‘The King’s Speech’ takes top honors at SAG Awards

Posted by · 3:17 pm · January 30th, 2011

Well, if you didn’t get the message after last night’s DGA result, SAG’s Best Ensemble award just underlined it for you — the Best Picture race is over. In the 16 years that the three Guilds have co-existed, only one film has taken the big prize from the DGA, PGA and SAG and not won the Best Picture Oscar — and “Apollo 13” was handicapped by its lack of a Best Director Oscar bid. No such obstacle in this case: “The King’s Speech” has it in the bag.

So, it seems, do a couple of other folks. It was a highly predictable night, as the de facto frontrunner prevailed in each of the four individual acting categories.

Colin Firth, of course, continued his march to the Oscar podium with another impeccably wry, self-deprecating speech — “I’d like to thank security for letting me into the building,” he quipped, earning the night’s biggest laugh. With his victory, “The King’s Speech” becomes the first film to take Best Ensemble and a lead acting gong since “Chicago” eight years ago; this time, however, it won’t lose the latter on February 27.

Meanwhile, Natalie Portman continued her smooth run in the Best Actress race. Some pundits, Kris included, have speculated that Annette Bening could yet be a spoiler on Oscar night, but I can’t see it myself: if a wave of sentimental affection for the older star is brewing, the peer-voted SAG Awards would have been the clear place for it to emerge. Portman continues to be the personification of charm at the podium, while her category is looking like the only viable place for Oscar voters to acknowledge the “Black Swan” phenomenon.

If a sweep mentality takes hold for “The King’s Speech,” I suppose one of the supporting categories could be vulnerable to an upset, but after tonight’s well-deserved twin wins for “The Fighter” co-stars Melissa Leo and Christian Bale — both repeating their Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice victories — there’s little reason to bet against them at the Oscars.

Both actors socked over their acceptance speeches, with Bale (shorn of the Jesus-like mane he sported at the Globes) continuing his genially goofy stage manner and sharing a sweet moment at the podium with the real-life Dicky Ekland. Leo provided the most emotional speech of the night, culminating in a rallying cry for unions.

No alarms and no surprises, then — but why should there be? It was clear from the reaction in the room (especially to the final category) that the winners are universally popular choices, spread across three of the most beloved films in the Best Picture race. “The Social Network” table, on the other hand, was a solemn-looking one: they know when they’re beaten.

No televised precursors until the BAFTAs, then, and I think we all know more or less how that’s going to go. Good night, all.

You can find the full list of film winners at The Circuit.  And the TV awards, for those of you who are interested:

Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Claire Danes, “Temple Grandin”
Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Al Pacino, “You Don’t Know Jack”
Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series: “Modern Family”
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland”
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series: “Boardwalk Empire”
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, “City Island”
Best Actor in a Drama Series: Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Best Stunt Ensemble: “True Blood”

[Photo: Reuters]

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233 responses so far

  • 1 1-31-2011 at 8:52 am

    The Other James D. said...

    @Earl Goes to Camp: Boy A. This Is England. ‘Nuff said.

  • 2 1-31-2011 at 9:14 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    oh noes!!

    One OK movie is going to beat another OK movie.

  • 3 1-31-2011 at 9:18 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    Melissa Leo may be an obnoxious twat, but she isn’t as bad the smarm horror show that is Annette Bening.

  • 4 1-31-2011 at 9:26 am

    bluemoon02 said...

    I respect Melissa Leo alot and its great that she is finally getting rewarded after years and years of work with hardly and recognition. And Annette Bening is a classy lady who doesn’t go all out like sum actors do in their campaigning for the Oscar. So Mr. hARMONICA, just go fly a kite will ya.

  • 5 1-31-2011 at 9:28 am

    bluemoon02 said...

    Whatever it is, I have true faith that TSN is going to win Best Picture and Director regardless of what has happened. At least this makes the race exciting and unpredictable.
    And Annette Bening is a potential spoiler for Natalie Portman and Colin Firth & Christian Bale are going to get their Oscars. It is the Best Supporting Actress category that has me stumped.

  • 6 1-31-2011 at 9:42 am

    Maxim said...

    Can I just put forth an idea (and it’s just a notion), that with Hooper taking the DGA, the best Director race at the Oscars is wide open?

    Yes, Hooper appears to be the default frontrunner, but he is seemingly overshadowed by his own film and Fincher seems like a safe choice for what looked like a split year. And yet, Fincher appears weaker then we thought, so could this be a perfect opportunity for someone (Aronofsky, O’Russell) and steal.

    Any thoughts on that?

  • 7 1-31-2011 at 9:47 am

    Sawyer said...

    Wake me up when Kris does his predictions for 2010.

    I saw The King’s Speech this weekend finally. Good film. Deserves its BP nomination. The direction is solid. No problems with Hooper’s nom.

