Screen Actors Guild (SAG) & Directors Guild of America (DGA) winners: Crashing ‘Brokeback Mountain’ awards season party
Ang Lee’s gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain remains – by far – this awards season’s favorite release in the United States. Except, that is, among Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award voters. Among this year’s winners of the various Actor statuettes – a.k.a. the SAG Awards – announced on Jan. 29, are the following:
- As expected, Best Actress Reese Witherspoon for her portrayal of country singer June Carter in James Mangold’s Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, starring SAG Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix as Cash.
- Also as expected, awards season fave Philip Seymour Hoffman was named Best Actor for his performance as another real-life character, flamboyant gay writer/gossiper Truman Capote in Bennett Miller’s Capote, about the author’s emotional travails while researching for/writing In Cold Blood.
- Once again as expected, Best Supporting Actress Rachel Weisz for her doomed human rights fighter in Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener. But … supporting? Weisz is actually the female lead in the political/socially conscious Kenya-set thriller; in fact, she has been getting recognition as such in Britain.
- Somewhat surprisingly, Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti for Ron Howard’s boxing drama and box office disappointment Cinderella Man, starring SAG Award nominee Russell Crowe. Matt Dillon and George Clooney would have been more likely picks for, respectively, Best Cast winner Crash (see below) and Syriana, in which the well-liked Hollywood superstar looks disheveled, unshaven, and overweight.
- And the biggest surprise of the evening: Paul Haggis’ ethnically conscious melodrama Crash – instead of Brokeback Mountain – was named the 2005 release with the Best Cast: Matt Dillon, fellow Best Supporting Actor SAG Award nominee Don Cheadle, Jennifer Esposito, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillippe, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Larenz Tate.
Curiously, Brokeback Mountain had received three SAG Award nominations: Best Actor for Heath Ledger, Best Supporting Actress for Michelle Williams, and Best Supporting Actor for Jake Gyllenhaal. Despite its extensive name cast and myriad “climactic” sequences, Crash only had two SAG nods, for Dillon and Cheadle – both of whom lost to Paul Giamatti.
So, how could Crash win Best Cast?
SAG voters prefer all-star ensembles
Well, when it comes to the SAG Awards’ Best Cast category, it does help for movies to have large ensembles – especially large all-star ensembles. Past SAG winners include:
- 1995 (the SAG Awards’ first year): Apollo 13 (Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, Kathleen Quinlan, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise).
- 1998: Shakespeare in Love (Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Imelda Staunton, etc.)
- 2000: Traffic (Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Topher Grace, Amy Irving, Albert Finney, etc.).
- 2001: Gosford Park (Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Alan Bates, Eileen Atkins, Ryan Phillippe, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Watson, Derek Jacobi, Charles Dance, Stephen Fry, etc.).
- 2002: Chicago (Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, Colm Feore, John C. Reilly, Lucy Liu, Dominic West, etc.).
- 2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, etc.).
Brokeback Mountain, on the other hand, is chiefly a two-character piece (the two lovestruck cowboys), with one additional small – albeit important – role (the cuckolded wife of one of the cowboys).
So perhaps the Crash win shouldn’t have been such a surprise. After all, Haggis’ film is the cinematic embodiment of an (all-star) ensemble piece.
Best Picture ‘Crash’?
Now, some will say that its Best Cast SAG Award win indicates that Crash has suddenly become the movie to beat at the 2006 Academy Awards. That’s largely because many misperceive the SAG Awards’ Best Cast category as its “Best Picture Oscar” equivalent – as if there weren’t a sizable difference between “Best Film of the Year” and “Best Acting Ensemble of the Year.”
The following are previous Best Cast SAG winners that failed to win the Best Picture Oscar: Apollo 13, The Birdcage, The Full Monty, Traffic, Gosford Park, and last year’s Sideways. That’s six out of a total of ten Best Cast winners to date.
For the record, The Birdcage ended up shortlisted in one single Oscar category: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration; the other five movies did garner multiple nominations including Best Picture.
