by Eric Green
"Good Evening Comrades," announced Sean Penn when he accepted the Best Actor Award for his amazing portrayal of Harvey Milk, in the film by the same name. He laughed and said, "that was for O'Reilly."
The Screen Actors' Guild Annual Awards to both Film and Television actors, a similar set of awards as done for the Golden Globe Awards, are sandwiched between the Golden Globes and Oscars.
This is the only union sponsored awards show ever on television. It is broadcast on TNT and not commercial television, but the audience is very big.
Other awardees included: Best Actress, Meryl Streep for Doubt; Best Supporting to Kate Winslet for "the Reader" and Heath Ledger for his role in "The Joker. Winslet was also nominated for "Revolutionary Road" as a lead actor.
In a surprise to everyone in the audience, or so it seemed, "Slumdog Millionaire," the film from India and directed by British director, Danny Boyle, received the best movie or as SAG says it, best ensemble movie of the year.
Penn received a standing ovation, when he took the podium. In addition to the "comrades" comment and thanking and citing everyone involved in the film, "Milk" he made special mention of Mickey [Rourke] and Benito's "Che."
Alan Rosenberg, the head of Screen Actors' Guild, spoke about SAG and the other unions in the field: Directors Guild, Writers Guild, and also, IATSE and the Teamsters. He concluded his remarks by saying he "looks forward to passage of the Free Choice Act to that everyone can join a union." That was probably the biggest audience to hear that policy promotion.