Screen Actors Guild Awards 2012 Live-Blog

01.29.12 6 years ago 45 Comments

Matt Sayles/AP

I’m always of two minds regarding the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
On one hand, they reliably do stupid things like not having “supporting” categories for TV, ignoring “Homeland” completely and nominating “The Artist” — essentially a two-hander — for an “ensemble” acting award (while leaving Uggie out of the ensemble list).
On the other hand, they’re a major (allegedly) award ceremony that only runs two hours (and always finishes on time) and when the winners say “I’d like to thank my fellow actors,” it can’t help but sound more sincere than “I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press.”
Click through for my full live-blog of the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award.
7:58 p.m. ET. The show hasn’t actually begun, but we already have our first two winners: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” and “Game of Thrones” won for stunt ensemble. Mazel tov!
8:01 p.m. That E! red carpet telecast was excruciating, wasn’t it? I’ve never missed Ryan Seacrest more.
8:02 p.m. BETTY WHITE!
8:02 p.m. Jon Cryer is the first of tonight’s “And I’m an actor…” introducers. He’s followed by Damian Bechir, who has the whole television audience waiting to find out who he is. Then he confuses everybody by revealing his identity only in Spanish. Well-played, Nancy Botwin’s ex-husband. Well-played. Amber Riley and Jim Parsons are also actors.
8:04 p.m. Rose Byrne closes the “I’m an actor” opening and we kick to the night’s first presenter, the lovely Michelle Williams, who’s threatening to blend into the orange backdrop. The camera has to push in on her to keep her from vanishing. She’s presenting Male Actor in a Supporting Role, or whatever the SAG Awards call this category. This category is in the bag, because if there’s anything SAG voters love, it’s old actors. The winner is… Christopher Plummer. Duh. They’ll give Betty White seven or eight trophies tonight if they have the chance, because she’s even older than Christopher Plummer. “I just can’t tell you what fun I’ve had being a member of the world’s second-oldest profession,” says the truly awesome Christopher Plummer. Once again, Plummer thanks Cosmo the Dog, plus Ewan McGregor the Not-Dog. 
8:05 p.m. It’s George Clooney and The Girl From “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Yes, I know she’s really Shailene Woodley. Geez. No need to correct me. Anyway, they’re presenting a clip package from “The Descendants.”
8:10 p.m. We’re whizzing along here. No time for commercials. Don Cheadle is presenting Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role. This is a challenging category for the SAG voters, because none of the actors are old, even by Hollywood “old” standards. Our winner… Octavia Spencer. I love Josh Hopkins of “Cougar Town” as her friend-date and I also love Emma Stone’s cup-mouthed hooting for her co-star. Spencer calls it a real privilege to work on a film that gave voice to so many people who made it possible for her to be here. “By honoring me, you honor them,” she says. Spencer also thanks the late Medgar Evers and his family. After nearly dropping her award, she closes by saying, “I’m gonna dedicate this to the downtrodden, the underserved, the underprivileged, over-taxed — whether emotionally, physically or financially — thank you so much.”
8:17 p.m. Ack. Go away, “Ringer” promo. Is that national, or just LA local? Either way, what the heck does it have to do with the show I’m watching?
8:20 p.m. Julianna Margulies and Bryan Cranston have to begin with clumsy banter about being married to a comedy actor before kicking to Outstanding Performance By a Male Actor [We Don’t Distinguish Between Lead and Supporting] in a TV Comedy. The clips are almost all people screaming. That’s what SAG voters thinks is funny. The winner is… Alec Baldwin for “30 Rock.” This is his sixth straight win for Baldwin. And it means that Steve Carell’s award-haul for his final season on “The Office” was… Zero. Baldwin says “Oh my God!” a lot. Then he transitions immediately to thanking the “30 Rock” writers. 
8:24 p.m. Kyle Chandler and Regina King begin by proving that there’s no one single way to become a comedy lead actress. Apparently Edie Falco dressed as Cookie Monster. And Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen studied things. The winner for Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor [We Don’t Distinguish Between Lead and Supporting] in a TV Comedy is… Betty White. Good God, y’all. Kyle Chandler goes down into the audience to help her. “I don’t think they can read. I think they made a terrible mistake. You can’t name me without naming those other wonderful women of ‘Hot in Cleveland,'” Betty says graciously. “I’m not going to let them keep this, but I’ll let them see it,” she says. I badly want to be a fly on the wall at Tina Fey’s table to hear her response to Betty White’s dominance when the camera isn’t watching.
8:30 p.m. Jessica Chastain introduces a clip package of local actors. Naturally, it ends with Las Vegas native… MIKE TYSON? I’m really confused by that. Also, a little offended. 
8:32 p.m. Let’s get rid of those pesky TV comedy awards with Comedy Ensemble. The winner is… “Modern Family.” Duh-doy. This is a rare chance for them to all go up on stage without having that pesky Steve Levitan to steal the spotlight with his writerly cleverness. Nolan Gould gets a big laugh with a W.C. Fields joke (about not working with kids or animals), followed by Rico Rodriguez and more Nolan Gould hilarity. Ariel Winter says the cast takes getting to make America laugh every week very seriously. “Thank you to the unions for making sure we’re properly fed, have all our shots, cleaned and are put in our pens each night by sundown,” Nolan Gould closes. In the audience, Steven Levitan claps for himself.
8:42 p.m. Outstanding Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries time. This category is tough. On one hand, you have an Old-Off between Betty White and Maggie Smith, but you also a MOVIE STAR in Kate Winslet. How to choose? The winner is… Kate Winslet. She was unable to attend, so the award goes to Betty White, right? 