So, following its SAG Award win, is Crash about to overtake Brokeback Mountain?
Not necessarily. Brokeback Mountain remains the 2006 Oscars’ favorite. Indeed, the night before the SAG Awards the “gay Western” earned Ang Lee the Directors Guild of America Award. See further below.
More SAG Award winners: Veteran Paul Newman & double winner Felicity Huffman
In the SAG Awards’ Primetime Television categories, notable winners included big-screen veteran Paul Newman (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Sting), named 2005’s Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for Fred Schepisi’s two-part drama Empire Falls, and Best Actress in a Television Comedy Series Felicity Huffman for Desperate Housewives.
The latter was a triple SAG Award nominee: along with her fellow Desperate Housewives cast members, Huffman also won the Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series award, in addition to having been shortlisted in the Theatrical Motion Pictures’ Best Actress category for Duncan Tucker’s father(-to-mother)-son comedy-drama Transamerica.
Lastly, Shirley Temple, the dimple-faced, curly-haired, tap-dancing brat of numerous 20th Century Fox films of the 1930s – e.g., Poor Little Rich Girl, Wee Willie Winkie, The Little Princess – was given the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.
See immediately below the full list of 2006 SAG Award winners and nominees. Further down is a partial list of this year’s DGA Award winners and nominees.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards: Winners & nominations
Theatrical Motion Pictures
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man - Jim Braddock.
* Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote - Truman Capote.
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain - Ennis Del Mar.
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line - John R. Cash.
David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck. - Edward R. Murrow.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents - Mrs. Laura Henderson.
Felicity Huffman, Transameria - Bree.
Charlize Theron, North Country - Josey Aimes.
* Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line - June Carter.
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha - Sayuri.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Don Cheadle, Crash - Graham.
George Clooney, Syriana - Bob Barnes.
Matt Dillon, Crash - Officer Ryan.
* Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man - Joe Gould.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain - Jack Twist.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Junebug - Ashley.
Catherine Keener, Capote - Nelle Harper Lee.
Frances McDormand, North Country - Glory.
* Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener - Tessa Quayle.
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain - Alma.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Linda Cardellini - Cassie.
Anna Faris - Lashawn Malone.
Jake Gyllenhaal - Jack Twist.
Anne Hathaway - Lureen Phillips.
Heath Ledger - Ennis Del Mar.
Randy Quaid - Joe Aguirre.
Michelle Williams - Alma.
Bob Balaban - William Shawn.
Clifton Collins Jr. - Perry Smith.
Chris Cooper - Alvin Dewey.
Bruce Greenwood - Jack Dunphy.
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Truman Capote.
Catherine Keener - Nelle Harper Lee.
Mark Pellegrino - Dick Hickock.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges - Anthony.
Sandra Bullock - Jean Cabot.
Don Cheadle - Graham.
Matt Dillon - Officer Ryan.
Jennifer Esposito - Ria.
Brendan Fraser - Rick Cabot.
Terrence Howard - Cameron Thayer.
Thandie Newton - Christine Thayer.
Ryan Phillippe - Thomas Hansen.
Larenz Tate - Peter.
Good Night and Good Luck.
Rose Abdoo - Millie Lerner.
Alex Borstein - Natalie.
Robert John Burke - Charlie Mack.
Patricia Clarkson - Shirley Wershba.
George Clooney - Fred Friendly.
Jeff Daniels - Sig Mickelson.
Reed Diamond - John Aaron.
Tate Donovan - Jesse Zousmer.
Robert Downey Jr. - Joe Wershba.
Grant Heslov - Don Hewitt.
Peter Jacobson - Jimmy.
Frank Langella - William Paley.
Tom McCarthy - Palmer Williams.
Diane Reeves - Jazz Singer.
Matt Ross - Eddie Scott.
David Strathairn - Edward R. Murrow.
Ray Wise - Don Hollenbeck.
