LOS ANGELES – Of all the awards shows, the Screen Actors Guild Awards likely has the highest concentration of stars, considering it’s the one show where only actors are nominated, as voted on by other actors.
So that means that at the SAG Awards, all of the tables in the Shrine Auditorium are popular kids’ tables, filled with the likes of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Renee Zellweger. And as popular kids are wont to do, A-listers get up and mingle. But the SAG Awards cameras can’t capture all of that.
Good thing we were there to witness all the best celeb action during commercial breaks and offstage during the show. Here’s what we saw.
Jennifer Aniston and Cynthia Erivo mingled
During a commercial break Erivo walked over to Aniston’s table and wound up sitting on the ground beside the “Morning Show” actress. The two clasped hands as the “Harriet” star’s fuchsia gown beautifully spilled down the floor.
During another commercial break, “The Handmaid’s Tale” stars Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley stopped by the “Schitt’s Creek” table to chat with Catherine O’Hara.
And Lupita Nyong’o brought “Black Panther” co-star Danai Gurira over to the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” table to greet Leonardo DiCaprio and Pitt. “Hello, sweetheart!” DiCaprio said warmly as he kissed Nyong’o’s cheek.
SAG Awards 2020:6 must-know moments from the Screen Actors Guild Awards
Tom Hanks hammed it up
On Sunday night, Zellweger accepted her trophy from presenter Hanks, who happened to be seated next to her during the show.
When the “Judy” star accepted her award, her shiny Cartier cuffs caught the light, just as they had when she was on the carpet. But earlier in the evening, she had taken the bracelets off as Hanks examined them. “You’re weighed down by these all night?!” he asked, flummoxed.
Hanks was interrupted from his bracelet-analyzing, however, when his “From the Earth to the Moon” co-star, Cary Elwes, came over to say hi. “Cary!” Hanks exclaimed, jumping up for a hug.
Backstage at the SAG Awards:Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt photographed celebrating wins
Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail stayed close
Not only did a pregnant Williams acknowledge her fiancé “Tommy” in her best TV actress acceptance speech, but during commercial breaks she and her “Fosse/Verdon” director Thomas Kail held hands and navigated the ballroom together. Friends including Reese Witherspoon and Sterling K. Brown came over to talk to the happy couple, but Kail’s focus never strayed from Williams.
SAG Awards:The complete winners list
It wasn’t just partners who were chivalrous at the SAG Awards: Harvey Keitel helped his “The Irishman” co-star Anna Paquin with her red train as the two walked backstage.
Jennifer Lopez received a young fan warmly at her table. “Are you having fun tonight?” she asked the girl.
And on the other side of the room, buddies were being sweet: “Stranger Things” actors Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo and Charlie Heaton were arm in arm.
Brad Pitt’s jokes killed
When Pitt accepted his best supporting actor honor for “Once Upon a Time,” he had plenty of jokes. First, he ripped on his director’s cinematic history of fetishizing feet: “Quentin (Tarantino) has separated more people from their shoes than the TSA,” Pitt said to surprised, if somewhat nervous laughter.
Then Pitt compared himself to his character, stuntman Cliff Booth. “He gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn’t go on with his life. It’s a big stretch,” he cracked. The room roared.
Earlier in the evening, Pitt told USA TODAY why he is so laid back – and, well, funny – during this award season. “I’m old,” he said. “It’s amazing how much more relaxed you get, the older you get.”
Best-dressed at the SAG Awards:Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson and more stars shine
‘Parasite’ got so much love
Even before the cast of “Parasite” made history by winning best film ensemble, it was clear that members of SAG were with them. When the cast of the South Korean thriller first got onstage to simply introduce their movie, they received a standing ovation.
After that, the cast’s mood was appropriately celebratory. The actors raised their champagne glasses at their table.
But they had much more to cheer for when they were announced as the final winners of the night. The room leapt to its feet again. And when the cast left the stage? Yes, everyone rose once more.
The only applause that rivaled that of “Parasite,” in terms of volume, was the reception for Robert De Niro when he accepted his lifetime achievement award.
Joaquin Phoenix ignored the teleprompter
The SAG Awards wound up running more than 10 minutes longer than planned. It’s a problem that producers anticipated, reminding stars to “keep your acceptance speech brief!” during breaks and employing countdown clocks on the teleprompter.
But best film actor winner Phoenix ignored the directives. Instead, he plowed right through his speech, specifically applauding his fellow nominees. By the time the teleprompter counted down from 10 he was on Christian Bale, saying, “you’ve never had a bad performance… Just suck once!” Shortly after that, the prompter blinked with the words, “please wrap up.”