The SAG Awards: Inglourious Actours

"Speak the banter, I pray you, trippingly on the tongue."
- Hamlet's advice to Felicity Huffman

Time for the annual Screen Actresses Guild Awards, where actors congratulate themselves and their peers for doing the jobs they wished they had gotten. It's something to do while we wait for Lost to start up again.

They opened with well-known actors and actresses doing mildly-amusing (very mildly) little bits about their early careers. Since it's well-known that there are more and better roles available for men than for women, the actresses all claimed to be actors. However, most of them were unconvincing.

Sherri Shepherd revealed that she has a long history of believing strange fantasies to be true, as she spoke of having imagined herself married to Michael Jackson, saying, "As husband and wife, I never pictured us having sex." Michael never pictured it either. I can't see it myself, for which I am very glad.

When Jeremy Irons followed Shepherd, instead of "I'm an actor," I expected him to say, "and I'm actually an actor."

Did Kate Hudson dress in a rush? Because her frock was only half-finished. It was very chilly in Los Angeles yesterday. She could have caught her death. Since Kate and Justin Timberlake weren't getting any laughs with their non-comic comic banter, Kate laughed at her own non-jokes for us.

Alec Baldwin won Best Male Actress in a TV Comedy Series, apparently because his nomination clip was the only one with a gag in it.

Since Quentin Tarantino knows I have been deliberately avoiding seeing Incorrect Spelling, they snuck a clip in. Didn't help, Quentin. I'm still not seeing it.

Tina Fey naturally won Best Female Actress in a TV Comedy Series because, well, she is. She also was wisely wearing a much-more attractive gown than the horror she wore to The Golden Globes the day before.

They presented a montage of funny moments from films and TV. You know, if that montage had been two-hours long, it would have been more entertaining than the awards show. They almost blew the montage right at the beginning, when it started with a clip of the monumentally-overrated Will Ferrell. How did the myth that Will Ferrell is funny originate?

The cast of Glee won Best Male Ensemble of Actresses in a Comedy TV Series, and they didn't even sing. They gave one award to the entire ensemble. Who gets to keep it?

They're still trying to get me to see Precious, even stooping to having the woman who stars in it (in, I assume, widescreen) smile. Give up. I'm not going to see it. I like movies that amuse me, not movies that are good for me.

Best Male Actress in a Supporting Role in a Film Not Released Direct-to-Video went to the Nazi. He explained to us the difference between being live onstage or projected onscreen. All the newly-arrived Martians in the house were grateful for the enlightenment. He also indicated that "sometimes" an actor is worthy of a director like Tarantino, or a producer like Harvey Weinstein. Has he considered a plea bargain?

It turns out Felicity Huffman is blind, or unable to attend rehearsal, or both.

Best Female Actress in a Drama TV Series went to Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife. How have they made a whole TV series out of a storyline good for, at best, one press conference? She said her parents call her after every broadcast, I assume to tell her what happened on Leno.

Best Male Actress in a Drama TV Series went to Michael C. Hall, who still hasn't sprung for a wig. Given that the actors themselves vote on these awards, when only one nominee gets cheers as the nominees' names are read, it's something of a giveaway that he will win. Hall thanked his wife for wearing "that dress." I expected her to burst into tears, crying "He used to like me naked."

Turns out that Carey Mulligan, who was wonderful in Blink, the best episode of Doctor Who ever, has made a movie, and she's pretty good in it also.

Best Female Ensemble Cast in a Drama Series went to Mad Men which is kind of ironic, but at least it didn't go to that series about vampires. Robert Morse is in this winning cast, and since I adore Bobby, I'm all in favor of this award. But honestly, they're just playing human beings. The cast of True Blood are playing vampires! Vampires don't exist. They have to play people who look like runway models for hundreds of years. Now that takes acting!

SAG President Ken Howard, who looks to be bulking up to play President Taft, said that "there are no tougher critics than other actors." I guess he's never heard of John Simon. Come to think of it, Rex Reed is a tougher critic than most actors.

Betty White deservedly won the SAG Life Achievement Award. She really should win two of them, as she's lived almost two lifetimes, and first began acting in the original production of Antigone back in 442 BC. Betty's been around so long, they named the union "SAG" in her honor.

This award is usually given to an actor on the brink of death, but nothing can kill Betty White. Frankenstein made her to live for always. Her genius showed in the way she got a genuine laugh in a 60 year old clip of her saying "They go doing," from Life With Elizabeth. Her clip package also showed again her bashing in darling little Leslie Jordan's brains on Boston Legal. One can never get enough of that clip. Well, Leslie can.

Betty claimed to be 88. Still lying about your age, eh darling? Well, what's two or three decades among friends? She mentioned that she'd "maybe had a couple" of the men present. (She does couples? Betty!) Matt Damon turned beet red and started coughing, while Morgan Freeman looked proud just to have schtupped anyone named "White." Betty darling, I love you, and I'm so glad still to have a woman in SAG who is older than I am.

