For 25 years, SAG Awards have been 'the actors' party'

Combined Shape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Screen Actors Guild Awards turns 25 on Sunday and executive producer Kathy Connell has shaped every one.

And while the milestone anniversary offers a chance to reflect on the show’s growth and impact, Connell says not to expect too many flashbacks on the telecast, which will be broadcast on TNT and TBS beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.

“We’re going to have some lookbacks but we only have two hours, our show is very tight,” Connell said.

Jodie Foster will present the evening’s final award, for best motion picture ensemble, in a nod to the ceremony’s first year. Foster won best film actress for “Nell” at the first SAG Awards.

Connell has produced every SAG Awards, which honors the top performances in film and television each year. Tom Hanks and Jodie Foster were the top film actor winners in 1995, while this year the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga-led “A Star Is Born” is the top film nominee.

US Chamber of Commerce Defies Biden, Calls for Termination of Weekly Unemployment Perk

Cooper and Gaga, along with actors Chadwick Boseman from “Black Panther” and Constance Wu from “Crazy Rich Asians” will be among the presenters on Sunday.

Unlike other awards ceremonies that also honor directors, writers and other artists, the SAG Awards are solely focused on actors and the craft of acting.

“It’s really a peer award and it’s very meaningful because to become a union member is one milestone and then to be nominated and awarded by your peers is another major milestone I think for actors,” Connell said during a recent interview. “It’s very personal. The room has fun. Our show is different because the room has fun. We consider it the actors’ party at the actors’ house.”

The ceremony also showcases the guild’s Life Achievement Award, which predates the awards show and has been bestowed since 1962.

This year’s recipient is Alan Alda, whom Connell calls a “true TV icon and a wonderful man.”

Previous recipients include Morgan Freeman, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier and George Burns.

Connell’s hands-on approach — she and her team meticulously craft the seating chart — has led to many special memories, including one with 2014 honoree Debbie Reynolds.

The actress wasn’t feeling well, so her daughter Carrie Fisher took her place during rehearsals. Fisher and Connell shared a few moments together.

“My parents had just passed, so I knew what it was like and the concern that she had for Debbie’s health, and so she and I had a couple of wonderful moments together,” Connell said. “Then Carrie and Debbie had a great time onstage, and I think it was the last time they were both onstage together.”

Bombing Kills at Least 30 Near School in Afghan Capital Amid US Troop Withdrawal

Connell has presided over numerous changes to the awards over the years. The inaugural ceremony, for instance, did not include the outstanding film ensemble, added in the second year. The category has become a key bellwether for whether a film will be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards.

Last year, Kristen Bell served as the show’s first ever host. Megan Mullally, a three-time TV comedy actress SAG winner for “Will & Grace,” will host this year’s show.

Connell said there’s still at least one awards show mainstay the SAGs hasn’t used: “They still haven’t let me do a song and dance, I don’t know why.”

Above all, she says she tries to keep the show fun.

“It’s a work day for these actors. People don’t understand it. It is really a workday for them,” she said. “Just like any contest, some people are going to go home without a statue. So how do I make it as enjoyable as I can possibly make it for people? That’s my job.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City