Each year with the Golden Globes out of the way, star-struck eyes turn to the next glamorous award show on TV, the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Believed by many to be a predictor for the Oscar race, the grand party where the statuette called the â€œActorâ€ will be awarded, takes place before Oscar voting closes.Â This year, that deadline falls on February 22nd.
Why would the result of the SAG Awards influence the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences voters? Because actors are the people who vote for SAG award winners. There are no directors, writers, cinematographers, or other industry players marking SAG ballots unless they also happen to be actors too. The talented actor who straightens his cummerbund, and the actor who rounds up the yardage of her gown to walk across the stage, know they are receiving the award because of votes from their peers, which makes the honor even more impressive. Members of the AMPA respect that and could be swayed by it. Because the SAG ceremonies occur well before Oscar voting, a SAG award winner could easily negate that sway with an acceptance speech tainted by bawdy Ricky Gervais Golden Globe overtones.
No Hanging Chads
The Internet is responsible for simplifying voting for SAG members via the new voting system available online. It has also had a huge impact on how actors find work and communicate with industry people. Available roles are found online, canvassing for casting agents is done online, sides (specific script scenes) are forwarded to actors to study before auditions and theyâ€™re sent as pdf files. Itâ€™s all good right? Well, with most new opportunity comes some controversy. SAGâ€™s new voting system has raised complaints. Older actors who are not Internet savvy say it will hamper their ability to vote. But as long as physical ballots are still available, they donâ€™t have to be left out.
Viewing Nominated Films
For years, SAG has been providing voting members with â€œscreenersâ€, dvds for the nominated films. This takes massive orchestration. Deadlines are paramount as SAG must forward dvs to each voter in time for them to view all the nominees and place their votes. When you consider SAG members number approximately 100,00o this is a time consuming task.
But this year marks a technological breakthrough in the screener viewing process, which if successful, may change the system forever. While two of the five nominated films, The Kingâ€™s Speech and Social Network, were sent to voters, the other three films, Black Swan, The Fighter, and The Kids Are All Right were made available for download online. A code was mailed to the member who could use it to access the film from iTunes or a studio website. Films from iTunes can be viewed on iPad, Mac or PC, or on HDTV with Apple TV.
You Can Attend The SAG Awards
Ever thought of sitting at a dinner table with Mark Wahlberg, Natalie Portman, or other celebrities? Anyone can by becoming a seat filler which is like a game of musical chairs that will put you in elbow distance to the stars. As a seat filler itâ€™s your job to occupy the chairs of celebrities who leave them to present or accept awards, or simply to freshen up. When the camera scans the room, an empty seat is regarded as a blemish on the award show organizers.
Seat fillers usually arrive about three hours before the actual event so the group can learn their responsibilities and the organizers can size up the cast. It gives them the opportunity to weed out characters whose appearance is inappropriate or who look like their mission is to steal the show once the cameras roll.
Seat fillers hover in a holding area off camera but close enough to sprint to a seat at a second's notice. Strict rules must be followed by seat fillers, some of which include:
â€¢ no touching anything on the tables
â€¢ no talking to celebs or their guests
â€¢ no photography
â€¢ no crashing after-parties
Award show dress code is closely enforced and you will find yourself removed if you violate it. Everyone must wear dark, formal clothing. Red or white clothing, hats and stripes are prohibited as well as purses larger than about six inches. In return for your elegant clothing, you will be rewarded with a wristband, which identifies you as a seat filler. Itâ€™s almost a guarantee that you wonâ€™t be invited back next year to do this job if you confirm your attendance, then donâ€™t show up.
There are only a few companies that provide audiences for TV shows and award ceremonies. If youâ€™re interested in applying here are some contacts:
Experience The Red Carpet In Person
Auctions are held each year for bleacher seats along the red carpet but you have to act fast to win a place. This is a popular opportunity and active online bidding which ranges from $25 to $200 and sometimes more, will attract many bidders from all walks of life. Tickets are offered in lots for groups of two or four people to watch the red carpet procession, take photos of stars and request autographs, all things you can't do as a seat filler. Revenues from the auctions benefit the SAG Foundations public childrenâ€™s literacy programs.
SAG Award Categories, Nominees, And Winners
Unlike the Oscar party, the SAG award has no category for â€œbest filmâ€ because they are voting on acting performance. So their version of â€œbest filmâ€ is called â€œoutstanding performance by a castâ€. They also differ from the Oscar show because they vote for actors on TV as well as on Film. Each category is limited to five nominees. Here are the 2011 nominees and winners.
â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€
â€œThe Kingâ€™s Speechâ€ - WINNER
â€œThe Social Networkâ€
LEAD MALE ACTOR
Jeff Bridges â€“ â€œTrue Gritâ€
Robert Duvall â€“ â€œGet Lowâ€
Jesse Eisenberg â€“ â€œThe Social Networkâ€
Colin Firth â€“ â€œThe Kingâ€™s Speechâ€ - WINNER
James Franco â€“ â€œ127 Hoursâ€
LEAD FEMALE ACTOR
Annette Bening â€“ â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€
Nicole Kidman â€“ â€œRabbit Holeâ€
Jennifer Lawrence â€“ â€œWinterâ€™s Boneâ€
Natalie Portman â€“ â€œBlack Swanâ€ - WINNER
Hilary Swank â€“ â€œConvictionâ€
SUPPORTING MALE ACTOR
Christian Bale â€“ â€œThe Fighterâ€ - WINNER
John Hawkes â€“ â€œWinterâ€™s Boneâ€
Jeremy Renner â€“ â€œThe Townâ€
Mark Ruffalo â€“ â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€
Geoffey Rrush â€“ â€œThe Kingâ€™s Speechâ€
SUPPORTING FEMALE ACTOR
Amy Adams â€“ â€œThe Fighterâ€
Helena Bonham Carter â€“ â€œThe Kingâ€™s Speechâ€
Mila Kunis â€“ â€œBlack Swanâ€
Melissa Leo â€“ â€œThe Fighterâ€ - WINNER
Hailee Steinfeld â€“ â€œTrue Gritâ€
The 17th annul SAG Awards will air Jan. 30th , on TNT and CBS from the LA Shrine Auditorium. Established in 1933, SAG is the nationâ€™s largest labor union. With 20 branches nationwide, it represents more than 125,000 actors.