Best Passing-for-Female Actress in a TV Movie went to Drew Barrymore for playing unattractive. I was distracted during her speech because she left her award facing backwards, and that statuette has one nice tushie. To whichever gay man designed that award: it's lovely. Drew said, "Improv is usually a good thing," which shows she hasn't sat through some of the amateur improv I have. Not everyone does it as well as my Second City friends. Drew said of the Screen Actors Guild that "all 120,000 members are just incredible." She knows all 120,000 members? And frankly, it they were credible, they'd be better actors.

Someone called Michelle Monahan said, "Television continues to be a brave new home for groundbreaking drama and storytelling," so I assume she doesn't own a television.

Outstanding Performance by a Pre-Op Transexual Soon-to-Be-Actress in a TV Program No One Saw was won by Kevin Bacon for - I don't know - Was it Animal House? I liked Kevin's black-on-black tux.

In introducing the Dead Actor's montage, Sigourney Weaver said: "We have lost so many uniquely talented people, among them a golden girl..." at which point Betty White stood up and screamed, "I'm dead?" Watch how you phrase things, Sig. You could have done what the 100 Years War couldn't: kill Betty White. She also referred to Farrah Fawcett as "one of Charlie's brightest angels," which showed she missed Farrah's infamous Letterman appearance. How about, "one of Charlie's most-popular angels" instead?

[Side note: At the risk of being sincere for a sentence or two, lovely Jean Simmons passed away Friday, apparently too late to make the montage. I had the joy of working with her once, very briefly, 36 years ago, and she was as warm, kind, thoughtful, and gorgeous in reality as she appeared on screen. She did me a very huge favor utterly gratuitously, and I will always remember the wonderful woman she was, as well as the superb actress.

"Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, and therefore I forbid my tears," - Hamlet, Act IV, scene 7, line 187.

Returning to snark mode ---- now!]

Outstanding Drag Queen Wanna-Be in Support Hose in a Movie went to, oh no, Mo'Nique again. There was a delay, as Mo'Nique was over at The Beverly Hills Hotel, still giving her endless Golden Globes acceptance speech, much to the bewilderment of the guests at the Sheldon Rabinowitz Bar Mitzvah, while her lawyers negotiated settlements with the people who lost houses in the mudslides unleashed by her unending tears. It hasn't been raining all week in Los Angeles, as widely misreported in the press. It was just Mo'Nique's blubbering over her award last Sunday.

The wait while Mo'Nique was driven over to the Shrine was used to cover everything in plastic tarps, and to pack sandbags around the stage, and apparently into the backside of Mo'Nique's frock.

Mo'Nique resisted tears this time though, instead opting to read her speech as serious and angry. (Maybe she read my Golden Globes piece in the limo ride between venues.) If she wins the Oscar for this role (Please no!), she'll have to find a third way to demonstrate no sense of perspective at all. She thanked a lot of people whom she feared wouldn't get mentioned on TV. I feared they would. One was "the little girl that we called Mongo. Her name is Quashey." I'm guessing at the spelling of "Quashey," but really, it that an improvement over "Mongo"? At least I can spell "Mongo." What's wrong with "Sally"?

She managed to resist thanking God this time, perhaps because God let her know She was supporting Anna Kendrick in this category. (Believe it or not, God always loses the Heaven Office Awards Pool. Satan has a much better line on who will win awards.)

Meryl Streep was wearing a frock designed by whoever designed Rorschach's mask in Watchmen. I saw leaves in a tornado during a blizzard. Or maybe it was kittens romping. Anyway, she was awarding Best Male Actress in a Leading Role in a Film You Had to Leave the House to See. The award went to lovely old Jeff Bridges for Starman, which frankly took them long enough. He may have been giving the exact same performance Mickey Roarke gave in The Wrestler last year, but unlike Mickey, everyone loves Jeffy, and he's much more pleasant to sit downwind of. Jeff confessed to getting his vocal coaching for the singing over the phone. That explains so much. I'm guessing it wasn't a landline.

Then out came Warren Beatty, who had just finishing throwing Betty White one backstage. According to his recently-published biography, Warren has had sex with everyone present except Jeff Bridges, so he had to hurry his presenting of Outstanding Actress of Indeterminate Gender in A Future-Release DVD, before Jeff got away. He read the nominations out of a little black book, while politely omitting each nominee's number of stars.

Winner Sandra Bullock's husband has creepy hand tattoos. I'm sorry, but any man with tattoos on his hands or face is undoable. Is he trying to get cast in Oz? Because that series finished shooting several years ago.

George Clooney confessed to having slept with Betty White years earlier for a guest spot on The Golden Girls, like we didn't know. Betty wouldn't do him now. He's too old. Dare we ask how he got his role on Roseanne?

Clooney was giving out the final award, Best Sexually-Ambiguous Group of Actors and Actresses in a Free Guild Screener, which went to Quentin Tarantino's bloodfest Illiterate Illegitimates. Maybe they were very good. I'll never know. My understanding is that it's about a group of Jewish brokers re-selling tickets to Broadway shows to Nazis at inflated prices.

Well anytime awards are being given to Quentin Tarantino films, it's time for me to shut the TV off, and start the serious drinking. I'll be back in a little over two weeks when I begin recapping the next season of Survivor. Until then, Cheers darlings.

To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life.