But lameness is obviously an advantage for the best picture Oscar competition. Now that “Little Miss Sunshine” has won the Screen Actors Guild best ensemble prize, it’s more than likely to repeat last year’s “Crash” phenomenon, when the weakest intellectually and aesthetically of the five top Academy Award nominees won the Big O.
Not that LMS isn’t a funny, ever-so-meekly subversive little entertainment (“Crash” was a nice little gimmick movie, too). It’s just not about real people or anything truly meaningful, and its smidgen of formal ambition amounts to a couple of frames’ worth of “Babel,” “The Departed” or “Iwo Jima.” Hell, even “The Queen” was exponentially better shot and staged – with writing and acting and, yes, comedy that left the SAG winner in the dust like a broken-down van on a desert road.
Now the big question is, when LMS conquers the Kodak on February 25, are people finally going to stop taking this whole ridiculously capricious Oscar business seriously? Probably not, even though, if this does come to pass, the lame-os who actually vote for the things will have proven for the umpteenth time that they don’t take movies seriously at all.
So the Screen Actors Guild gave its best film ensemble prize to a movie that was sent out on DVD to all its members… for the second year in a row. Did that influence the win for “Little Miss Sunshine”? Hard to say. Guess you’d have to poll a significant sampling of the 110,000 SAG members, including those who may be unusually grateful for a free copy of a movie.
The announcer backstage introduced Helen Mirren’s second appearance. Instead of the grand dame of the evening, in walks milquetoast publicist Stan Rosenfield, carrying her two Actor statuettes and setting them down on the podium. Later, Steve Carell, the dual winner for “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Office,” swabbed his brow as he toted two beefy bronze figures.
“Little Miss Sunshine” beat the casts of “Bobby,” “Dreamgirls” “The Departed” and “Babel” to win the evening’s top prize. Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin were on hand to accept and Kinnear lifted Breslin up to the microphone to say a few words. Very cute.
Kinnear thanked the movie’s co-directors who were shut out of the Oscar race. But “Sunshine” should be considered the Oscar favorite since it won the Producers Guild of America prize a few weeks ago. Last year, “Brokeback Mountain” was the front-runner until “Crash” ensemble upset it to win top ensemble.
So, “Sunshine” could win best picture and Martin Scorsese can finally get his Oscar for “The Departed.” I think that’s how it might go.
In another category identical to the Oscar race, Forest Whitaker takes home leading actor prize for his performance as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” He gave a nearly incoherent speech at the Golden Globes but was far better this time around after a shaky start.
“I want to thank you for allowing me to have a moment like this…to help me be able to continue to express myself as an artist. Thank yoiu from the bottom of my heart.”
Mirren won for “The Queen” and said it was “an incredible night for me personally.”
The actress said that when she first walked into wardrobe and saw “all those sensible shoes and tweed skirts, I cried. I can’t playt anyone who chooses to wear those clothes. I just can’t do it.”
The audience laughs then Mirren adds that she “learned to love that person” and paid tribute to the Queen of England for her discipline and dedication to duty.
Somebody from the cast of “The Office” mentioned backstage that they spend 60 hours a wek together in an office. That brought on the first “Duh” question of the night: “What do you do in those 60 hours on the clock?” Rainn Wilson calmly explained the process of making a TV series. Whoever asked that question must have been completely lost in the Mirren/Irons discussions about acting.
In a category identical to the Oscar field, “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Hudson took home the best supporting actress award and said: “What a welcome! (It is her FIRST movie!) I’d like to thank God for this moment.” She thanked her castmates and said “I was able to work with and learn from the best.” She thanked director Bill Condon: “Thank you for believing in me when I did not believe in myself.”
And to her fellow SAG members she said: “Thank you for noticing little ol’ me and accepting me.”
Next stop: Oscar night!
The Isaiah Washington mess did not hurt ‘em. But Ellen Pompeo is a pretty sucky award accepter. Next time, let Dempsey speak!
“We love this category more than you know,” she began.
OK, so far, so good.
But instead of mentioning the 10 cast members present and behind her on stage, Pompeo chooses to focus on those who are not.
” I think because this category is ensemble, it is worth mentioning the members of our cast who arent here. Kate Burton. Um, um, um help me! Isaiah Washington…Um…”
Good job Ellen…NOT!!!
He beat Sutherland and Michael C. Hall among others. Tough category!
Laurie, the star of Fox’s “House” was a popular winner and said that being a successful actor and winning awards “It’s not so much about whether you do good work, it’s about whether you get a chance to do good work.”
“It’s a phenomenal honor…I know it will pass quickly, it might have already passed while I’m standing here.”
Everyone looks shocked!
“It’s about those 10 actors sitting over there (points to Grey’s Anatomy cast) and the other one in rehab!” (Isaiah Washington, in gayhab)
She is all over the place. Thanks family. Agent. Friends.
“Look with this skin and this nose and these arms and this height! I’m here! Thank you Screen actors Guild for taking me as I am!”