SAG Awards 2012: 'The Help' Dominates Film Honors, 'Boardwalk Empire' Tops TV
Motion picture casts and television ensembles were honored Sunday evening at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which took place at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium.
The Help was the big winner, taking home three awards for motion picture -- cast of a motion picture, female actor in a leading role (Viola Davis) and female actor in a supporting role (Octavia Spencer). The Artist and Beginners were the other film honorees. The Descendants went home empty-handed.
HBO's Boardwalk Empire topped the television side with two honors, while ABC's Modern Family took home ensemble in a comedy series. American Horror Story, 30 Rock, Too Big to Fail and Mildred Pierce were the other shows represented on awards night; five winners repeated from last year.
The first award, male actor in a supporting role for motion picture, went to veteran actor Christopher Plummer of Beginners, marking his first-ever SAG honor. Plummer confessed, "I just can't tell you what fun I've had being a member of the world's second oldest profession. Actors are gregarious and wacky, are they not? And I love them dearly."
The Help's Spencer continued her winning streak, taking home female actor in a supporting role for motion picture.
On the television side, 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin was the recipient of the male actor in a comedy series award, winning over The Office's Steve Carell and taking home his sixth award in a row. Female actor in a comedy series went to Betty White, a recipient of SAG's Life Achievemnt Award, of Hot in Cleveland, who received a standing ovation; she won the award last year for the same role. "I think they made a terrible mistake," White said onstage.
Ensemble in a comedy series went to Modern Family, marking the ABC comedy's second consecutive SAG honor. The kids on the show took part in the acceptance speech. Citing W.C. Field's advice never to work with children or animals, 13-year-old Nolan Gould started to say, "Well, he can kiss my ..." when the rest of the cast rushed in to shut him up.
Female actor in a TV movie or mini went to Kate Winslet, who was not present to accept her award, for her part in MIldred Pierce. She had also won an Emmy and Golden Globe. Too Big to Fail's Paul Giamatti took home the honor for male actor in a TV movie or mini, but like Winslet was not present, "so I'll keep the award," joked presenter Armie Hammer.
Female actor in a drama series went to American Horror Story's Jessica Lange, beating out the likes of Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick. It marked her first SAG Award. She admitted that accepting the role was "a leap of faith," but continued, "It's great to play such a big character with so much to do."
Male actor in a drama series went to Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi, who took home the award last year. Addressing the season ender's shocking death on the HBO series, Buscemi exclaimed: "To all the Michael Pitt fans, I know, I'm sorry!"
Boardwalk Empire took home its second consecutive award for ensemble in a drama series. Buscemi, serving as their spokesman, could only add, "We are so honored. We love doing this show."
The award for male actor in a leading role in motion picture went to French actor Jean Dujardin of The Artist, topping George Clooney, Demian Bichir, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. When Dujardin took the stage to accept his award, he was overcome with emotion, taking a few beats to collect himself.
"I was a very bad student, I didn’t listen in class, I was always dreaming," he said, before saying, "Thank you for this dream," and then he concluded with both a final thank you and a merci beaucoup.
Davis, who received a standing ovation, snagged female actor in a leading role in motion picture for her part in The Help. Onstage, she took a moment to acknowledge the inspiring women on the big screen, including nominee Meryl Streep and The Help co-star Cicely Tyson.
Pitt presented the ensemble of The Help with the final award of the night, cast of a motion picture, bringing the total haul of the big-screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's popular book to three.
In accepting on behalf of the ensemble, Davis said, "All these actors on this stage gave up their ego and were able to just work, and it’s been such a joy to be part of this cast." Addressing the movie's themes about racism and sexism, she also observed, "The stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color and women. It's all of our burden, all of us," and she continued, "All of us can inspire change, every single one of us."
Prior to the telecast, the category of outstanding performance by a stunt ensembles in a motion picture and TV were handed to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and HBO's Game of Thrones, respectively.
Overall, it was a strong showing for pay cabler HBO, which easily dominated the night with five total wins. TV Land, ABC, NBC and FX all took home one.
Halfway through the telecast, SAG president Ken Howard announced the public kickoff of to merge SAG and AFTRA, also introducing AFTRA head Roberta Reardon. "That historic moment of unity is at hand," he said.
A highlight of the night included Bridesmaids presenters Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph, who suggested a drinking game: Whenever Martin Scorsese's name came up in conversation, take a drink. Later in the show, Buscemi took part in the running joke, joking that he'd like to thank Boardwalk executive producer Scorsese.
Receiving nearly a minute-long standing ovation, Mary Tyler Moore was the honoree of SAG's 48th Life Achievement Award, presented by Dick Van Dyke.
The SAG Awards were broadcast live coast-to-coast on TNT and TBS from 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST in the Shrine Auditorium. Berenice Bejo, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, George Clooney, Viola Davis and Brad Pitt are among the presenters.
The full list of awards, in the order they were handed out:
Male actor in a supporting role -- Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Female actor in a supporting role -- Octavia Spencer, The Help
Male actor in a comedy series -- Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Female actor in a comedy series -- Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Ensemble in a comedy series -- Modern Family
Female actor in a TV movie or mini -- Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Male actor in a TV movie or mini -- Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
Life achievement -- Mary Tyler Moore
Female actor in a drama series -- Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Male actor in a drama series -- Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Ensemble in a drama series -- Boardwalk Empire
Male actor in a leading role -- Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Female actor in a leading role -- Viola Davis, The Help
Cast of a motion picture -- The Help