8:46 p.m. Clip package from “The Help,” which successfully ended racism in America.

8:47 p.m. Armie Hammer and Zoe Saldana are presenting Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries. I’m not sure why. Seriously, under what circumstances was Paul Giamatti nominated for an award here for his five minute role in “Too Big To Fail”? The winner? Paul Giamatti. Sigh. Seriously? He’s not there. Armie Hammer says he’s going to keep the award. Hammer was almost in “Too Big To Fail” for as long as Giamatti was. [Yes. I know. He wasn’t in “Too Big to Fail.]

8:52 p.m. The White Shadow — Mr. Ken Howard — gets to talk a bit about SAG. He’s here to talk about how SAG appreciates the other guilds and unions. But, more importantly, tonight he’s here to talk about the pending partnership between SAG and AFTRA. He recognizes Roberta Reardon in the audience. He makes a weird and tawdry reference to how much time he’s spent with Reardon, “none of it was in bed.” He says that they have a plan for a single union to give members “maximum strength.” This weekend, the boards have endorsed a plan for the merger of SAG and AFTRA. People in the audience are excited, but maybe not as excited as you might expect. Anyway, next year we may get the 1st Annual SAG-AFTRA Awards.

8:58 p.m. Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy take the stage to introduce their “Bridesmaids” drinking game. “You have to take a drink every time, and I mean every time, you hear the word ‘Scorsese,” Rudolph says. “You’d be surprised how much that word comes up just in casual conversation,” McCarthy says. They introduce “Bridesmaids” and then Wiig and Rudolph start randomly saying “Scorsese” and McCarthy starts drinking. It’s a little funny. But not a lot funny. 

9:00 p.m. It’s time for some Lifetime Achievement, as Dick Van Dyke gets a standing ovation. “I’m just a presenter,” he laughs. “Hi, everybody. I’m what’s left of Dick Van Dyke,” he cracks, before beginning his introduction to Mary Tyler Moore. It’s a sincere and heart-felt introduction, leading into a clip package.

9:07 p.m. That was a very sweet clip package, narrated by Dick Van Dyke. And now a standing ovation for Mary Tyler Moore herself. Is anybody else wondering how Moore didn’t have a SAG Lifetime Achievement Award already? Because I am. She begins by explaining how she came to have her three-part name. It turns out there were six other Mary Moores in the Guild. Well OK.

