So, if we go by the theory that the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes predict the Oscars, looks like the Academy Award acting categories are pretty much a lock.
At the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) and Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) won for best lead actor and actress, respectively; J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) took home the supporting prizes. While that foursome also swept the Golden Globes, the trophy for the biggest prize – best picture – remains unclear with a tight race between award season’s frontrunners: “Birdman” snagged the SAG Award for best ensemble, while “Boyhood” took the win at the Globes.
The SAG Awards – in which the winners are voted by fellow actors – also award television, even though the focus is clearly on movies. Still, Netflix had a big night, as “Orange is the New Black” won for best comedy ensemble (and Uzo Aduba won the supporting actress category). Kevin Spacey, a no-show, won for his creepy role on “House of Cards.” As usual, HBO landed some wins, including Mark Ruffalo for best actor in a miniseries for “The Normal Heart” and Frances McDormand as actress in a miniseries in “Olive Kitteridge.”
Here were some of the best and worst moments of the show.
Uzo Aduba has the best night of her life.
The “Orange is the New Black” star’s tearful excitement was contagious as she won for best supporting actress in a comedy; gave the speech when the show won best comedy; and shared a charming anecdote about getting her SAG card on “OITNB.” (She originally auditioned for the part of Poussey.)
Debbie Reynolds reminds us that famous moms can be embarrassing, too.
Reynolds won a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Reynolds took a moment to share that when Fisher got the part of Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” she warned her daughter about getting stuck with any weird hairdos that would haunt her for life. Oops. The best part was Fisher on stage, with a “Ugh, Mom, you’re so embarrassing” look on her face.
The powerful acceptance speech by Viola Davis.
Still maybe thinking of that New York Times column, a thrilled Viola Davis (the winner for lead actress in a TV drama) thanked “How to Get Away With Murder” creators and ABC executives for casting her in the wild role, and “for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”
Naomi Watts trips over Emma Stone’s dress.
This could have been mortifying as the cast of “Birdman” gathered on stage to accept the win for best ensemble, except that a) Watts seemed so excited b) She caught herself and c) Stone’s reaction was priceless.
A Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux sighting.
As is a SAG Award tradition, the show began with various audience members giving a brief, funny anecdote about how they got into acting. Aniston’s was just OK (“When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, all I ever wanted to be was Scarlett O’Hara. Oh well.”) but there was an added bonus: Her fiance, Justin Theroux, looking on adoringly in the background. We want those two crazy kids to make it!
Bryan Cranston is funny.
Let’s just take a moment to remember that Bryan Cranston is hilarious. “We’re here to honor inspiring work of fellow performers,” Cranston said at the top of the show. “Their talent and the important roles they got to play have the power to stop us in our tracks and make all actors think. … ‘God, I need a new agent.’ ”
Cute family shout-outs.
There’s nothing quite as boring as actors reeling off a bunch of names you haven’t heard. But Patricia Arquette managed to keep it entertaining by name-checking her famous siblings all in one breath (Rosanna-Richmond-Alexis-David) and J.K. Simmons thanked his wife for raising “above average” children.
“As the World Turns” becomes a running joke.
Accepting her award for “Still Alice,” Julianne Moore talked about how she was thrilled to be cast as twins on “As the World Turns” back in the day, but soon realized how boring it was to act with herself. The aging soap, naturally, turned into a running joke of the night. When the cast of “Birdman” got up on stage to accept the best ensemble prize, resident Hollywood weirdo Zach Galifianakis couldn’t help but grab the microphone to copy her intro: “When I was on ‘As the World Turns’ …”
Eddie Redmayne proves he’ll give a great speech at the Oscars.
Redmayne has some stiff competition in the best actor category, but with his expert speech skills (thanking his fellow nominees and dedicating his win to ALS victims), his portrayal of Stephen Hawking has a pretty great shot at the Oscar gold.
Julia Roberts makes the “lead actor in a drama category” all about her.
The A-lister ditched the prepared scripted banter introducing the lead actor nominees, and instead, gushed about her “Normal Heart” co-star Mark Ruffalo’s win for best actor in a miniseries. Ruffalo was absent from the ceremony, but still – unnecessary.
William H. Macy’s “losers” zinger falls totally flat.
The “Shameless” star (who won best actor in a comedy for a very dark role) started his acceptance speech off strong: “I’ve written so many great acceptance speeches that I never got to give. But not tonight!” he noted of his many nominations. “To my fellow nominees … yeah, forget it, you lost.” It could have been a great dig at all those speeches where the winner fawns over their fellow nominees – but the camera happened to catch one fellow nominee (an unamused Eric Stonestreet) in the audience at that second, and it just got awkward.
“Downton Abbey” wins best drama ensemble.
If voters are going to award something totally random, why not the last season of “Boardwalk Empire”?