'Modern Family,' Betty White come up big at SAG

Updated: 2012-01-30 10:39


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'Modern Family,' Betty White come up big at SAG

Actress Betty White accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for "Hot in Cleveland", at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 29, 2012.[Photo/Agencies]

Hollywood's actors picked veteran performers, Alec Baldwin, Betty White and the comedy "Modern Family" as three of their top TV winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.

The offbeat "Modern Family" claimed its second straight win for best TV comedy, while Baldwin was named best actor in a TV comedy for the sixth year for his role as a TV executive on "30 Rock," and White, who turned 90-year-old earlier this month, took the comedy actress trophy for a second time in "Hot in Cleveland."

An obviously surprised White acknowledged her co-stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick.

The win "belongs with four of us," she said, then looked at her statuette with a gleam in her eye and a joke on her mind. "I'm dealing them right-in with this. I'm not going to let them keep this, but I will let them see it."

In other TV awards, Kate Winslet was named best actress in a small-screen movie or miniseries for "Mildred Pierce," and Paul Giamatti won the trophy for actor in a movie or mini-series with "Too Big to Fail."

While SAG honors TV performances, the group's film awards are more closely watched for their impact on Oscars because actors make up the biggest voting group at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which picks Oscar winners.

Film actors taking home early SAG honors included Christopher Plummer with the first film honor for supporting actor. Plummer, 82, who plays an elderly man who comes out of the closet as gay much to the chagrin of his family, thanked his fellow actors from the stage, calling them a wacky but wonderful bunch of artists.

"I just can't tell you what fun I've had being a member of the world's second oldest profession," Plummer joked on stage. "When they honor you, it's like being lit by the holy grail. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The second film award went to Octavia Spencer for supporting actress in a movie, "The Help," that proved to be a surprise over Berenice Bejo of silent film romance, "The Artist."


Many of Hollywood's biggest film stars including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Williams turned out on the red carpet, as did TV's Julianna Margulies, Lea Michelle and other TV actresses and actors.

As with previous Hollywood honors programs, many of the women showed off low-cut or strapless gowns. Some wore vintage or sequined dresses. Colors -- violets, reds and teals -- proved popular. The men wore tuxedos or stylish suits with bow ties.

Awards in top film categories will be given out later, and "The Artist," a romantic tale of a fading actor in the slumping silent movie era whose career is eclipsed by the woman he loves, aims to do well in two groups, ensemble cast and lead actor.

But it faces stiff competition from civil rights-era drama "The Help," which has four nominations, more than any movie, as well as from George Clooney-starring "The Descendants."

The actors in all three of those movies, along with the performers in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and the ladies of comedy "Bridesmaids," will compete for the night's top honor, best ensemble cast in a film.

In other SAG races, Clooney, playing a father struggling to keep his family together, squares off against Jean Dujardin of "Artist" fame and Brad Pitt for his role as a numbers-crunching baseball executive in "Moneyball." The other two nominees in that category are Demian Bichir in the little seen "A Better Life" and Leonardo DiCaprio for "J. Edgar."

The SAG race for best actress is seen as a tight one among Meryl Streep playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," Viola Davis as a maid in "The Help" and Michelle Williams for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn."

Rounding out that category are Glenn Close in a gender-bending role as a butler in "Albert Nobbs" and Tilda Swinton as a troubled mother in dark drama, "We Need to Talk about Kevin."

The Oscars will be given out on February 26 in Hollywood.