The red-carpet glamor and prestige of the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards last night put the pre-Oscar spotlight on the cast of “The Help” in the theatrical motion picture category, with actors themselves choosing the best of the best.
“The Help” cast also was recognized with Viola Davis taking the award for best performance by a female lead and Octavia Spencer receiving the honor for best supporting female actor. Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) was credited with best performance in a male leading role and Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) took the award for best supporting actor. Top television performance awards went to Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Lange, Betty White and Kate Winslet, with television ensemble honors taken by “Boardwalk Empire” and Modern Family.” Mary Tyler Moore received SAG’s highest honor, the 48th annual Life Achievement Award. See the full list of awards here.
This year’s awards came as the national boards of SAG and AFTRA (Television and Radio Artists) in separate meetings over the weekend approved a merger between the two mega-entertainment unions. SAG National President Ken Howard said the agreement, which will be voted on by members in February and March, is a “terrific outcome.”
Professional performers are now an important step closer to the strongest union representation possible. Just as our boards have, I believe our members will decisively approve this merger and that SAG-AFTRA will be a leader in shaping the entertainment and media industries.
Months of discussions of the merger between the two unions included a “listening tour” by Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. According to Reardon:
We now have the opportunity to finally stand united through one union to secure more union work and better benefits for our members, and for the generations of entertainment and media professionals who follow us.
SAG awards are determined by the votes of SAG actors, with 10,000 actors eligible to vote. The live televised awards show last night included a tribute to SAG’s regional branches, spotlighting memorable moments created by actors who live and work across the nation.