Screen Actors Guild Hands Out 2009 Awards

Meryl Streep leaves the stage with presenter Ralph Fiennes after accepting the award for outstanding lead actress for "Doubt."
Meryl Streep leaves the stage with presenter Ralph Fiennes after accepting the award for outstanding lead actress for "Doubt." (By Mark J. Terrill -- Associatd Press)
Associated Press
Monday, January 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 -- Meryl Streep of the Catholic school drama "Doubt" and Sean Penn of the Harvey Milk film biography "Milk" won lead-acting honors Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The prize for overall cast went to the rags-to-riches saga "Slumdog Millionaire," while Heath Ledger of Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight" and Kate Winslet of the Holocaust-themed drama "The Reader" took supporting honors.

"Can I just say there is no such thing as the best actress, there is no such thing as the greatest living actress," said Streep, the Academy Awards record-holder with 15 acting nominations, including one for "Doubt," in which she plays an old-school nun in a war of wills against a progressive priest. " . . . I am so in awe of the work of the women this year -- nominated, not nominated -- so proud of us girls. And everybody wins when we get parts like this."

Penn played gay-rights political pioneer Milk but said the film had a universal theme: "As actors, we don't play gay, straight. We don't play any of these kinds [of roles]. We play human beings. . . . This is a story about equal rights for all human beings."

Ledger's supporting-actor prize for his sociopathic reinvention of Batman villain the Joker put the late actor a step closer to becoming just the second performer to win a posthumous Academy Award. The first was Peter Finch, the best-actor recipient for 1976's "Network."

Oscar buzz has been flying over Ledger's performance since before his death just over a year ago from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. With the SAG win and the Golden Globe, Ledger now looks like a virtual lock to receive the Supporting Actor Oscar on Feb. 22.

Winslet's role had earned her the same prize at the Golden Globes, where she also won lead dramatic actress for "Revolutionary Road." But at the Oscars, Winslet has just one nomination, as lead actress for "The Reader," in which she plays a former concentration camp guard.

As it did at the Golden Globes, "30 Rock" swept the TV comedy honors, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin taking the individual acting prizes and the show winning the ensemble cast award.

Hugh Laurie, who won his second straight SAG prize for best actor in a TV drama for the medical show "House," joked that he was disappointed one of his fellow nominees did not win. "I actually had a hundred dollars on James Spader [of "Boston Legal"]," Laurie said. "This is just not my night."

Sally Field earned the TV drama actress award for the family series "Brothers & Sisters," while the advertising saga "Mad Men" was named best drama show. Accepting alongside his cast mates, "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm had kind words for the show's "dozen of viewers."

The complete list of winners:


Cast: "Slumdog Millionaire."

Actor in a leading role: Sean Penn, "Milk."

Actress in a leading role: Meryl Streep, "Doubt."

Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight."

Supporting actress: Kate Winslet, "The Reader."

Stunt ensemble: "The Dark Knight."


Drama series cast: "Mad Men."

Actor in a drama series: Hugh Laurie, "House."

Actress in a drama series: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters."

Comedy series cast: "30 Rock."

Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock."

Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock."

Actor in a movie or miniseries: Paul Giamatti, "John Adams."

Actress in a movie or miniseries: Laura Linney, "John Adams."

Stunt ensemble: "Heroes."

Lifetime achievement: James Earl Jones.

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