    Dances with Wolves and Kevin Costner also deserved their noms 20 years ago. And years from now, when we look back and decry the Academy’s decision to reward the familiar, historic, heart-tugging epic over the modern classic, just as Dances did when it beat the greatest mobster movie of all time and robbed a cinematic icon of his first chance for Oscar glory, we’ll say, oh well, that’s just the Academy being the Academy.

    And years from now when David Fincher wins his lifetime achievement Oscar (likely for a movie that is also very good but probably not the best nominated film), we’ll look back at how a safe, Academy-friendly movie stole what should have been his coronation as film royalty.

  • 8 1-31-2011 at 9:49 am

    Sawyer said...

    My bad, predictions for 2011!

  • 9 1-31-2011 at 9:50 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    If undue insufferable self-satisfied smugness so thick you can spread it on toast is classy, then sure, Annette Bening is finger quotes “classy”.

    I like Melissa Leo as an actress, but her speech at the Spirit Awards in 09 killed any level of endearment as a person, when she basically projectile vomited long, steaming gushes of extravagantly unaware pretension onto the audience.

    I’ve never flown a kite before but I’ve heard it can be a rewarding experience.

  • 10 1-31-2011 at 9:54 am

    Maxim said...

    Sawyer, are you seriously comparing “The King’s Speech” to “Dances With Wolvers”?

    Things must be worse than I suspected.

    “beat the greatest mobster movie of all time.”

    Come on now. That would be a pretty vanilla overstatement even if you had actually seen a lot of them. Ever heard of “La Piovra”?

  • 11 1-31-2011 at 9:54 am

    Sawyer said...

    BTW, I think TKS wins 7 Oscars:


  • 12 1-31-2011 at 9:56 am

    Sawyer said...

    I think The King’s Speech and Dances with Wolves are both good movies, yes. And they are both historical yarns with heart-tugging storylines, only one has a happy ending though.

    And OK, the greatest American mobster movie of all time. Better?

  • 13 1-31-2011 at 9:58 am

    Afrika said...

    “If undue insufferable self-satisfied smugness so thick you can spread it on toast is classy, then sure, Annette Bening is finger quotes “classy”.”
    Mr Harmonica

    Why you mad though? LOL!!!

  • 14 1-31-2011 at 10:01 am

    Sawyer said...

    I love Annette Bening. She’s going to keep doing the movies she wants to do, and Oscar’s going to keep nominating her because she’s damn good in them. And if they give her an award one day, great. If not, she’s still a legend.

  • 15 1-31-2011 at 10:01 am

    Afrika said...

    Yes I did haha nice to see you again buddy.

  • 16 1-31-2011 at 10:02 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    It’s not just that she comes off as a total bitch all the time onscreen and off, it’s also because I just kind of hate her face.

  • 17 1-31-2011 at 10:06 am

    Maxim said...

    Re: Dances vs King’s Speech. That’s really not what I meant. I just think that comparing the two in terms of their respective places as secondary Best Picture picks of their years takes away from Dances’ real accomplishment (and elevates King’s Speech to a position of accomplisment it probably doesn’t deserve).

    “And OK, the greatest American mobster movie of all time. Better?”

    I’d just leave it as Scorsese’s best mobster film, personally. I think it’s up there but I can think of a few films that I think are better. But if you like it that much then I can certainly understand it.

  • 18 1-31-2011 at 10:06 am

    Afrika said...

    Keep trolling Mr. Harmonica. So far you suck at it but keep trying, um, I mean trolling.

  • 19 1-31-2011 at 10:09 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    I’m giving my honest opinion.

    Keep lauding shit films and performers, sir. You’re pretty stellar at that.

  • 20 1-31-2011 at 10:09 am

    Knative said...

    I for one am happy that the Academy is going to tell The Social Network (this generation’s “Citizen Kane”) to suck it. The only problem I have with King’s Speech, is that it does not suck enough.

  • 21 1-31-2011 at 10:28 am

    Holden said...

    I’ll still say The Social Network has this. The King’s Speech will win for Firth, but nothing else is certain. Picture is just as likely to go to The Social Network. Director is Fincher’s. Supporting Actor and Actress are both The Fighter’s, by a mile. Screenplay could easily go to Inception, as it did garner more attention, and it will probably win the WGA. Technicals are also foggy. Compared to quick paced and pitch perfect editing of The Social Network, TKS really doesn’t have that. Costumes will probably go to a more deserving nominee, like the mediocre Alice in Wonderland. I adore the cinematography for The King’s Speech, but a much more deserving Pfister will probably win here. Art Direction and Sound Mixing seem excessive, as it deserves neither of the two. The score is nice, but again, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are likelier champs.

