SAG Awards Winners React

Clockwise, from top left: Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Sofia Vergara, Ernest Borgnine and Julianna Margulies
Clockwise, from top left: Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Sofia Vergara, Ernest Borgnine and Julianna Margulies
 Getty Images

The stars of The King's Speech took home the top prize of the night, the best ensemble cast award. Backstage, Helena Bonham Carter had her second award show shoe mishap of the season, which she took in stride. As the actress took to the podium with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, she removed her impressive high heels to rest her feet. But when called to the microphone for a question, the actress found the microphone towered above her. "Oh Jesus, I should have put my shoes on," she said before standing on tip-toe repeatedly to gain height, mocking a ballerina. "I feel like I'm in Black Swan," she cracked. Firth reminded the crowd of journalists of Bonham Carter's footwear controversy from the Golden Globes, where the actress wore mismatched shoes to the fashion-conscious ceremony. "This is a woman who wears different color shoes," Firth joked. "You should watch your shoes and keep them on your feet." Bonham Carter went on to praise her ensemble cast members. "The great thing about an ensemble award is we're all dependent on each other's talent," she said looking at her co-stars. "For me, it's the perfect award for us to receive."

Following her best supporting actress win for The Fighter, Melissa Leo described awards shows as so emotionally explosive her brain melts and said she can barely keep it together from the moment her name is called until the post-show interviews. "I haven’t even called my mom. I don’t have my phone with me,” she admitted backstage. She also revealed that her strategy for dealing with the stressful question of whether she'll win is based on a coping trick she learned long ago when she drove two hours from the country to New York to make it to auditions. “I learned early on to play mind games. Give everything in that audition, close that door and forget about it. I learned that if I did that 'acting trick’ in my mind I really won’t think about these things.” When asked why she thought The Fighter has been doing to well, she didn't mince her words: "The Fighter is reaching so many people because IT’S A GREAT F***IN' MOVIE!"

Winning best actor for The Fighter was the icing on the birthday cake for Christian Bale, who turned 37 today. “I feel pretty freaking good,” he said. Having already celebrated with his family earlier in the day, he called the win "gravy.” He was reluctant to name some of his favorite performers for fear of omitting or insulting fellow actors, but he did single out Robert Duvall (“one of the finest there’s ever been"), Gary Oldman and fellow Fighter cast members Leo and Amy Adams. He also made it a point to thank editors, including Fighter editor Pamela Martin. “When you get a director and editor picking the good takes, you get 'Oh what a wonderful performance.'" Bale was sad that co-star Mark Wahlberg didn’t get a nomination but said he'd share the win with him. He said actors seem to be overlooked for the quiet roles, and he himself had plenty of those. “This was a loud role and I fucking loved it!"

The Good Wife actress Julianna Margulies reminisced about her first movie role backstage. "It was Steven Seagal's Heart of Justice. I played a hooker with a heart of gold, which you do in Steven Seagal movie. I made $2,000. Now my (TV) husband sleeps with them." On winning the award for female actor in a drama series, she said, "I was so overwhelmed. I was taken aback. Last year seemed like a fluke." But the job comes with responsibility. "I have had women come up to me and start weeping to me about their cheating husbands. There are moments where I don't want them to think that I'm the person to give them advice."

After winning best ensemble in a comedy series, the cast of Modern Family was all jokes backstage. "It’s not easy to dress my Golden Globes,” Sofia Vergara said about her fashion, a quip fellow cast member Eric Stonestreet comedically repeated. Despite their lighthearted mood, the actors took time to reveal that they are touched by the fans who come up to them. Ty Burrell likes to hear that families watch the show together, while Stonestreet said the best compliments came from not only gay parents, but also the gay teens who hold the show as a shield against those who pick on them. “It makes us feel like what we do is worthwhile,” Stonestreet said.

Ernest Borgnine, who received SAG's Life Achievement Award, brought his wife of 38 years, Tova, onto the podium backstage. “She’s the love of my life,” he told reporters. He then joked, “They said it would never last." She responded kindly, saying, “I love you dearly, even after all of these years.” Borgnine was blown away by the award. “It’s beyond comprehension," he said. "It makes you ask, am I really worth it? That’s what life is all about.” He also gave advice to the young actors trying to emulate his long career. “Keep studying.” He urged them to always be “watching people, learning what life is about.”

Claire Danes used her win for her portrayal of autistic livestock expert Temple Grandin as an opportunity to discuss the disability. "Most people assume that people with autism are incapable of empathy, and I cannot think of anyone more empathetic than Temple.” She said the disorder “is more prevalent than anyone knew," but added that there are so many manifestations of it that every case is particular and "hard to treat for that reason.” Danes tried refocus the spotlight from her to Grandin. “All of this attention is great but she lived it. I just played it.” As for her own career, Danes credited Meryl Streep's performance in Sophie’s Choice with inspiring her to become an actress. “That was revelatory for me. It was the moment I understood that acting could be so important.”

Bryan Alexander, Borys Kit and Annie Yuan contributed to this report.

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