"Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience," Paul Newman once said. You know, that guy, the 10-time Oscar nominee with the salad dressing, who won an Academy Award for "The Color of Money."
So, on Sunday, when the Screen Actors Guild broadcasts their 19th Annual SAG Awards for thespian excellence on TNT and TBS (5pm PT/8pm ET), we figure they know what they're talking about when it comes to dramatic arts. But who are they, and why are we counting on them for Oscar answers?
- SAG winners make good bets for your Oscar pool. In 2012, three of the four SAG winners repeated at the Oscars: best actor Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") and supporting players Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") and Octavia Spencer ("The Help"). The odd woman out? Viola Davis won the SAG, but Meryl Streep took the Academy Award.
- There are 13 awards for individual performances in television and film acting, including two for best ensemble, which represent acting as a collaborative art.
- With four nominations apiece, including best ensemble, "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook," and "Les Misérables" are the frontrunners for this year's SAGs.
- Actors make up the largest branch of the academy's approximately 5,770 members, but only an estimated 1 percent of SAG members vote on the Oscars.
- Two panels, each with 2,100 randomly selected members (one for TV and one for film), selected the nominees. When it comes to the final voting, over 100,000 active members of SAG-AFTRA in the United States have the opportunity to pick the winners.
- Who is in SAG-AFTRA? According to their website, the union "represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcasters, journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voice-over artists, and other media professionals." Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
As important as these awards are to actors, the late Newman, a SAG Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 1985, also put such honors in perspective: "The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films."