    This is a lot like ’94, when Forrest Gump won, despite being up against more deserving competitors. That isn’t to say the winner won undeservedly, but it’s hard to deny that a masterpiece like The Shawshank Redemption or even the iconic Pulp Fiction didn’t earn it more. The thing is that Gump had more strength in other categories. Pulp Fiction and Shawshank couldn’t hold their own in other categories (though the former probably should have won editing, and it would have been like Crash, and we would have seen that coming too… tangent.) My theory is that you can’t win best picture without fewer than two other crucial wins in order to secure a win. The King’s Speech doesn’t really have that. Even if it is the frontrunner, its competition is incredibly stiff.

  • 22 1-31-2011 at 10:36 am

    The Other James D. said...

    TKS has Actor, Original Screenplay, and Original Score. Those are enough to net it the BP win you wish it couldn’t attain.

    Btw, Pfister? I think Libatique or Deakins are far more likely.

  • 23 1-31-2011 at 11:46 am

    DarkLayers said...

    Yeah, I think its Deakins to lose.

  • 24 1-31-2011 at 1:43 pm

    André said...

    what’s a “City Island” and why did Margullies win for this and not “The Good Wife”?


  • 25 1-31-2011 at 1:45 pm

    Drew said...

    @Andrew F
    While Sorkin’s script is at times a little too wordy for some, there still was such a beauty to that dialogue that’s impossible to deny with only two real Sorkinese moments that stuck out awkwardly for me. Though part of it was delivery, I felt. The words were simply strong enough for me to suspend whatever disbelief I may have had about the possibility of a real person speaking in such a way. If anything I give Sorkin credit for not bogging us down in the technobable non sense that can often be delivered by the generic geek types tha you just described. What is entirley realistic is not always theatrically interesting. I didn’t feel the dialogue or even the character’s actions were that great of a leap from reality. What would you of has him done during the actual meeting to express his dispotition? Stare at a computer?

    As for the treament of women, apprently I’m the only one who didn’t see this as such an issue that’s been brought up. I thought Chrity’s behavior reminded me of the kind of crazy insecurity that both men and women face when their significant other is often away. I do wonder if it would have been that much of an issue if she weren’t Asian. Probably worth noting that she isn’t fabricated either. What I do find interesting is that it’s the female characters who bring out a level of humanity in Zuckerberg which we rarley get to see. From his need to reach out to Erica (who was based on a real person) at the restaurant, and finally with Rashida Jones’ greek chorus which offers the protagonists best relationship throughout the film. As for the level of artifice, two of the biggest things that they took liberties with, both of which were mentioned above (Jones, and the restaurant sequence) probably make Zuckerberg look better than any documentation that has been shown about his actual work at the time.

    I was expecting different complaints honestly. But I get it.

  • 26 1-31-2011 at 1:49 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***And OK, the greatest American mobster movie of all time. Better?***

    Somehow we forgot a film called “The Godfather.”

    And yes, Guy, I did skip “West Side Story.” Thank you. ;)

  • 27 1-31-2011 at 1:57 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Holden, wake up… Looks like if TSN was nominated for costume design, you’ll bet on it….

  • 28 1-31-2011 at 2:25 pm

    Sawyer said...

    I wouldn’t really consider The Godfather a mobster movie. Technically yes, but it’s more about a mafioso family than a gang of gangstas.

  • 29 1-31-2011 at 2:27 pm

    Sawyer said...

    Gangster film would have been a better label.

  • 30 1-31-2011 at 9:51 pm

    Collin said...

    JJ1 I also like Melissa Leo but I find some of her recent behavior off-putting and wonder if that will affect her chances. Her strange web videos she’s started posting don’t help matters and she always comes off a little too crazy in her speeches. And that’s more than average-actor-crazy.

  • 31 2-01-2011 at 5:48 am

    JJ1 said...

    I agree. I just think she’s been acting for so long and has had such little recognition, that now that she’s getting it, her personality (whatever it is in real life) doesn’t quite know how to act/censor itself in front of huge crowds. That’s just my impression. I still think she’s a great actress.

  • 32 2-01-2011 at 8:40 am

    Holden said...

    My speculation is completely fair, and not unfounded. It’s completely possible that The Social Network can take this, and very possible that The King’s Speech could walk away with nothing but Firth’s statuette. Above all, I try to be a realist. Sure, I’m favoring The Social Network, but I won’t deny that TKS has the edge here. It’s a very competitive year, and not many categories are locks.

  • 33 2-01-2011 at 10:32 am

    Maxim said...

    “”, I could believe it coming out of the world’s élite echelon of political types. But out of computer geek undergrads? It irked me. ”

    So even a Harvard educated, CEO, youngest billionaire in history cannot catch a break with you? Tough crowd.