LOS ANGELES – “No Country for Old Men” solidified its Academy Awards prospects Sunday by taking overall cast honors alongside Javier Bardem’s supporting-actor prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which may stand as the highlight of Hollywood’s film-honors season if the writers strike undermines the Oscars.
Past Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis of “There Will Be Blood” and Julie Christie of “Away From Her” won the lead-acting honors, also giving them a boost to win the same trophies at the Oscars. Day-Lewis dedicated his win to Heath Ledger, the 28-year-old Australian actor who was found dead in his Manhattan loft last week.
“In ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ he was unique; he was perfect,” said Day-Lewis, already an Oscar winner for “My Left Foot.” “That scene in the trailer at the end of the film is as moving as anything I think I’ve ever seen.”
Actors bid a fond farewell to one of TV’s most-acclaimed series ever as “The Sopranos” swept the dramatic categories, grabbing the lead-acting honors for James Gandolfini and Edie Falco and, minutes later, the overall cast award.
The SAG show itself was generally free of labor talk, with only Christie addressing the matter openly among the winners.
“It’s lovely to receive an award from your own union,” she said, “especially at a time when we’re being so forcefully reminded how important unions are.”
Bardem had kind words for Joel and Ethan Coen, who directed “No Country” and adapted the screenplay from Cormac McCarthy’s novel.
Though its last episode aired several months ago, “The Sopranos” grabbed all three TV drama categories to open the ceremony.
For comedy series, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey were the lead-acting winners for “30 Rock,” while “The Office” won for best ensemble.
Normally a lesser cousin to the Golden Globes and Oscars, the SAG Awards could end up being the biggest celebration this time around. The swanky Globes were canceled because of a strike by the Writers Guild of America, which refused to let its members work on the show, and the fate of the Oscars on Feb. 24 is in question because of the same labor quarrel.
Not so for the SAG honors. The actors union has been steadfast in support of striking writers, who in turn gave their blessing to the SAG ceremony.