I must confess that I have always paid some attention to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. If nothing else, that can be a good indicator of how the actors in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may have cast their Oscar ballots. And if this year's SAG Awards are any indication, the Oscars may hold a few surprises if the rest of the Academy votes with the actors.
To wit, Little Miss Sunshine took the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the closest thing the Screen Actors Guild has to a "Best Picture" award. It beat out Babel, Dreamgirls, and The Departed for the award. Keep in mind that three out of the past four years, the movies which won this award have taken the Best Picture Oscar (Chicago, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Crash). Another surprise (for me at least) was Forest Whitaker's win of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Last King of Scotland. He beat both Leonardo DiCaprio (for Blood Diamond) and Peter O'Toole for Venus. I don't think anyone can complain that he didn't deserve to win.
Of course, the awards for the actress categories were anything but surprising. Helen Mirren was the odds on favourite for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her role in The Queen, so it was not a surprise that she won. Jennifer Hudson taking the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her role in Dreamgirls was also not a surprise.
While the motion picture awards had some surprises and some expected wins, the television awards were a mixed bag. Somehow Grey's Anatomy beat out both Deadwood and The Sopranos for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (their equivalent of Best Dramatic Series). I have said it before and I will say it again. Grey's Anatomy is simply a standard medical soap opera with an high sex quotient. And it is not even a well done one, at that. To add insult to injury, I must point out that while Grey's Anatomy won, neither Lost nor House were even nominated! I also have to question how Chandra Wilson of Grey's Anatomy beat out Edie Falco of The Sopranos for the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series--to me it is a case of the absolute worst beating out the best.
At least I can say I am very happy with most of the winners in the other television categories. Hugh Laurie took Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for House. And I must say that I am happy that Alec Baldwin took the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (although I would not have been disappointed had Jeremy Piven taken the award for his role in Entourage--they are both fantastic). And I was more than happy to see that The Office took Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, even if it meant beating Entourage to do it.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see if this year's SAG Awards are an accurate gauge of what we can see in the Oscars. If it is, then we might well be in for a surprises come this year's Academy Awards.