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“It’s a particularly lovely thing to have this recognition, and of course it makes you feel sheepish when in the company of such great actors,” said Daniel Day-Lewis, who won for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for “There Will Be Blood” on Sunday at the SAG Awards. “It’s been a mighty year, I think.” When asked backstage why he focused his acceptance speech on the passing of Heath Ledger, Day-Lewis said it’s all he’s been thinking about the past few days despite never meeting the actor. “He’s done many wonderful things in his life,” Day-Lewis said. “I would have liked him very much as a man.” The traditionally reclusive Day-Lewis, who has found himself in the spotlight this year for “Blood,” also said he has tried to strike a balance when it comes to his duties promoting the movie. “It’s finding a balance so you don’t feel that you are eviscerating the experience of the film,” he said. “It is a responsibility, and I don’t shy away from it entirely, but I prefer to know less about a film rather than more when I see it. It seems pointless to talk about a film — nothing is going to make it better or worse.”
Julie Christie, who won for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role, proved herself tough-minded and independent backstage. Wearing a pantsuit, the actress was asked at one point, “Whose pants are you wearing?” Christie said, “My own pants.” When pressed to name the label, she responded with, “I don’t buy into the whole walking-advertisement thing.” She talked tough about the lack of female directors, saying she hoped that Sarah Polley’s success with “Away From Her” would open more doors. “We hope that more women will find their way into the business. Or be allowed into the business,” she said. She also placed herself firmly in the pro-union camp. “All unions are important, I think. Think of the fight to form unions. An incredible historical fight. … Without them, we wouldn’t have anyone to represent our injustices.”
Forget about getting a straight answer from the cast of “The Office,” winners of SAG’s comedy series ensemble award. In fact, forget about staying more than five seconds on a topic with the way the actors cut up the back room. How hard is it to keep a straight face? “It’s very hard to keep a straight face,” castmember Brian Baumgartner said with a straight face. “I’m thinking they should have a trophy check,” B.J. Novak interjected, “like a coat check, but for trophies.” Getting back to the awards at hand, Novak joked about the cost of his SAG card: “I donated 25 bucks to KCRW, and six weeks later, my SAG card came in the mail.” Saving management for last, a smirking Steve Carell joked that “Office” creator Ricky Gervais was jealous of the success of the American version of the series. “In fact, before the show, I was downstairs in the restroom, and he was there, and he leaned over the urinal, looked at me, and said, ‘I knew it!’ That’s my Ricky Gervais story.” Carell added that he couldn’t wait to be on Gervais’ HBO series “Extras.” “I’ll follow him wherever he goes,” he said. Finally, a straight answer.
“The Sopranos” might no longer air, but the show dominated the beginning of the 14th annual SAG Awards, with James Gandolfini and Edie Falco winning for outstanding performance by a male actor and actress in a drama series, respectively, and the show’s cast taking home the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series. “We’re wearing our hearts on our sleeves as we have projected our performances out to a global audience,” cast member Dominic Chianese said, speaking on behalf of the cast. “We owe that to the writing of David Chase.”
“This is really heavy, and I found a new way to carry it — by the head,” said Tina Fey, who won for best actress in a comedy series for NBC’s “30 Rock.” “I’ll be putting this where my daughter can’t get it because this is a baby crusher!” Fey, who has spent the past 11 weeks staying at home with her kids, said she was hopeful the writers strike would be settled soon. “Our show can’t not be around for six months and expect to do well,” she said. “We are exactly the kind of show that is in jeopardy from this strike.”
Power went out backstage 30 minutes into the awards show Sunday night, with just three trophies presented. Backstage monitors went out, leaving those behind the scenes unaware of what was happening onstage. That left show personnel to shout out the winners of each category since microphones weren’t working. It was the sixth time the power went down during the evening.
Compiled by Borys Kit and Carly Mayberry. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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