9:11 p.m. Wait. Was Mary Tyler Moore done? Or was she just taking a long pause? I’m confused…

9:16 p.m. So I’m really glad we had to cut Mary Tyler Moore off for that 5-minute commercial break. That captures the true spirit of the Screen Actors Guild. Ugh.

9:16 p.m. Ed Helms and Judy Greer introduce Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series. It’s here that I remind you that Claire Danes wasn’t even NOMINATED in this category. That’s a travesty. It’s kinda hard to take this entire category seriously as a result. The winner is… Jessica Lange. And it just got even harder to take this category seriously. Good God. “This is such a pleasure coming from the actors,” Jessica Lange says. 

9:22 p.m. “The Artist” clip.

9:22 p.m. It’s time for the Patrick J. Adams Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Tina Fey and John Krasinski introduce amusingly. The winner is… Steve Buscemi. Really? Again? Over Bryan Cranston and Kyle Chandler? Buscemi at least gets a laugh by beginning his “Thank yous” by mentioning Martin Scorsese. Tina Fey drinks enthusiastically.

9:26 p.m. Buscemi decides to spoil ALL of the deaths in the second season of “Boardwalk Empire.” He ends with [Spoiler warning…] “To all the Michael Pitt fans out there, I know. I’m sorry.”

9:27 p.m. Meryl Streep introduces the SAG Necrology. Just clips. No wailing singers in the foreground. And, for the most part, no audible applause for most of the actors. The montage closes nicely with Elizabeth Taylor blowing a kiss and saying “Bye now.”

9:35 p.m. Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman have a show that’s premiere on TNT later this year. So much for the SAG Awards no doing that icky cross-promotional things other award shows do. I guess it’s better that TNT got the “Dallas” stars to do the Drama Ensemble presentation than the “Perception” cast.  The winner is… “Boardwalk Empire,” for the second straight year. Hopefully they’ll all thank Martin Scorsese. Steve Buscemi gives lifties to all of the young stars. “I’ve got nothing… Martin Scorsese,” Buscemi says.

9:40 p.m. I swear that they’re running out of time on this show, so they’re rushing frantically. But first? Kathy Bates and Owen Wilson have to present clips from “Midnight in Paris.”

9:41 p.m. Yup. Rushing along. Surely there was supposed to be a commercial break before Natalie Portman presenting Male Actor in a Leading Role? It’s pretty much Clooney vs. Dujardin, right? The winner is… Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” Little known fact: Jean Dujardin is French for “Roberto Benigni.” He emulates Alec Baldwin by repeating “Oh my God” several times.

9:51 p.m. Ben Kingsley is up now. Is he presenting a clip from “Hugo”? No. Because SAG didn’t nominate “Hugo.” He’s actually a fill-in for Colin Firth, presenting Female Actress in a Leading Role. The winner is… Viola Davis. This is pretty clearly her year. And who the heck is gonna quibble? Even Meryl Streep is overjoyed for her. Jessica Chastain is crying. The crowd freakin’ stands. That says a TON about the respect that her fellow actors have for Davis. Awww. Davis begins by thanking Cicely Tyson and then moves on to thanking Meryl Streep. I get a little sniffly as Davis says, “What is there but a dream? You can’t trade in your dream for another dream.”

9:56 p.m. And the Drama Ensemble goes to… “The Help.” Now you’d think I’d quibble here, because I didn’t love “The Help.” But I have no quibble. “The Help” was a true ensemble featuring strong performances by… an ensemble. And since Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis already won individual awards, this makes sense. “The stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women. It’s all of our burden. All of us. And we absolutely, I don’t care how ordinary you may feel, we all of us can inspire change, every single one of us,” Viola Davis says. 

9:59 p.m. Poor Brad Pitt has the responsibility of rushing through the send-off. And somewhere a producer will have to look over the first hour of this show to figure out how things got so horribly over-time and everything had to be so crazed in in the end…

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