The most exciting win of the night, without a doubt, goes to Jean Dujardin, winning the Lead Actor prize over category favorite George Clooney. For a leading man that only a few months ago barely spoke a word of English, he did a great job charming the audience when accepting the honor. Looks like we have a very interesting race to the Kodak podium in this particular category!
Ditto for Viola Davis, accepting her Lead Actress award with an emotionally charged speech, paying tribute to her acting icons Cicely Tyson and fellow nominee Meryl Streep. Davis’ triumph also makes this category more interesting in the lead up to the Oscars next month.
It was a night of really beautiful, heartfelt speeches from some of the expected winners. Christopher Plummer thanked his wife for “saving his life,” and Octavia Spencer spoke from the heart as a one-time struggling actress. On the TV side, Alec Baldwin and Betty White were funny, poignant and humble when accepting their trophies.
The real highlight of the evening for me however wasn’t one of the winners, but the hilarious introduction to the “Bridesmaids” cast nomination – a hilarious “driking game” bit that saw Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy bring down the house.
Credit must also be given to the producers of the show and the wonderful “In Memoriam” segment presented half way through the show. It was really lovely revisiting the careers of many lesser-known journeyman character actors that many other awards shows would overlook.
Let me preface this by saying that “Boardwalk Empire” is a great show, deserving of many of the accolades it receives. But I couldn’t help but feel ripped off when Steve Buscemi was announced as a repeat winner of TV Drama Actor, along with the show’s cast repeating as winner of the Drama Ensemble prize. I would have much rather seen Kyle Chandler or Bryan Cranston win, or even a huge surprise win for the criminally underrated Patrick J. Adams, together with a win for the top-notch actors on “The Good Wife” or the sprawling international cast of “Game of Thrones.”
I still don’t understand some of the clip packages that we are forced to endure during each SAG Awards telecast. This year it was a uninspiringly random clip reel of SAG outposts all over the United States, showcasing various actors in various films. Can I get those minutes back, please?
And why can’t we see the Stunt Ensemble categories be presented? Announced prior to the show, they aren’t referred to at all during the show. Why bother even having them at all? For the record, the stunt men and women of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” and “Game of Thrones” won their respective categories.
Wake me up when it’s all over. All too often the SAG Awards play it safe, awarding the same old names that have won throughout awards season. It may be hard to argue that Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer, Alec Baldwin, Betty White, Steve Buscemi, Kate Winslet and the casts of “Modern Family” and “Boardwalk Empire” aren’t deserving of their awards, but seriously, would it kill the voters to think outside the square and throw us a few more surprises?
At least Jessica Lange‘s triumph over a category full of lawyers and a police officer gave us something a little different. I think, at the very least, that Alec Baldwin needs to retire from the category after six, count ’em, six consecutive wins. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
But, surely the most shocking win of the night goes to my pal Paul Giamatti. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A ten-minute performance where he barely bats an eyelid is not the stuff of which award-winning performances are made. I think Giamatti is one of the best actors working today, but this role was not one of his crowning achievements. And it seems that even he didn’t think he had a prayer, and maybe even agreed that he really didn’t belong in the catch-all TV Movie/Miniseries Actor category, as he was a no-show to accept the award. Did the SAG voters watch “Too Big to Fail”? Or was this a case of automatically checking off a name on the ballot?