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WGA strike a hot topic at SAG Awards
Dave McNary, Variety Staff, writes:
Though Sunday evening's SAG Awards were
picket-free, actors at the glitzy event did take a cue from their WGA
siblings, remarking on the 3-month-old writers strike in comments both
onstage and off.
On the red carpet at the Shrine, during acceptance
speeches and in the press room, high-profile SAG members made it clear
that they support the scribes unequivocally. Dozens of actors sported
silver-and-black WGA lapel pins for the occasion.
The strike wasn't mentioned much during the two-hour telecast itself but always elicited a positive response when it was. Julie Christie, receiving the lead actress award for "Away From Her," provoked some of the night's loudest cheers when she referred to the strike at the top of her speech.
you very much indeed for this," she said. "It's lovely to receive an
award from your own union. Especially at a time when they're being so
forcefully reminded how important unions are."
"All unions are
important," Christie said later in the press room. "Without unions, we
would not have anyone to represent us over injustices."
a risky movie, and it's nice to have risky movies now, especially this
year, which is a cornucopia of change. … The studio system is
backfiring and it's fun for us actors.
SAG has been the staunchest supporter of the WGA during the strike. At the show's midpoint, SAG president Alan Rosenberg
saluted several other showbiz unions, then added, "When the pioneers of
our union were drawing up guidelines, they looked to the Writers Guild
for inspiration. This began a treasured solidarity that continues
SAG's current contract expires June 30. It hasn't yet
scheduled negotiations and fear of a possible actors walkout has
spurred studios to stockpile.
"Our predecessors achieved so much
on our behalf," Rosenberg added. "But these achievements come with an
obligation: to keep on fighting so that generations of actors who
follow us can continue to create."
He then introduced WGA West president Patric Verrone, who received a round of applause.
Lead film actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis made it clear backstage that he won't attend the Feb. 24 Oscars if SAG advises him not to cross a WGA picket line.
"I'd abide by the decision of my union," Day-Lewis said in the press room after receiving the trophy for "There Will Be Blood."
"I've just been given this very lovely award from my union. I'm a
card-carrying member of my union and whatever decision they make is
going to be the right one."
Tina Fey, who won the acting award in comedy series for "30 Rock,"
is also a member of the WGA. She thanked SAG members at the conclusion
of her acceptance speech for that support and later offered an upbeat
oultook about the prospect for a WGA settlement soon.
they can resolve it," she said in the press room. "We are exactly the
kind of show that's put into jeopardy by the strike. I feel optimistic
that this will be solved soon."
Asked backstage how members of "The Office" would celebrate their award for best comedy ensemble, thesp Leslie David Baker said wryly, "We'll probably stay out all night because we're not working."