Actually, they don’t call them that. I wonder why. It was fun to have some people I voted for win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. People such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, best actor in a feature film for what people who knew Truman Capote say is his spot-on interpretation of the great manipulative writer in Capote. Capote’s true crime novel “In Cold Blood” is a classic, and the story behind the story is as well. It’s good to see a great character actor like Hoffman, who is good in everything, take the lead. And Kiefer Sutherland as best actor in a television drama for his great portrayal of, yes, Jack Bauer, in 24. There was a time when it looked like Sutherland would forever be best known as the guy who ended his engagement to Julia Roberts right before their wedding. Instead, his gripping work in the key piece of post-9/11 cinema has earned him what would have been his third straight best actor award had longtime Law & Order star Jerry Orbach not died a week before last year’s voting started, earning the veteran character actor a big sympathy vote. Who says Hollywood isn’t like politics?
Speaking of politics, the gay-cowboys-in-love-story of Brokeback Mountain, winner of most of the critics awards so far, was somewhat surprisingly shut out. Other politically charged favorites had mixed results. The fabulous Rachel Weisz won best supporting actress for her portrayal of the compelling and confounding activist wife of a British diplomat in the film adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Constant Gardner. But George Clooney, at least momentarily abandoning his Ocean’s 11 coolest-guy-in-class crown for political cinema, did not win best supporting actor for his world-weary CIA agent in Syriana, an intriguing film which never quite ignites.
Clooney’s fine Good Night, and Good Luck, about crusading TV journalist (isn’t that a modern oxymoron?) Edward R. Murrow in the McCarthy era, lost out for best motion picture ensemble to the politically tinged LA slice of life drama Crash. Geena Davis’s steely first woman president (hello, Hillary) in the semi-cartoonish Commander In Chief lost out for best actress in a television drama. Alan Alda’s very finely etched California Senator and Republican presidential candidate in The West Wing (some staffers were stunned by how compelling a Republican might be) lost out for best actor to Sutherland’s powerhouse 24 performance. As did the long-running political drama itself in the best television dramatic ensemble category, to the trendy new Lost. Which I like a lot, however, but how about it, Mr. Abrams, the show’s not going to go all Twin Peaks on us with answers that are never really answers, is it?