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January 26, 2009

Bird's eye view of SAG awards


Last night's "15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards" just made us realize, again, that the bird's eye view from the press room -- oh, sure it comes with a few chocolate chip cookies -- can be rather limiting.

So after the live show was over, we did what we often do these days. We went home and watched it on TV. Boy, the stuff we missed while we were jacking around with the settings on our iBook to get Internet access, trying to make heads or tails of Sean Penn's acceptance speech, and wondering just how good those "cheesy eggs" are on the "House" set.

And never mind sitting through the innumerable lame fashion queries from the assembled reporters, along with the long-winded pronouncements about the winner and his/her project. Was there a question in there? Anywhere? Those were the lowlights.

Some highlights:

84449762 Jane Krakowski nearly popped out of her gorgeous red dress during the preshow, and later, she cracked an anorexic "Ally McBeal" joke while accepting "30 Rock's" comedy ensemble trophy from a skeletal looking Claire Danes.

This was Sally Field's first SAG Award after six nominations and 45 years in the biz.

It was Penn's first SAG award after three noms ("Dead Man Walking," "Mystic River" and "I Am Sam").

It was Meryl Streep's second SAG award after 11 noms (the other win was for "Angels in America").

In a moment worthy of the ongoing SAG labor dispute, a montage clip of Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" had prescient words for the actors: "If you're good at something, never do it for free."

Say, did loose cannon Josh Brolin just reach over and pinch James Franco's arse? Sure looked that way. Maybe that's not an inappropriate onstage intro for "Milk."

"The dude playing the dude disguised as another dude" sounds even funnier when it's spoken by the proper British actress, Kristin Scott Thomas.

Number of standing ovations: 5 (Ledger's win for best supporting actor, Penn and Streep's wins, James Earl Jones' accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award -- where he gave shout outs to both the Book of Genesis and the late Paul Newman -- and the energized, pogo-ing cast of "Slumdog Millionaire").

For more details, including the full list of winners and THR video, go here. And for some background on the SAG civil war, which was largely set aside for last night's festivities, check this out.



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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