Stafford
CHRIS MESSINA / Malinov