SAG Awards Kicking Season Into High Gear

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Birdman’ wins Producers Guild’s top trophy.

LOS ANGELES ( — The 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards should offer a low-key preview to the Academy Awards and a chance for favorites to begin polishing up their acceptance speeches. The 26th edition of the SAG Awards kicks off Sunday afternoon amid sunny weather, a vast array of starry presenters and nominees and a battle between “Birdman” and “Boyhood.” The red carpet at the Shrine Auditorium will launch around 3 p.m. following toasting ceremonies with Champagne Taittinger, the official champagne of the SAG Awards for the past 15 years.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – “Birdman” received a welcome lift on its flight to the Oscars after winning the Producers Guild of America’s highest film award Saturday night at a ceremony in Los Angeles. Picking up unbackable odds in the region of 1/8 at most bookies, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood looked to be marching unimpeded to the best film Oscar in February.

The win delivers needed momentum to Alejandro Inarritu’s showbiz romp following its upset loss to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in the Golden Globes’ comedy category earlier this month. You might recognize it because the ceremony always starts with charming anecdotes from stars about why they decided to become actors — it’s also the one that awards casting ensembles. Presenters include Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Kevin Costner, Ethan Hawke, SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard, Rashida Jones, Michael Keaton, Lorelei Linklater, Matthew McConaughey, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts and Emma Stone. Zanuck Award for best movie — elevating its status as an awards season frontrunner, since the last seven PGA winners have gone on to win the best picture Oscar. “Boyhood” had been the consensus favorite to win the PGA trophy.

Other trophies presented Saturday night included “The Lego Movie” for animated feature, “Life Itself” for documentary film, “Fargo” for television movie or miniseries, “Breaking Bad” for TV drama series, “Orange is the New Black” for TV comedy series and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee for digital series. The voting body is made up of 111,228 eligible SAG-AFTRA members, and actors represent about 20% of Oscar voters. “Birdman” comes in with four nominations followed by “Boyhood,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” with three each and “Foxcatcher” with a pair. You can also use the Watch TNT and Watch TBS apps for iOS or Android, though for that option, you must sign in with a TV service provider user name and password. Best actor is harder to call, with Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) seen as the front-runner and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) close behind.

The last four Oscar winners — Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave” — had all won SAG trophies a few weeks earlier. It was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman that took the Darryl F Zanuck Award last night. “They want me to talk so that I make you laugh with my bad English,” Iñárritu said. “On behalf of all of us, our only ambition was to make a risky and experimental exploration of the cinematic language, of an artist’s complexity played by the incredible Michael Keaton.” Inevitably, the Guild shares quite a few members with the Academy.

As for TV, ABC’s “Modern Family” got lots of love, but HBO dominated per usual with noms for “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “The Normal Heart” and “Boardwalk Empire.” E! is on it. In the last six years, SAG best-ensemble and Academy Award best-picture winners have lined up three times (“Argo,” ”The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire”), while diverging just as often. SAG does award an ensemble prize — their slightly cobbled-together notion of a best film — but, with a small cast and few bravura turns, Boyhood was never seen as a likely contender.

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