SAG Awards: 10 Things You Should Know

11:09 AM PST 01/30/2011 by Bryan Alexander, Emily Rome
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With the Screen Actors Guild Awards finally upon us Sunday night, here's a cheat sheet of everything you should know.

1. With the triumph of The King's Speech over The Social Network in the PGA Awards and in Saturday night's DGA Awards, the SAGS will play a key role in determining the Oscar fight, notes THR's Tim Appelo. Sunday night's show could be a game-changing kingmaker as the race moves into the final stretch.

Both The King's Speech and The Social Network are nominated for the key award: outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.

2. Never call the awards the SAGs, especially in front of organizers. They strongly prefer, nay insist, on SAG Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards or The Actors. Please!

3. For eight years, since the 2002 SAG Awards, a single actor provided the opening speech for the ceremony with a story from his or her career. Angela Lansbury was the first. In 2003, SAG started the tradition of having a group of six to eight actors team up for the opener, telling their stories from their seats. The lines are always good for a laugh, but perhaps not as much as Steve Carell's intro during the 2009 awards. "U.S. Airways pilot Charles Sullenberger executed a perfect emergency landing into the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 on board. It is a good thing that I was not behind the controls of the plane, because I'm Steve Carell and I'm an actor."

The actors draft their own stories and SAG Awards writer Stephen Pouliot reviews them and- where necessary- suggests cuts for time.

4. Due to the number of ensemble awards during the evening, look for flocks of actors to head to the adjoining tent of the Shrine Exhibition Center for the after-party. Some stop by and then move onto two other outside parties being thrown. But others nab banquettes and swill champagne into the evening en masse. Last year's standout Glee were the stars of last year's party, all giddy after their big win.

The afterparty also features some surprises: Britney Spears and Kevin Federline showed up in 2006. Random.

5. The SAG Award statuette, known as The Actor, holds the masks of tragedy and comedy and is cast in solid bronze at the American Fine Arts Foundry in Burbank. Standing 16 inches tall and weighing in at 12 pounds, it's three and a half pounds heavier than the Oscar statuette. About 40 hours of labor are put into creating all of The Actors for the show.

6. Looking for the cast of Mad Men? You might check out the adjoining smoking lounge at the Shrine where many slip out during the show for a cocktail and a smoke.

7. Able to say he is the owner of more of those statuettes than any other male actor, ER star Anthony Edwards has won six SAG Awards, all for the '90s medical drama. Two were for a male actor in a drama series and four were shared with fellow cast members for an ensemble in a drama series. The claim to most individual wins is held by Alec Baldwin, who has won four times for 30 Rock. Baldwin is nominated once again this year.

8. ER also dominates for most wins by a female actress. SAG awarded Julianna Marguiles last year for The Good Wife, but her six other wins are for ER, four of which were for the ensemble. She is nominated again this year for The Good Wife.

9. The long-time location of the SAG Awards, the Shrine Auditorium, is the largest proscenium-style stage in North America and seats 6,300. At the 5th Annual SAG Awards in 1999, the post-awards gala saw the stage turned into a festive lounge scene, with swing dancing music provided by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. This year, production designers John Shaffner and Joe Stewart have designed their eighth new set for the awards. The decor includes an ornate gold leaf-framed screen and a custom-made crystal chandelier.

10. The television network with the most nominations this year is HBO, with ten. The King's Speech and The Fighter are tied for most noms for a film, each going into Sunday night with four nominations.

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