Slumdog, Winslet, "30 Rock" dominate 2009 SAG Awards

This past Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild held its 15th annual awards ceremony, honoring the best actors and actresses in various categories.

Although significantly younger than the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, the SAG Awards are unique in that they consist only of acting categories, and actors alone partake in voting for the work of their peers.

The ceremony began on a humorous note as television show "30 Rock" swiftly won three categories, including best male and female actors in a comedy series, and best ensemble in a comedy.

Tina Fey received the award for outstanding comedic acting. She dedicated the award to her daughter, Alice, while commenting on recent SAG contract disputes, saying, "Someday [Alice will] be old enough to watch '30 Rock' reruns on the Internet and understand where Mommy was going at 6 a.m. every day for all that time. And she'll look up at me and say, 'What do you mean you don't get residuals for this?'"

Her co-star, Alec Baldwin, also won an award (outstanding male actor in a comedy series) for his work on the show.

Independent British film Slumdog Millionaire took home the award for outstanding ensemble cast. In the group's acceptance speech Anil Kapoor, one of the film's actors, excitedly remarked, "To win this - it's unbelievable."

Kate Winslet received best supporting female actor in film for her role in The Reader as a former concentration camp guard who has an affair with a teenager. She currently holds an Oscar nomination for best actress for the same role.

Unlike at the Golden Globes, however, Winslet lost out to Meryl Streep in the best female lead category, despite her dramatic character in Revolutionary Road.

Streep, who won for her performance as a nun in Doubt, said, "Even though awards mean nothing to me anymore, I'm real happy." She went on to admit, "I'm really, really, really shocked."

Sean Penn obtained outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for his portrayal of California's first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, in Gus Van Sant's Milk.

Gary Oldman, co-star of The Dark Knight, accepted the trophy for best supporting male actor on behalf of Heath Ledger.

"I'm quite emotional," he began, "[Ledger] was an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent." Ledger won the award posthumously for his performance as the menacing Joker in The Dark Knight.

Famous veteran actor James Earl Jones took home the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. "I don't mean to embarrass anybody by comparing the actor to God," said Jones during his speech, "[but] once we've taken a role we have a similar responsibility, to breathe life into that character, and only the actor can do that."

The 15th annual SAG Awards ceremony proved to be a night of entertainment, despite predictable results. Little varied from the results of the Golden Globes, where Winslet, Ledger, and Slumdog Millionaire all dominated once again.