SAG Awards 2011: Backstage with Julianna Margulies, 'Modern Family,' Melissa Leo of 'The Fighter,' and many more
Image Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage.comWhat happens after the SAG Award winners accept their statuettes, give their speeches, and head off stage? They go backstage for a mini-media tour, of course, where they talk to the press and eventually make their way back to the main press room to take questions from all sorts of reporters, including yours truly from EW. It wasn’t until nearly an hour after the show started that the first winner made her way to the press room (thanks to The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies!), but after that, the winners came through in a near-constant parade, glowing all the way over the accolades they’d just gotten from their fellow actors. Here, enjoy a minute-by-minute, fly-on-the-wall account of the winners’ tours backstage from the Screen Actors Guild Awards press room.
5:56 p.m. PT: The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies — who took home a trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series — appears as the first winner to come backstage, looking composed and beautiful as always. (Would you honestly expect anything less?) Margulies talks about several topics, but most interestingly, how the most nerve-wracking part of the night is always the red carpet. She also tells the press about her first movie role, way back in 1994: She played, in her words, “a hooker with a heart of gold” opposite Steven Seagal in Out for Justice.
6:03 p.m. PT: The Fighter’s Melissa Leo — who won for Outstanding Performance by Female Actor in a Supporting Role — shows up backstage in her glittery dress. “I just don’t think about it,” Leo says about her nerves at awards shows. What’s the appeal of The Fighter? “It’s a great f—in’ movie.”
6:07 p.m. PT: Steve Buscemi and the rest of the Boardwalk Empire cast — he won for Outstanding Performance by Male Actor in a Drama Series and the cast won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series — take the stage to take questions. The ever-interesting Paz de la Huerta takes over answering questions from Buscemi quickly — she’s quickly proving to be one of the most interesting people from this cast. When a question comes up about de la Huerta’s nudity in Empire, she tells the media that she approaches the scenes just like any other and advises everyone with a stern turn: “Pay attention to the performance.”
6:24 p.m. PT: The bright and shiny cast of Modern Family including Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and Sofia Vergara — which just won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series — comes backstage to cheers from the press corps! The first to speak? The always-effervescent Sofia Vergara, of course. “Why do you put yours there?” Vergara screeches to Eric Stonestreet in her thick accent, after he put his SAG statuette on the tiny podium set aside for the awards (it’s intended for individual nominees, obviously). She cackles. As you might imagine, Vergara rules the room, as she’s the press darling. Someone asks: How does the cast stand being around the super-sexy Vergara all the time? “We got all the lurid comments out of the way about the fourth day of working together,” Stonestreet cracks. No doubt they did!
6:32 p.m. PT: A second reminder comes over the loudspeaker for winners to keep their speeches short, as the telecast is running over and they’re “in trouble.” Actors are encouraged, once again, to keep their acceptance speeches to 45 seconds or less.
6:38 p.m. PT: Life Achievement Award recipient, McHale’s Navy vet Ernest Borgnine, comes backstage to take two questions. He’s asked: Why is this so special to you tonight? “Above all, it’s from my peers, and what more can you say when your fellow actor says, ‘You!’? They already gave me an Oscar once, but to receive a thing like this again is beyond comprehension.” Borgnine then welcomes his wife of 38 years, the regal Tova Traesnaes, to the stage. “She’s the love of my life,” he sweetly says. Tova clarifies after Borgnine references their 38 years together: “I was four and a half [when we got married],” she cleverly offers up. On his way out, the publicist totes Borgnine’s award off the stage for him — hey, it’s huge! (The Life Achievement Award statuette is even bigger than the regular SAG statuettes, if you can imagine.)
6:46 p.m. PT: Temple Grandin winner Claire Danes — who won for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries — struts on stage. “This is the heaviest of them all,” she says of her SAG statuette. She’s first asked: Is it time to let go of Temple Grandin after she’s basically swept all the TV awards this season? “It does feel excessive at this point,” Danes says, with a smirk, in reference to previous Emmy and Golden Globe wins for the role. “This was a really extraordinary role — one that I’m not going to find again anytime soon.” What actors’ work inspires you? “Meryl,” Danes says, referencing Meryl Streep. “Meryl! What are you going to do?” What role got you your SAG card? “My first job was when I was 12 with Dudley Moore,” Danes says with a smirk, “that was a more dud.” She must have had that joke prepared, right?
7:19 p.m. PT: Christian Bale arrives! The Fighter actor is toting the statuette he won for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. “Any performance is dependent on everyone else,” he says of his win and his Fighter cast mates. “It’s a domino effect…. Every other actor shares this with me.” What actors’ work inspires you most? Robert Duvall, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams, he reveals. “The quiet roles are the toughest to be recognized for,” Bale adds, “and this one was loud.” What would you do if you weren’t in show business? “Go nuts, probably. That’d be about it.” Also: It’s Bale’s birthday today! How’s it feel to get such an award on his birthday? “Pretty friggin’ good!” Bale says.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky