Daniel Day Lewis SAG Award
Credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images
30 Rock

At the SAG Awards, the stars get a few precious minutes to make their acceptance speeches. But that’s not their last say of the night. Next, they’re off to the press room backstage at the Shrine Auditorium. Read on for what the winners told reporters once they stepped offstage at the show on Sunday night – including Ben Affleck on Argo’s win in the top film category, Jennifer Lawrence on what she would tell her 14-year-old self and Bryan Cranston on what he hopes makes it into his obituary.

Daniel Day-Lewis – Best Actor in a Leading Role for Lincoln

On Leonardo DiCaprio’s encouragement he referenced in his acceptance speech:

“Leo, just at chance meeting, asked if I had given up on the idea because he knew I’d considered it a while ago. I also hadn’t thought about it for a long time, maybe some years. He said, “Don’t give up on it. He says, ‘He’s the greatest man of the 19th century.’ So really this is all Leo’s fault.”

On Liam Neeson’s encouragement to take the role:

“Liam was a huge support to me. There was a period of time when he had intended to tell a version of this story, and I was aware of that during that time. The minute that he decided to move on, he began to encourage me to think about it myself.”

On what Abraham Lincoln would say if he could see his performance in Lincoln:

“If I made him laugh a couple of times, I think he’d be happy enough with that.”

Ben Affleck – Best Ensemble Cast for Argo

On doubts about Argo’s chances at the SAG Awards:

“I thought, ‘There’s no way we’d win this award.’ I looked at the other films [nominated in the category]. You look at the ensemble in Silver Linings Playbook or in Lincoln or in Les Mis. Those three movies – you could make 30 great movies out of the casts in those.”

On the value of awards:

“I’ve been around long enough to deeply appreciate this kind of thing. It doesn’t happen all the time, and it may not come again. It’s really wonderful to have awards, at least in the sense that they encourage artists. I’m really encouraged by this.”

When Affleck (who hasn’t been able to get away from the persistent topic of his Best Director Oscar snub) called on a reporter sitting in the front row waiting to ask a question:

“Yes, sir, sorry to have overlooked you. I know how it feels.”

Clea DuVall – Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture for Argo

On the biggest challenge of making Argo:

“We basically were making – or Ben was making – three different movies, and each different group of us – the CIA, Hollywood, the hostages – having it all somehow miraculously feel like the same movie was probably [the most challenging part].”

Jennifer Lawrence – Best Actress in a Leading Role for Silver Linings Playbook

On doing interviews:

“You can probably tell from my public speaking I haven’t gotten that much advice – red carpets as well. Still waiting to get a couple of tips about how to shut up.”

On what she would say if she could speak to the 14-year-old self she mentioned in her acceptance speech:

“I would never tell that version of me that this [success and awards] was going to happen. I would have become a nightmare. I would have gone, ‘Well, of course!’ I probably would have just said, ‘You’re gonna fail. So stop being so full of yourself.’”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series for Modern Family

On fellow nominees, outgoing series 30 Rock and The Office:

“If we could in our last season be like the last season 30 Rock and The Office – if we could be at that level of perfection hilarity and genius I think we really would have succeeded. Just to be mentioned with those groups is a huge honor. A lot of us auditioned for roles on those shows and may be disappointed we didn’t get them. So to be in that same room, nominated with those casts is really quite an honor.”

Sophie McShera – Best Ensemble in a Drama Series for Downton Abbey

On selecting dresses for awards shows:

“Me and Michelle [Dockery] did the trying-on sessions together, which was a hilarious role reversal of Lady Mary and Daisy ’cause she was putting me in all my dresses. So I really enjoyed that.”

Tina Fey – Best Actress in a Comedy Series for 30 Rock

On Julianne Moore’s win for Game Change, in which she played Sarah Palin, a role Fey tackled on Saturday Night Live:

“I thought Julianne was incredible in Game Change. I thought she really disappeared into the character. In a real film acting job you don’t want that sketch performance in that sort of movie. She did an excellent job.”

On the next life for 30 Rock:

“I really hope 30 Rock has a long life in syndication. I look forward to another generation finding it and enjoying it.”

Bryan Cranston – Best Male Actor in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad

On how he makes time for all his projects:

“I don’t play golf. I seem to enjoy creating more than recreating. When you’re an actor just starting out, you never plan for a vacation. First of all you can’t afford it. Second of all you’re gonna miss something.’ And so you just get ingrained in your lifestyle that you just go on searching and looking for your next job. That’s what we do. So I have to stop and say, ‘Oh no, no, no. I can stop, say no and take a vacation. It’s hard to get into that mindset.”

On playing Walter White:

“Walter White is the role of my career. I honestly don’t feel that I will have a better role than Walter White. In my eventual obituary – hopefully many, many years from now – it will read, ‘Breaking Bad actor explodes’ – however it goes. That’s not a bad way to go.”

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

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