Idol Chatter

rudydeepicidolchatter.jpgDid the Oscars just happen?
If you weren’t watching, you might have missed it last night! There was the red carpet. Stars showed up. They wore designer clothes and had their hair done. All of the entertainment networks covered it. Almost no stars skipped it. It was everything Oscar usually is except for the extra long show, variety numbers, and celebrity host. Not a bad combination.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards had its most prolific ceremony in its history last night. And oh how lovely it was! As Julie Christie proclaimed, “how nice it is to receive an award from your own union!”
Ruby Dee won as Best Supporting Actress, beating a wonderful and talented field, all having done amazing jobs in their films. It was her first nomination (for “American Gangster”) and it showed that the actors respected her work—not because she was African-American, or because her movie was African-American themed. Working with “Denzel…Cuba Gooding, Jr…. Roger Smith, Russell Crowe…Ridley Scott,…and so many in the company…” She was so gracious, and the crowd was with her. Her fellow actors stood to applaud her not because of her race or her creed or her popularity with the media, but because of her performance, which is how it’s supposed to be.

Each of the Best Picture Ensemble nominees were respectfully introduced, but not overdone, with great clips that were just more than trailers, but not over the top. Those in the room with me wanted to go see the movies they hadn’t already seen.
For Best Actor, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ryan Gosling, Emile Hirsch, and Viggo Mortensen made for an awesome field and they all (surprise!) showed up! That means the award meant a lot to each of them, and it was Lewis who took it away, rising to a standing ovation and what looked like legitimate smiles and affirming applause. “I’m very proud to be included in that wonderful group of actors this year,” he said, so Oscar-esque…and believable.
Forrest Whitaker was my favorite presenter, so gentle, honest, and respectful in his understated compliments for the female actors: Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Marion Cotillard, Angelina Jolie, and Ellen Page. And in her victory speech, Ms. Christie–the winner–was as honorable and venerated as you’d expect the admired Brit to be.
The Screen Actors Guild gives an award for ensemble casts which is something Oscar misses. It honors the entire group of actors in film, which this year included “Hairspray,” “Into the Wild,” “American Gangster,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “No Country For Old Men.”
“It’s nice to have risky movies now,” said “No Country for Old Men’s” Josh Brolin. “The studio system is backfiring awfully, and it’s fun for us actors!” Come on, could you say that at the Oscars?!?!
Actors sat around dinner tables in a relaxed evening where they honored their own with sincerity and glitz–there was nothing fake about it. Somewhere long ago, this is what Oscar was, and if the Academy gets a waiver this year, let’s hope they take a cue from the S.A.G. It was a great show, and worth watching if you can find it on a replay.

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