So you want to be an actor. Good luck! The majority of New York thespians are working full-time in other professions. The added challenge for people of color continues despite significant advances.
It’s rough out there, children, but if you are passionate, determined, trained and just plain lucky, there are tremendous benefits to crossing into the promised land, and the Screen Actors Guild has worked with an earnest conviction to protect its members.
This union has its perks. In fact, it’s rather glorious to belong to that rare, small percentage of high earners. The big payday continues to be in television, and if luck favors you landing a syndicated show, a critics’ darling or not, it’s the key to sweet financial freedom. That’s the gift that keeps on giving. Can you say “residuals”?
To celebrate the successes of those hard-working few who have made it to the land of milk and honey–a.k.a. the higher tax bracket crew–there is the Screen Actors Guild Awards airing Sunday, Jan. 27, on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m.
This is one of my favorite award shows and a guilty pleasure, because the red carpet is going to explode with nervous smiles and showcase as many fashion misses as spectacular highlights. The media walk is packed with star wattage and plunging cleavage, natural or enhanced, a juicy combination resulting in an operatic display of unpredictability that is pure “organized chaos.”
The unique aspect of this award, which sets it apart from other top industry accolades, is that it’s presented to performers selected solely by actors’ peers in SAG-AFTRA, a grueling but fun task and divided by two nominating panels–one for television and one for film–each composed of 2,100 randomly selected union members from across the United States.
This year, nominations for people of color appear mostly in the television category. Nominations can propel actors’ careers, moving them closer to the gravy train and significantly making up for the lean years, but if nothing else, the nominees will all get to enjoy the well-stocked open bar, delicious food and industry networking.
The SAG Awards are better than a prom and a wedding combined. That information was recently shared by a well-coifed sister who has been an executive at SAG for many years. She’s one of those souls that keep things close to the chest. So when she shares, I listen.
“It’s not like the old days when actors would exit, with speed, immediately after the show,” she confided, scooting her chair closer and dropping her voice a tad.
“I think George Clooney is to blame. He is a lovely soul to be around, and every year, he’s the last one to go. Last year, I said, ‘George, did you forget your way home?’ He winked. I smiled and jumped into my waiting town car, disappearing into the maze of limos trying to get all the dreamers home in Hollywood.”
With that said, here are my predictions for the winning film roles among the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Male Actor in a Leading Role: Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings Playbook,” leaving the other nominees statueless (Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”; John Hawkes, “The Sessions”; Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”; and Denzel Washington, “Flight”).
Female Actor in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Javier Bardem for “Skyfall.” His paradoxical creation is a work of art.
Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway for pulling her guts inside-out to play the tortured, dying French prostitute in “Les Miserables.”
Cast: “Argo” (Warner Bros.). That leaves the gifted cast, crew, producers and studio folks of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Fox Searchlight), “Les Miserables” (Universal Pictures), “Lincoln” (Touchstone Pictures) and “Silver Linings Playbook” (Weinstein Co.) to enjoy the party unfettered by a statue.