Jeff Bridges of "Crazy Heart" and Sandra Bullock of "The Blind Side" claimed top acting honors at Saturday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, building momentum for possible Academy Awards glory for the two stars.
"I love being an actor — pretending to be other people and getting into the shoes of other folks," said Bridges, who plays a hard-luck, hard-living country singer in the drama.
Although respected by his peers, Bridges has largely been bypassed for major awards. Bullock also got a rare chance to bask in the awards spotlight, winning for her portrayal of a tenacious real-life mom, Leigh Anne Tuohy, who helped a youth in need, future NFL player Michael Oher.
Both Bridges and Bullock had picked up Golden Globes trophies for their roles less than a week ago. Backstage, Bullock refused to speculate on her Oscar chances in March.
"Shhhhh. Shhhh. Shhhh," she said, repeatedly, to a reporter asking the question.
"I would be a hostess or a waitress or a house restorer before I ever considered myself an actor, because I never thought I was good enough," Bullock added.
In another repeat of the Golden Globes, Christoph Waltz was honored as best supporting actor for his role as an energetically ruthless Nazi in the film "Inglourious Basterds," while Mo'Nique's searing portrayal of an abusive mother in "Precious" was honored as best supporting actress.
The cast of "Inglourious Basterds," an off-kilter World War II revenge saga from Quentin Tarantino, won the award for best ensemble performance, a possible sign of the film's Oscar chances for a best-movie nomination and nod for Tarantino.
"It was an honor to be part of it, Quentin," cast member Eli Roth in accepting the award for the cast.
‘Mad Men,’ ‘Glee’ claim TV honors
The cast of AMC's 1960s Madison Avenue saga "Mad Men" won the trophy for best drama series ensemble for the second year in a row, while 19 cast members of Fox TV newcomer "Glee," about misfits in a high school singing club, accepted the award for best comedy series ensemble.
Fox's "Glee" is on a streak: It claimed the best comedy series award at the Golden Globes.
Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey of NBC's "30 Rock" won for best acting in a comedy series, allowing Fey to get in a sly joke about NBC and its bitter late-night battle with Conan O'Brien in her acceptance speech.
"I just wanted to take a moment to say to everyone at NBC, we are very happy with everything, and happy to be there," she said. Both she and Baldwin won the awards last year.
Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall of Showtime's "Dexter," wearing a cap because of treatment he's receiving for Hodgkin's lymphoma, won best actor in a drama series. The award for best actress in a drama went to Julianna Margulies of CBS' "The Good Wife."
Betty White, 88, accepted a lifetime achievement award from Bullock for an enduring career that included "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls" and showed her sharp comedic chops.
When Bullock joked that she finds White annoying, White shot back, "Isn't it heartening to see how far a girl as plain as she is can go."
"I should be presenting an award to you for the privilege of working in this wonderful business all this time. And you still can't get rid of me," White told the audience.
Actors in a number of critically acclaimed films went home empty-handed, including "Up in the Air" star George Clooney and the film's supporting actresses, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. The cast of "The Hurt Locker" also lost out.
Last year, SAG's movie cast award was presented to "Slumdog Millionaire," which went on to win the best picture Oscar. However, this year, one of the season's strongest best picture contenders, "Avatar," was not nominated in any SAG category, all of which are acting, perhaps because "Avatar's" best performances were computer-assisted.