The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards (2010).

As the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was lit up for another big dinner party, this one was called the SAG awards, everyone in the business was sighing in relief as their wasn’t any drizzle to dampen the red carpet.

As the 16th annual event kicked off, actors such as John Krazinski, Edie Falco, Jeff Garland, Sofia Vergara, Cory Monteith, Sheri Shepard, and Jeremy Irons started the evening with the traditional introductions of themselves with their name and “I am an actor.” Depending on the person, these introductions seem rather pseudo and self-congratulatory, but no one would disagree that the whole event feels that way. But let guilds be guilds right? (Clap, clap, clap…)

As the show began to roll it did the standard award show fare with introductions for each ensemble acting nominee (with the most surprising being still how great Nine looks in its trailer). Keeping a nice pace presenters gave the SAG statue for male actor in a comedy series to Alec Baldwin for NBC’s 30 Rock. Unsurprisingly, his partner in crime, Tina Fey, then took home the statuette for female actor in a comedy series for her role on 30 Rock where she thanked NBC, claiming her show was happy to be there.

Then in an obvious excuse to let their guests eat and drink a bit, the SAG guild put up a video of  the masters of comedy, the artistry of funny. Going on far too long, audiences must have been relieved and exuberant as the cast of Fox’s Glee scored the best comedy – ensemble acting award. Full of warmth and energy, the cast set a nice tone for the next couple of announcements.

Rightfully so, Christoph Waltz next took home the statuette for male actor in a supporting role for Inglorious Basterds. Once again, Waltz offered a circumvent speech comparing the stage and the screen actor and how they must use different spaces. He went on to say how actors dedicate their lives to the whole whole movie experience, yet overall was very humbling though convoluted until he got to the end and proclaimed he was indebted to all of his peers, including the projectionist.

Without a host, the awards kept rolling with outstanding female actor in a drama series going to Juliana Margulies for CBS’ The Good Wife. And as his presenters attempted a gag at drinking on stage. male actor in a drama series went to Michael C. Hall for Showtime’s Dexter cementing his first win at the SAG awards. Concluding the television section of the night was the win by AMC’s Mad Men for best ensemble cast in a drama series. Their second time winning, the cast and audience seemed please to reward such a quality show.

At the halfway point, as usual, the screen actor’s guild president, Ken Howard, address his flock of artists reminding them about the crisis in Haiti, the purpose of their guild, and the importance of the night of celebration for this year’s work. A nice segway into the presentation of  Life Achievement Award to Betty White. Her presentation was actually very education, inspiration, and historical as it allowed the audience and many at home to see how much Betty has influenced and how her media role has evolved. The warm connection between Sandra Bullock (who presented) and Betty was obviously more than a few crude jokes think, and it was great to see how humbled Betty was with her rightful recognition.

The recognitions would continue, although less gracefully, with Miss Drew Barrymore  stumbling through a speech while accepting the female actor in a television movie/mini-series for HBO’s Grey Gardens. Once again despite her inability to hold it together, Barrymore probably stole a couple of hearts with her genuine happiness. Like the Golden Globes, Kevin Bacon was awarded for his role in HBO’s  Taking Chance in the male actor in a television movie/mini-series category.

Now was the time for the inevitable In Memorandum section of the evening. Always a reflective point of award evenings, given so many deaths in 2009 Hollywood passings seem even more noticeable in the media these days. With the last spot given to Patrick Swayze, one can just hope that 2010 won’t see as much pain as 2009.

The final awards of the evening were the most anticipated film acting choices. As expected, female actor in a supporting role went to Mo’Nique for Precious with male actor in a leading role going to Jeff Bridges for his part in Crazy Heart. Even female actor in a leading role went to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, so no surprises here and probably none to expect on Oscar night.

Lastly, the cast of Inglorius Basterds all went home that night with statuettes for best ensemble. Thanking Quentin Tarantino, the cast was exuberant and, frankly, well deserving of the awards as it was truly an ensemble piece, with hardly anyone really being the main event. It ended the show on a positive note, although overall audiences would probably have more fun popping champagne and getting Morgan Freeman’s email than sitting at home. Just saying…

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