Witherspoon, Hoffman Are SAG's Best

"I can't just shake the feeling that I'm just a little girl from Tennessee," said Reese Witherspoon, left, who plays June Carter in "Walk the Line." Above, Jennifer Esposito, Chris Bridges and Sandra Bullock of "Crash," which came away from the Screen Actors Guild awards with the ensemble cast prize. (By Mario Anzuoni -- Reuters)
By David Germain
Associated Press
Monday, January 30, 2006

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 -- Reese Witherspoon as singer June Carter in "Walk the Line" and Philip Seymour Hoffman as author Truman Capote in "Capote" won lead-acting awards Sunday from the Screen Actors Guild, while the ensemble drama "Crash" pulled off an upset win over "Brokeback Mountain" for the overall cast award.

Rachel Weisz of the murder thriller "The Constant Gardener" and Paul Giamatti of the boxing drama "Cinderella Man" received supporting-acting honors.

"Oh, my God, y'all. Sometimes, I can't just shake the feeling that I'm just a little girl from Tennessee," said Witherspoon, who plays Carter during her long, stormy courtship with country legend Johnny Cash. "I want to say my biggest inspiration for this movie obviously was June Carter. She was an incredible woman."

Hoffman, considered the favorite for the Best Actor Oscar as Capote, an author struggling to research and write the true-crime novel "In Cold Blood," had gushing thanks for his "Capote" co-stars.

"It's important to say that actors can't act alone, it's impossible. What we have to do is support each other," Hoffman said. "Actors have to have each other's backs. It's the only way to act well is when you know the other actor has your back, and these actors had my back, and I hope they know I had theirs."

"Brokeback Mountain" has been considered the Best Picture front-runner at the Oscars, whose nominations come out Tuesday, with awards presented March 5. Its loss to "Crash" could prove a speed bump on the film's path toward becoming the first explicitly gay-themed movie to win Best Picture at the Oscars, but "Brokeback Mountain" has dominated earlier Hollywood honors so it will likely continue to be considered the favorite.

It led the Jan. 16 Golden Globes with four wins, among them best dramatic film and director for Ang Lee, who took the same prize Saturday from the Directors Guild of America.

Adapted from Annie Proulx's short story about sheepherding buddies who conceal a homosexual affair from their families, "Brokeback Mountain" also has earned top honors from key critics groups and the Producers Guild of America.

Sean Hayes, who won the SAG award for best actor in a TV comedy for his role as a gay man in "Will & Grace," had a ready wisecrack about "Brokeback Mountain."

"First of all, I would like to thank Ang Lee for taking a chance on me," said Hayes, who is not in "Brokeback Mountain."

Last year, the wine-country romp "Sideways" won SAG's ensemble prize, while "Million Dollar Baby" went on to earn best picture.

"Crash" follows the lives of a far-flung cast of characters over a chaotic 36-hour period in Los Angeles.

CONTINUED     1              >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company