15th Annual SAG Awards provide some suprises

By Steve Mathie
Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, Cali. – The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held Sunday night on TBS and TNT, and for a few hours the entertainment was and its fans were treated to what has now become a young but well established ceremony.

In the midst of a potential strike, SAG handed out 15 awards last night, and the surprises paved the way for one is sure to be a highly anticipated and emotional Academy Awards next month. The biggest surprises came in the Outstanding Performance by a Male/Female Actor in a Leading Role.

While Mickey Rourke just recently brought home the Golden Globe in the same category for his performance in The Wrestler, it was Sean Penn’s turn on Sunday night. His performance in Milk as Harvey Milk gave Penn the nod. A large part of “Milk” was filmed on location in California at unique locations, mostly in the San Francisco area.

In the category for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, Meryl Streep surprised the masses with her nod for work done in Doubt, an award that many thought would go to Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road. Doubt was filmed in both New York and California.

Slumdog Millionaire continued its success, winning the award for Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The cast was led by the 18 year old Dev Patel, who played a Mumbai teen participating in a game show and applying knowledge gained in the slums during his upbringing. Slumdog Millionaire was filmed in India and has grossed over $70 million worldwide with a minimal budget.

The Dark Knight, which used filming locations in Chicago to double for Gotham, has been nominated for numerous technical awards by the Academy, but Heath Ledger has been stealing the limelight when it comes to Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster.

And rightfully so.

Ledger was chosen for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. His commitment to becoming the ever so strange Joker in The Dark Knight was so evident that it appears he will run the table in this category for the major award ceremonies. Many critics have speculated that it may be difficult for Ledger to win the Oscar because he is deceased. It will certainly be an interesting evening on February 22nd.

Kate Winslet, who won awards at the Golden Globes for both of her major films in 2008, won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader. The Reader filmed overseas in both Germany and Poland.

In the world of television, both “30 Rock” and “Mad Men” won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy/Drama Series.

“30 Rock”, filmed at Silvercup Studios and NBC Studios in New York, wasn’t done for the evening. Both Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey won the award in their respective gender for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series.

Other Award Winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series – Hugh Laurie for “House M.D.”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series – Sally Field for “Brothers & Sisters”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries – Paul Giamatti for “John Adams”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries – Laura Linney for “John Adams”

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