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Best Actress SAG Award: Boxer Beats Diva in Rematch

Million Dollar Baby Best Actress Hilary Swank Clint EastwoodMillion Dollar Baby with Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood. Eastwood’s surrogate father-daughter boxing drama Million Dollar Baby earned SAG Awards for Best Actress Hilary Swank and, more surprisingly, for Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman.
  • In a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards rematch, steadfast boxer Hilary Swank has defeated temperamental stage star Annette Bening in the Best Actress category.
  • Four-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Katharine Hepburn has finally “won” a competitive SAG Award – for Cate Blanchett.

Loyal boxer Hilary Swank beats mercurial stage actress Annette Bening in SAG Awards rematch

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

There were few surprises at the 2005 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, held at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 5.

“Snubbed” at the BAFTAs, Hilary Swank was chosen Best Actress for her determined and steadfastly loyal boxer in Clint Eastwood’s sentimental surrogate father-daughter melodrama Million Dollar Baby, beating Annette Bening’s larger-than-life, All About Eve-ish London stage actress in István Szabó’s Being Julia and Imelda Staunton’s sweet-tempered working-class wife, mom, and abortionist in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake.

At the SAG Awards five years ago, Annette Bening defeated Hilary Swank in the Best Actress race, winning for Sam MendesAmerican Beauty. At the Oscars, however, Swank came out victorious for her work in Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry.

Katharine Hepburn ‘wins’ her first competitive The Actor statuette

Now, would you believe that four-time Best Actress Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn has finally earned a competitive SAG Award?

Nominated as Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries for One Christmas (1994) and the recipient of a Life Achievement Award (1980), Hepburn – who died in June 2003 – earned Cate Blanchett the 2005 The Actor statuette in the Best Supporting Actress category.

In Martin Scorsese’s big-budget Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, Blanchett delivers a showy Hepburn impersonation during her time as the “companion” of Texan billionaire/movie mogul (played by SAG Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio).

Morgan Freeman surprise

As expected, awards season fave Jamie Foxx was named the SAG Awards’ Best Actor for his performance as another real-life U.S. celebrity, singer Ray Charles, in Taylor Hackford’s commercially successful biopic Ray.

Equally unsurprising, the acting ensemble in Alexander Payne’s Wine Country road movie Sideways – featuring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, and Sandra Oh – took home the Best Cast award.

In fact, the only surprise of the evening was the choice of Morgan Freeman as Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby. Thus far, Thomas Haden Church has been the runaway favorite in that category for his (co-lead) portrayal of Sideways’ childish, egocentric, and sex-starved actor.

‘Godawful’ Clint Eastwood

Thought of the Day:

Considering Hilary Swank’s and Morgan Freeman’s individual wins alongside Sideways’ Best Cast victory, it kinda looks like a number of SAG Award voters felt that veteran Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Unforgiven), who was bypassed in the Best Actor category, was pretty godawful as Swank’s Million Dollar Baby boxing trainer/surrogate father.

It’s as if Eastwood was perceived as a thespian black hole, sucking in all of his fellow players’ SAG Award-worthy starlight.

SAG’s Life Achievement Award goes to James Garner

And finally, the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award recipient was big- and small-screen star James Garner (The Thrill of It All, Grand Prix, the TV series The Rockford Files), who had also been in the running in the Best Supporting Actor (Film) category for Nick Cassavetes’ romantic drama The Notebook.

Garner had three previous SAG Award nominations, each for his work in a TV Movie or Miniseries: The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A. (1994), The Rockford Files: A Blessing in Disguise (1995), and Legalese (1998).

To date, he has received one single Oscar nomination: in the Best Actor category for Martin Ritt’s Murphy’s Romance (1985).

An aside: James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner) and Best Actress in a Drama Series SAG Award winner Jennifer Garner (born Jennifer Anne Garner) are not related.

Best Actress Glenn Close The Lion in WinterBest Actress Glenn Close in The Lion in Winter: Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries. Close had been previously shortlisted in that same SAG Award category for Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995) and In the Gloaming (1997).

SAG Awards: Winners & nominees + another Katharine Hepburn connection

Note one more Katharine Hepburn-SAG Awards 2005 connection: Glenn Close was named Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries for bringing to life Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter – a role that, in early 1969, earned Hepburn her third Best Actress Academy Award (tied with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl).

For the record, Hepburn’s three other Best Actress Oscar wins were for Lowell Sherman’s Morning Glory (1932–33), Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), and Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond (1981). Anthony Harvey directed the big-screen version of The Lion in Winter.

See below the list of this year’s SAG Award winners and nominees.


Annette Bening, Being Julia.
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace.
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake.
* Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Supporting Actress
* Cate Blanchett, The Aviator.
Cloris Leachman, Spanglish.
Laura Linney, Kinsey.
Virginia Madsen, Sideways.
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda.

Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda.
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator.
* Jamie Foxx, Ray.
Paul Giamatti, Sideways.

Supporting Actor
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.
Jamie Foxx, Collateral.
* Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby.
James Garner, The Notebook.
Freddie Highmore, Finding Neverland.

The Aviator.
Finding Neverland.
Hotel Rwanda.
Million Dollar Baby.
* Sideways.


Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
* Glenn Close, The Lion in Winter.
Patricia Heaton, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl.
Keke Palmer, The Wool Cap.
Hilary Swank, Iron Jawed Angels.
Charlize Theron, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Jamie Foxx, Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.
William H. Macy, The Wool Cap.
Barry Pepper, 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story.
* Geoffrey Rush, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.
Jon Voight, Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Actor – Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development.
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace.
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond.
* Tony Shalhoub, Monk.
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men.

Actress – Comedy Series
* Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City.
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond.

Actor – Drama Series
Hank Azaria, Huff.
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos.
Anthony LaPaglia, Without a Trace.
* Jerry Orbach, Law & Order.
Kiefer Sutherland, 24.

Actress – Drama Series
Drea de Matteo, The Sopranos.
Edie Falco, The Sopranos.
* Jennifer Garner, Alias.
Allison Janney, The West Wing.
Christine Lahti, Jack & Bobby.

Cast – Comedy Series
Arrested Development.
* Desperate Housewives.
Everybody Loves Raymond.
Sex and the City.
Will & Grace.

Cast – Drama Series
* CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Six Feet Under.
The Sopranos.
The West Wing.

“Best Actress SAG Award” endnotes

Screen Actors Guild Awards website.

Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby image: Warner Bros.

Glenn Close The Lion in Winter image: Showtime Networks.

“Best Actress SAG Award: Boxer Beats Diva in Rematch” last updated in September 2021.

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