Just after I filed a report about how the DGA Awards pretty much signify the death knell for any Oscar chances for ‘The Social Network’, the Screen Actors Guild Awards came along and kicked me while I was down. Guess which movie won two of the four major “actors” prizes? Yep… That damn stuttering king.
You’ll see the full list of winners below. Basically, ‘The King’s Speech’ won for Best Actor and Best Cast (the “Best Picture” equivalent, since SAG only honors performances and not all that messy technical or creative stuff that goes into making movies). Natalie Portman won for Best Actress, which cements her as easily trumping Annette Bening at the Oscars. Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor for his live-wire turn in ‘The Fighter’. And Melissa Leo (who, the more I see her, the more I can’t stand her) won for her similarly impassioned Supporting performance in ‘The Fighter’.
Now, if I can just complain about ‘The King’s Speech’, and this particular win for a moment. How many characters are even in ‘The King’s Speech’? If you whittle the movie down to its essence, it’s a three-character piece with Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter. Sure, Guy Pearce is in there, and Michael Gambon plays the recently-deceased king, and I think Wormtail makes an appearance as future warmonger Winston Churchill –but you can probably count on one hand all the scenes that aren’t immediately concerned with the three main characters.
This lack of scope and character only intensifies the movie’s “televisual” feel.
‘The Social Network’, on the other hand, has a dozen or so main speaking roles, all forced to speak the bramble-bush-thick dialogue of Aaron Sorkin. One actor had to be doubled to play two roles, and even the minor characters (like John Getz’ attorney Sal or Joseph Mazzello’s Dustin) have flash and memorable personalities. What’s even more impressive is the age and relative inexperience of much of the cast. There’s something inherently wrongheaded about awarding a critically beloved film every major award just because it’s beloved. The better film is clearly being overlooked here. And why? Because ‘The King’s Speech’ is austere and uncomplicated? It’s beyond me.
Oh, and yay ‘Boardwalk Empire’! I loves me some Prohibition Era gangsters! Their suits are so good!
Anyway, the winners:
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
‘The King’s Speech’
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Colin Firth, ‘The King’s Speech’
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Natalie Portman, ‘Black Swan’
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, ‘The Fighter’
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo, ‘The Fighter’
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, ‘Boardwalk Empire’
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies, ‘The Good Wife’
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, ’30 Rock’
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Betty White, ‘Hot in Cleveland’
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Al Pacino, ‘You Don’t Know Jack’
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Claire Danes, ‘Temple Grandin’