AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Actors, it's always gotta be about them, right?
Or Ricky Gervais.
Well, unlike charitable telethons or testimony before a Senate subcommittee, the Screen Actors Guild Awards are supposed to be all about the actors, whether we're talking Colin Firth or Jon Hamm or Natalie Portman or Tina Fey or that salty old broad Betty White.
So what were the night's high points, lowlights and moments of absolutely head-scratching bewilderment?
Most Surprising: It was wonderful how shocked Betty White seemed to be that she'd won, which was topped only by how much all of those in attendance seemed to be pleased as well. Justin Timberlake directed her to the stage, Jon Hamm trotted down to help her to the stage, and Ernest Borgnine gave her a smooch (despite getting a lifetime achievement award when she's still a hot property at nearly the same age).
Least in Awe: We've been Hugh Laurie fans all the way back when he still cutting up with Stephen Fry, but his facial expressions during the show, which seemed to suggest a feeling that he'd have preferred to be at home doing something else, just made us like him all the more.
Best Part of the Opening: Opening the prestigious awards show with 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer was an inspired choice, made even better when we heard him jokingly say, "Shut up!" to someone right before he started into his scripted spiel. Also good: Jon Hamm was busting up right behind him. If only the whole show had been that goofy.
Most Self-Conscious Pitches: Stars like Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening and Colin Firth and his Kings Speech costars were trotted out to celebrate some very special films...starring them. That's weird even for actors, right?
Best Marital Shout-Out: Julianna Margulies thanked her in-laws for their wonderful son, her husband. We have to give props to the broadcast's director for immediately cutting to noted spouse-forgetter Hilary Swank for her reaction. (She seemed to approve.)
Hottest Presenters: Taye Diggs and Sofia Vergara presented the dramatic ensemble award, which went to Boardwalk Empire.
Sexiest Cut-In: As Steve Buscemi bumbled his way through the speech for Boardwalk Empire, his costar Paz de la Huerta leaned over and purred something that sounded important but looked...even better.
Least Difficult Request: The words "Please welcome Jon Hamm."
And the worst? Read on...
Worst Memories: While the "In Memoriam" segment was actually pretty good, we wondered about some of the dialogue chosen for the segment. Whether it's the late Robert Culp saying "Carole, we just had sex, that's all" or Peter Graves (admittedly hilarious) line from Airplane! "You ever seen a grown man naked?" some of the choices seemed a little random and out of character for the moment.
Best Surprise of the Night: During the acting kudos for Ernest Borgnine, it was noted that the legendary actor has "personally visited every veteran's hospital in America." He's had an amazing career, but that's an achievement that reflects on the quality of his character, which is something far more important. Way to go, Ernie.
Best Joke: Amy Poehler's comment that "And the best actor in this category according to some people as of tonight is" before presenting the award to Alec Baldwin.
Most Moving Reaction: The wonderful Ty Burrell of Modern Family clapped enthusiastically for Baldwin's win in their category, all the while seeming to be wearing that Phil Dunphy smiling-through-heartbreak look he does on the show so well. That guy is awesome.
Most Self-Effacing: Colin Firth, who must struggle to find humble things to say when he's the front-runner, quipped, "Looking out at who's here, I'd like to thank security for letting me into the building."
Worst Commercial: Noted actor and pitchman Dennis Haysbert introduced a montage celebrating ads. ...But isn't that what the actual commercials are for?
Least Surprising: The expected people won for the most part, which shouldn't take away a thing from the proceedings, but it's unfortunate that the SAG Awards couldn't mix it up a bit more to spread the wealth to folks like Jeremy Renner, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence and Hailee Steinfeld. That said, the people who won did great work.
Biggest Winner (Not That You'd Know It): Mark Wahlberg, who didn't pick a trophy for his acting in The Fighter, but as producer he had a hand in the wins for his Fighter costars Bale and Melissa Leo as well as for being a producer of Boardwalk Empire.
Best Beard: If acting is at its heart all about facial hair, then the fulsome facial fuzz of Donald Sutherland deserved a very special award itself.