I’m Kate Ward, and I’m not an actor – though I would love to be, if only to get the opportunity to stroke Jon Hamm’s luxurious beard. (Mmm.) After an unusually somber and sober Golden Globes ceremony last Sunday, things were decidedly cheerier at Saturday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. In fact, our actors were so happy to receive their awards, the show began running too long: Near the end of the program, during the commercial break, winners were asked to limit their acceptance speeches to 45 seconds. (Not that they listened – I’m looking at you Jeff Bridges.)
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet: With no host, the show began with an introduction that featured some great lines from a motley crew of actors. (The best in that introduction goes to Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin: “Wow, my IMDB star meter is up eight percent in popularity this week. I’m Jeff Garlin, and I’m an actor.”) And then, just as quickly as you can say “Justin Timberlake’s denim-blue shirt,” it was onto the awards! In the spirit of the season, I thought I would present my own awards, based on the show. (And some behind-the-scenes info from EW’s John Young, who was backstage during the ceremony.) So, without further ado, here are my awards for the night! (And look here for a complete list of winners – we’re just touching on the show’s highlights here.)
Funniest acceptance speech: Really, is it any contest? The funniest acceptance speech goes to lifetime achievement award winner Betty White, who still can rile up a room after 88 years. After buddy Sandra Bullock lightly teased White during her introduction (said Bullock: “She starred in four different television shows called The Betty White Show. Four. Most people would stop naming shows after themselves after the third one.”), White approached the podium and thanked her pal: “Isn’t it heartening to see how far a girl as plain as she is can go?” But she was just getting started: “I am still to this day starstruck. I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces. But what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few. Maybe had a couple.” (Props to George Clooney, who, while presenting best performance by a cast in a motion picture, told the audience: “I think it was 1987, I did an episode of The Golden Girls, and I would like to thank Betty White for her discretion.”) And you have to respect White, if only for that high-slit dress. Backstage, she told reporters, “You got to use everything you possibly can!”
Most touching acceptance speech: Sandra Bullock is really turning out to be the darling of the awards season. Just check out the speech she delivered after winning her best actress award for her work in The Blind Side: “So proud to say that in a room full of faces that have inspired me, and allowed me six years ago to say I’m going to stop working, ‘cause I wasn’t doing good work, and audition again. And you say goodbye to the money, and you say goodbye to all the things that you became comfortable with…And to my husband, Jesse, who works so hard all day, and you get dressed up in monkey suits, and you sit at a table with people you don’t know. And I leave you there and then you come back with, like, Morgan Freeman’s email. I don’t know how you do it. I love you so much, and you’re really hot. And I want you so much.” Backstage, the actress could barely believe her win – she told reporters: “It’s a fluke. I feel that it’s wrong. I made a bet with the driver – my money was on Meryl.” And when another reporter told her she was now the frontrunner, she shushed him.
Most gracious acceptance speech: Goes to the cast of Inglorious Basterds, who essentially dedicated their entire best cast in a motion picture award to director Quentin Tarantino: “For every actor out there, we just want you to know that whether you are Brad Pitt, one of the biggest stars in the world, or someone who has never acted in a motion picture, your vote is a vote for director Quentin Tarantino, who, if he feels you are right for the part, he will give it to you. And, Quentin, your belief in us lets us rise to the occasion and brings out the best in all of us. It was an honor to be a part of this. We love you.” Backstage, B.J. Novak was the first person to step into the press room, and stood there alone with no other castmates in sight. “Well, this was not what you were hoping for!” he joked.
Most obvious acceptance speech: Christoph Waltz, accepted his award for best supporting actor by telling the crowd: “Thank you so much. A stage actor acts on a stage. But a screen actor doesn’t act on the screen. The stage actor just walks on by himself, but the screen actor is put on by projectionist.” Thank you, Captain Obvious! Then he veered off into strange, verbose territory: “Yet we dedicate our lives to our contribution of the whole, and yes in occasional fits of megalomania we consider ourselves worthy of a script like Inglourious Basterds, or a director like Quentin Tarantino, or men like Harvey Weinstein, or David Linde, or a studio like Weinstein or Universal…We work towards what can only be hoped for in utmost secrecy.” At least we now know who he is – backstage, when asked by reporters what he thought about his “name recognition going up 90 percent,” Waltz corrected him, “99.999 percent, if I may quote my line.”
Acceptance speech most likely to get me drunk: Drew Barrymore’s. That is, if I was playing a drinking game. You could have played it, too: Take a shot every time the winner of best actress in a TV movie/miniseries, says “Um”!
Requisite NBC shout-out: Goes to Tina Fey, who told the crowd during her acceptance speech for best actress in a comedy series: “I just wanted to take a moment to say to everyone at NBC, we are very happy with everything.” Backstage, Fey was reminded about her Golden Globes quote, when she said about the rain, “God was crying for NBC.” Now that it was sunny again, she said, “Things are looking up for NBC!” Also, she told reporters that she’s spoken to some friends who work at The Tonight Show, and they “were in good spirits [Friday] night.”
Most interesting clip reel: Betty White wins this one again! How great was it to watch a montage that didn’t just boast clips of the actor’s work, but an informative voiceover as well? Who knew she could sing so well?
Most unnecessary clip reel: Did anyone else feel the comedy clip reel felt out of place? And it was, admittedly, bizarre to see which films the editors decided to include in the reel: We got The House Bunny, but no Animal House? CORRECTION: (Oops! They did show Animal House. Thanks for the heads up, PopWatchers. But where was Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Or did I blink then too?)
Most touching clip reel: As we all know, 2009 was the year of celebrity deaths. So I was surprised to see that the “In Memoriam” reel only lasted four minutes. But I, for one, was definitely tearing up watching that final clip of Patrick Swayze, disappearing to heaven in Ghost. Ditto, PopWatchers?
Funniest cut-away shot: The gals of Nine giving nominee Penelope Cruz bunny ears backstage.
Strangest cut-away shot: Hung’s Thomas Jane, violently yelling something at the cameras. (I believe he was kidding. I hope.)
Gleekiest moment: Glee winning best comedy series!
Best public display of affection: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, after Bacon won the award for best actor in a TV movie/miniseries. Backstage, Bacon was asked about the secret to making his marriage last for 21 years. His answer? “Never look to an actor for the secret of longevity.”
Worst public display of affection: Woody Harrelson, who appeared to be making out with wife Laura Louie while presenters were announcing his nomination.
Most unprepared presenter: Felicity Huffman, who forgot her glasses and suddenly found herself playing arm candy to Alec Baldwin – instead of presenter. “You’re going to have to click up the type because I can’t see that,” she told the dude working the teleprompter.
Speediest nominee: Jeremy Renner, who somehow got back to his seat after presenting the clip for his movie in .00001 seconds. Okay, maybe it only seemed that way.
Least speedy nominee: I hope Mo’Nique brought along plenty of Binaca – girl kissed nearly every actor in the audience before accepting her award for best supporting actress. Though she picked up yet another statue, the actress told reporters she would be celebrating with a quiet night: “My husband is going to play some Madden, and I’m going to watch some television.”
Tell me, PopWatchers: What were your favorite moments from the telecast? Who gave the best speech? Worst speech? Who looked the best? Let me know in the comments below!