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Screen Actors Guild Awards

On January 30th, 2011 the Screen Actors Guild, the largest performer’s union in the United States, hosted its 17th annual awards ceremony at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California. The union was developed in 1933 to help up and coming actors and actresses earn higher pay and better hours; but the first awards ceremony was not held until 1995.

The SAG awards are similar to the Oscars, and generally the same films receive recognition and awards in both. However, the SAG awards differ slightly in that they honor actors and actresses selected by their fellow Guild members, and cover categories in both television and film.

After moving to New York City in 1983 to continue his acting career, Mr. Reese became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. In years since then, individual production companies have sent films on DVD’s for screening purposes to him, along with the other 120,000 members. After receiving the DVD’s, members have a limited amount of time to view the films, develop their opinions, and cast their votes. When asked what he looks for when considering a film, Mr. Reese said, “I go to enjoy rather than to critique a film.  Elements such as an arresting story, a well-written script, talented actors, appropriate costumes and scenery and a good score all contribute to a film worthy of consideration for an academy award.”

This year, however, the Guild switched to a different system. They now offer members iTunes redeeming codes and movie theater vouchers for screening purpose in addition to the DVD’s. These changes were implemented in order to cut down high costs of mailing DVD’s and reduce the number of pirated copies.

Mr. Reese received The King’s Speech and The Social Network on DVD’s, and movie vouchers to go see all of the other nominees. “I usually watch them [the movies] once, but I was so impressed with The King’s Speech that I have seen it twice. A great movie.” The Deerfield student body seems to agree, “I’ve heard from everyone who has seen it that it is extraordinary,” said Caitlin Cook ’12.

Apparently they are not the only ones who think so, because it won both “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Role”, the highest number of SAG awards to one film this year. “That was actually pretty unusual. Usually there is one clear movie in the lead, but this year the awards were far more spread out, there were just so many fantastic films,” explained Mr. Reese.

With so many excellent films out in the past few months, it is surely interesting to see who will win the awards. So, if you missed the SAG awards, be sure to check out www.sagawards.org, or tune into the 83rd annual Academy Awards on this upcoming February 27th.

Sites consulted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_Actors_Guild#History_of_the_Guild

http://www.sagawards.org/awards/nominees-and-recipients/17th-annual-screen-actors-guild-awards

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/awards/2011/02/sag-itunes-oscar-screeners.html

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