Okay, time for a second look at the television SAG Awards — or the only time when TV actors get to believe that movie stars give a shit about them. Bryan’s picks are here, and we see more eye to eye in the TV categories than in the movie categories.
For his analysis, Bryan looked at the SAG Awards’ short history. (This is only their 14th year.) I’ll take a different road, comparing the SAGs to the 2007 Emmies and the Golden Globes from a few weeks ago. I thought this would be a rather brilliant approach, but it turns out these three shows rarely intersect in any major ways. This means one of two things: either actors get too shitfaced at awards galas to remember the winners, or they like having a show of their own and therefore try to differentiate themselves from the critical awards shows. It’s actually probably a combination of the two, especially since the stars get both Emmy and Golden Globe results before they have to turn in their SAG votes.
(Final ballots were due yesterday.)
So for the six major primetime television categories, I’ll list Bryan’s choice alongside the ’07 Emmy winner and the ’08 Golden Globe winner. Then comes my attempt to get inside the head of your typical SAG award voter: a half-drunk, well-to-do actor with way better shit to do than vote for some stupid guild show.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Bryan’s pick: ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy – “30 Rock”
Emmy winner: RICKY GERVAIS / Andy Millman – “Extras”
Globe winner: DAVID DUCHOVNY / Hank Moody – “Californication”
First things first: rule out Duchovny, as he’s not nominated. That leaves us a three-man race, with Gervais as the unemployed actor, Steve Carell as the small time boss, and Baldwin as the well-dressed guy who owns them both. My guess is that Gervais’ performance hits a little too close to home for voting actors who were or still are in the position of chasing real fame, so it comes down to Carell versus Baldwin. As much as I love Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, I think actors are slowly realizing how much more fun an awards show is if you put Steve Carell on stage for an acceptance speech. For that absolutely preposterous reason, I’m choosing Carell for his first-ever SAG Award.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Bryan’s pick: TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 Rock”
Emmy winner: AMERICA FERRERA / Betty Suarez – “Ugly Betty”
Golden Globe winner: TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 Rock”
When SAG voters got their voting ballot, they probably saw Christina Applegate’s nom for Samantha Who? and thought, “Christina who?” So rule her out. There’s also no shot for Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) and a very slim chance for Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds. So it’s down to Ferrera versus Fey: Emmy winner against Globe winner. I’ll agree with Bryan and go with Fey — if not for her brilliant work on 30 Rock, then for her convincing role as comedy’s superwoman in that American Express ad.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan’s pick: JON HAMM / Don Draper – “Mad Men”
Emmy winner: JAMES SPADER / Alan Shore – “Boston Legal”
Globe winner: JON HAMM / Don Draper – “Mad Men”
For the record, James Spader’s win at the 2007 Emmy Awards was more or less completely unexpected. He ended up giving a great acceptance speech, which softened the blow of his victory over a slue of better performances. It was kind of like the Emmy voters conceded their inability to pick between James Gandolfini (Sopranos) and Hugh Laurie (House), instead picking the class clown for comic effect. (No disrespect to Spader; his performance on Boston Legal is rather fantastic, but the character isn’t as standout as his peers.)
But don’t expect a Spader repeat tomorrow night. I’m going with Hugh Laurie — a second win in two years. He really shouldn’t be in the running, as it’s James Gandolfini’s last year and Jon Hamm stars in perhaps the best show on TV. But the SAG voters have been content to vote for both Jerry Orbach (Law & Order) and Kiefer Sutherland (24) in past years, both of whom have nothing going for them besides being on some of the most high-profile shows on television. Laurie, for better or for worse, is the most-watched star in this category.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan’s pick: EDIE FALCO / Carmela Soprano – “The Sopranos”
Emmy winner: SALLY FIELD / Nora Walker – “Brothers & Sisters”
Globe winner: GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes – “Damages”
This award is the toughest, most up-in-the-air category of the night. There are good reasons to award all of the nominees, but none of them outside of Glenn Close were legitimate movie stars before TV stars. And her role on Damages is absolutely killer, so she’s my choice.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Comedy Series
Bryan’s pick: “Ugly Betty”
Emmy winner: “30 Rock”
Globe winner: “Extras”
Extras is not an option for SAG voters this year, so it comes down to 30 Rock, The Office and Ugly Betty. Without any male nominees, I discount Ugly Betty. And without any female nominees, I discount The Office. (Although Jenna Fischer deserves to be on that list.) That leaves 30 Rock, which in all seriousness should win this category. All the actors on that show, from Fey to Baldwin to Tracy Morgan, deserve their own poorly-written NBC spinoffs. Better yet, none of them would ever take one, which makes 30 that much more a unique entity.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Drama Series
Bryan’s pick: “The Sopranos”
Emmy winner: “The Sopranos”
Globe winner: “Mad Men”
To be fair, The Sopranos was not nominated for a 2008 Golden Globe, although I’m not sure why. It’s the clear winner in this category, for sentimental value and for actual dramatic merit. Although its legendary finale was more fuck-you than feel-good, that’s exactly the kind of thing that people (actors included) are bound to award.
Below is a recap of Jon’s Predictions for the SAG Awards. My disagreements with Bryan are marked with an (X).
Best Comedic Male: Steve Carell (X)
Best Comedic Female: Tina Fey
Best Dramatic Male: Hugh Laurie (X)
Best Dramatic Female: Glenn Close (X)
Best Comedic Ensemble: 30 Rock (X)
Best Drama Ensemble: The Sopranos