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Jan 312012
 

The SAG Awards have everything you want and very little you don’t. The ceremony celebrates film and television, so it’s always star-packed, and only honors actors, so you don’t have to sit through hours of awards for Best Sound Editing.

By Molly Jay.

Actresses Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy speak onstage during The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Now that awards season is in full swing, it seems that there is a new show each weekend. Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, Producers/Directors/Writing Guild Awards (yes, three separate ceremonies), and BAFTA Awards, all lead up to the main event: Academy Awards.

While the Oscars may still hold the most prestige and fanfare, the Globes are often talked about as the most viewer-friendly show. The Globes are a mix of television and film, so the star power is usually pretty awesome. There’s always an entertaining host, and guests notoriously indulge in the free liquor that’s endlessly flowing, creating some truly great speeches and unscripted moments. Sounds great, right? In theory yes, but in practice, the Globes have become somewhat lackluster. Sure, it was a riot seeing Ricky Gervais tear Hollywood apart last year, but this year his razor sharp bite seemed tamed. The once-candid awards show has become just another parade of pretty dresses and bad onstage banter,wrapped up in one achingly long telecast.

Now, true awards-show junkies (self-admitted addict, right here) don’t really care about the entertainment level of the broadcast—we’ll watch anything as long as talented people are awarded shiny statues. But the general viewing public, those who don’t spend hours analyzing the voting histories of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, often aren’t as invested in the outcome and are more just along for the ride. And for those people, there is one show that is hands-down the most enjoyable, viewer-friendly telecast: the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The SAG Awards have everything you want and very little you don’t. The ceremony celebrates film and television, so it’s always star-packed, and only honors actors, so you don’t have to sit through hours of awards for Best Sound Editing. The guests are treated to as much alcohol as they’d like (insert obligatory Charlie Sheen joke here), creating a festive, excited atmosphere. Best of all, there is no host. At first this may seem like a deterrent. No host? But who’s going to make us laugh? Who’s going to lead the show?

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the 2012 SAG Awards

First, think about what the host actually does. Aside from a 10-minute opening monologue, the host rarely does more than pop onscreen from time to time to introduce presenters when the voice-over guy is taking a break. Additionally, the Golden Globes didn’t even have a host until last year, when Gervais stepped up to the plate (and subsequently knocked it out of the park). Third, think about the crowd at the show. The place is filled wall-to-wall with some of the most talented performers in the world. You don’t need a host when the bill is already stacked with entertaining individuals. I’d rather watch a bit by Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy (best part of last night’s SAG awards, by far) than listen to another Kim Kardashian joke.

Finally, the SAG Awards telecast is only two hours long. Two hours. In 2002, the Academy Awards lasted four and a half hours. That’s more than two SAG ceremonies . . . and completely unnecessary. Listen, most of us will never win these accolades or attend these events. So, while some may deem the Academy Awards more prestigious and the Golden Globes more popular, the only element that should really matter to us, the lowly non-celebs, is the show’s “watchability.” And for that, no ceremony will better entertain you than the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

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