Hollywood stars return to spotlight at SAG awards
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's red carpet will finally roll out for Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards in what could end up being the only big party in an awards season stripped of stars and marred by a bitter industry strike.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) hands out its annual movie and television awards at a ceremony packed with all the designer dresses and gushing thank-you speeches that have been missing so far in Hollywood's traditional three-month-long celebration of itself, leading to the Oscars on February 24.
Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, Russell Crowe and John Travolta headline a list of presenters, while George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett are among the nominees expected to don bow-ties and ballgowns for SAG's red carpet parade into the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles.
"I think there is huge excitement about the Screen Actors Guild awards because it has the blessing of everyone and because actors are the most glamorous group," said Tom O'Neil, columnist for award-watching Web site TheEnvelope.com.
"It may may be the closest we get to full star participation and a fancy awards show this season," he said.
The Golden Globes were reduced to a dull, celebrity-free news conference, and the People's Choice Awards became a pre-taped video clip show this month when actors refused to cross picket lines of striking Hollywood writers in a three-month dispute with major movie and television studios.
But the Screen Actors Guild has been a firm ally of the Writers Guild of America during the labor conflict. In return, the WGA said it would allow its members to write for the SAG awards show and would not mount protests outside the event.
No such deal has been reached with organizers of the Oscar ceremony, casting doubt on whether the movie industry's biggest showcase will go ahead in its usual form. Continued...