It was a bittersweet evening for the “Sex and the City” femmes, who won the ensemble comedy series trophy on the night their show came to an end.
Sans Sarah Jessica Parker, the rest of the “Sex” quartet — Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis — were on hand to receive their Actors. “Tomorrow is my 39th birthday, so I will regard this as an early gift,” said Davis, who with her cohorts won the award once before, in 2002.
With the finale airing on the East Coast as they accepted their nod, Nixon said, “We don’t know how it ends, so of course part of me wants to be in front of a TV tonight, but how could I miss this?”
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“Monster” star Charlize Theron, honored Sunday for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos, said she hopes that her glory this kudos season proves women can play conflicted characters — and do it well. “Male actors such as Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman are always playing conflicted men. I don’t understand why there are such a limited amount of parts for us,” Theron said. “In reality we are all flawed, and it is in our flaws that we find empathy for humanity. I don’t understand why writers stay away from that when it comes to females. I hope that changes.”
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This year produced two firsts for Al Pacino and SAG — a nomination and a win. Pacino, who won for actor in a miniseries for “Angels in America,” said he owes his longevity as an actor to one person: Lee Strasberg. “The best advice I ever received was from him,” said Pacino. “He said to me, ‘Darling, learn your lines’; he was right, of course.”
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Tim Robbins, who nabbed an Actor for his supporting perf in “Mystic River,” got a congratulatory call backstage from longtime love Susan Sarandon. It was his first win and his second nom after one for 1995’s “The Shawshank Redemption.”
Robbins, who just hours earlier had jetted to Los Angeles from Gotham, where he is readying his play “Embedded” for an Off Broadway run, said he’s glad to have a distraction during the harried kudos season. “We are in the midst of rehearsals and I think of little else right now, which is great because it takes the edge off.”
Asked how he prepped for his role as the troubled Dave Boyle in “Mystic River,” Robbins said he relied a lot on his childhood for material. “I grew up in New York with a close-knit group of guys who were a lot like the characters. It was not a big stretch for me to get an idea of who all these guys were and what they were all about.”
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“I am having deja vu,” said supporting actress winner Renee Zellweger, referring to her second consecutive turn in the SAG press room — she was part of the winning ensemble cast of “Chicago” last year. “I even saw Catherine (Zeta-Jones) backstage, which made it even stranger, but, alas, this time I am going it alone,” she said. Feted for her performance as Ruby Thewes in “Cold Mountain,” Zellweger said no matter how many awards she receives, every time seems like the first. “I never thought I would ever get the chance to work as an actor beyond the chance to quit my day job. I am very lucky.”
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Kiefer Sutherland, winner for “24,” said the best part of the evening for him was walking by Sean Penn, whom he credited with giving him his start in showbiz. “What I meant by that is that actors like Sean, with ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ and Timothy Hutton as well, paved the way for the rest of us young actors,” Sutherland said. “They were some of the first guys who got the chance to play their age; before that, people in their 30s were often taking those roles and we did not stand a chance.”
Sutherland said working on a series is “the first time I have developed a character where I don’t know how it all ends up. Overall, the experience has had a positive effect on me. Working with the same crew, day in, day out, has boosted not only my craft, but my confidence. As many of you know, I have not always been this comfortable with public speaking.”