Hustle & Flow
Anthony Anderson - Key.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges - Skinny Black.
Isaac Hayes - Arnel.
Taraji P. Henson - Shug.
Terrence Howard -DJay.
Taryn Manning - Nola.
Elise Neal - Yevette.
Paula Jai Parker - Lexus.
D.J. Qualls - Shelby.
Life Achievement Award: Shirley Temple.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Kenneth Branagh, Warm Springs - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Ted Danson, Knights of the South Bronx - David MacEnulty.
Ed Harris, Empire Falls - Miles Roby.
* Paul Newman, Empire Falls - Max Roby.
Christopher Plummer, Our Fathers - Cardinal Bernard Law.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Tonantzin Carmelo, Into the West - Thunder Heart Woman.
* S. Epatha Merkerson, Lackawanna Blues - Rachel “Nanny” Crosby.
Cynthia Nixon, Warm Springs - Eleanor Roosevelt.
Joanne Woodward, Empire Falls - Francine Whiting.
Robin Wright Penn, Empire Falls - Grace Roby.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Patricia Arquette, Medium - Allison Dubois.
Geena Davis, Commander in Chief - Mackenzie Allen.
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Det. Olivia Benson.
* Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy - Dr. Cristina Yang.
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer - Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Alda, THE WEST WING - Arnold Vinick.
Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy - Dr. Derek Shepherd.
Hugh Laurie, House - Dr. Gregory House.
Ian McShane, Deadwood - Al Swearengen.
* Kiefer Sutherland, 24 Jack Bauer.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal - Shirley Schmidt.
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond - Debra Barone.
* Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives - Lynette Scavo.
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace - Karen Walker.
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds - Nancy Botwin.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm - Himself.
* Sean Hayes, Will & Grace - Jack McFarland.
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl - Earl Hickey.
William Shatner, Boston Legal - Denny Crane.
James Spader, Boston Legal - Alan Shore.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (partial list of individual nominees)
Emilie de Ravin.
Six Feet Under
Michael C. Hall.
The West Wing
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (partial list of individual nominees)
Portia de Rossi.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
* Desperate Housewives
Everybody Loves Raymond
My Name Is Earl
Directors Guild Awards winners & nominations (partial list)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Kief Davidson & Richard Ladkani, The Devil’s Miner.
* Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man.
Sean McAllister, The Liberace of Baghdad.
Rupert Murray, Unknown White Male.
Brent Renaud & Craig Renaud, Off to War: Welcome to Baghdad.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television (tie)
Darnell Martin, Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God.
James Sadwith, Elvis.
* Joseph Sargent, Warm Springs.
Fred Schepisi, Empire Falls.
* George C. Wolfe, Lackawanna Blues.
* Michael Apted, Rome – “The Stolen Eagle.”
Alan Ball, Six Feet Under – “Everyone’s Waiting.”
Paris Barclay, House – “Three Stories.”
Peter Horton, Grey’s Anatomy – “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Jeff Melman, Grey’s Anatomy – “Into You Like a Train.”
* Marc Buckland, My Name is Earl - “Pilot.”
James Burrows, Will and Grace - “Alive and Schtiking.”
Larry Charles, Curb Your Enthusiasm - “The End.”
Julian Farino, Entourage - “Exodus.”
Bryan Gordon, Curb Your Enthusiasm - “Korean Bookie.”
Lifetime Achievement Award: Clint Eastwood.
Frank Capra Achievement Award (Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager): Jerry H. Ziesmer.
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award (for an Associate Director or Stage Manager): Donald Jacob.
Screen Actors Guild website.
Directors Guild of America website.
Image of Shaun Toub and Michael Peña in Best Cast SAG Award winner Crash: Lionsgate Films.
Felicity Huffman Desperate Housewives image: Walt Disney Studios / ABC.
“SAG & DGA Awards: Crashing Gay Cowboy Party + Paul Newman & Shirley Temple Return” last updated in August 2018.