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'Chicago' is dazzling at SAG Awards

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 10, 2003 at 1:57 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) -- "Chicago" gave them the old razzle-dazzle in Los Angeles Sunday, winning three Actors at the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones -- who co-starred as man-killers Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly -- won for best performance by a female actor in leading and supporting roles, respectively, in a motion picture. The actors' union refers to male and female acting professionals as actors,

The cast of "Chicago" -- including SAG nominees Richard Gere and Queen Latifah -- won for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a motion picture.

In her acceptance speech, Zellweger talked about the contrast between the success she is enjoying as one of Hollywood's top talents and the struggle that so many in her profession have experienced just to survive.

"When you start out you hope you get enough work that you don't have to schlep the longnecks (beer bottles) anymore," said Zellweger. She gave credit to "Chicago" director Rob Marshall for the success of the movie and the performances in it.

"Every single one of you (other actors) in this room needs to get on the phone and get a lunch date with Rob Marshall this week," said Zellweger.

The win established Zellweger as a favorite to win the Oscar for Best Actress. Six of the eight previous winners in her category went on to win the Oscar.

Daniel Day-Lewis won for best performance by a male actor in a leading role in a motion picture for his portrayal of Bill "The Butcher" Cutter in "Gangs of New York." Six of the first eight SAG winners in the category have gone on to win the Best Actor Oscar.

Zeta-Jones, who is pregnant with her second child with her husband, Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas, was asked backstage what she thinks about her own Oscar prospects. Zeta-Jones is up for Best Supporting Actress.

"Just trying to find something to wear is one of my biggest problems," said Zeta-Jones.

She said she was just trying to enjoy "Chicago's" success while it lasts.

"It's just been a ride for us," she said. "It'll be sad when it's all over."

Christopher Walken won for best performance by a male actor in a supporting role for his turn as the unscrupulous Frank Abagnale Sr. in "Catch Me if You Can." Walken suggested he may have gotten credit from SAG voting members for doing something different from the strange and dangerous characters he has specialized in over the years.

"I've played a lot of villains and stuff," said Walken. "One of the reviewers said that I was playing a human being for a change. I think that's true."

The big winners in the TV categories were the HBO crime family drama "The Sopranos" and the NBC comedy "Will & Grace."

James Gandolfini and Edie Falco won for outstanding performance by a male actor and a female actor in a drama series, respectively, for their work as Tony and Carmela Soprano in "The Sopranos."

Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally both won a second consecutive Actor for outstanding performance by a male actor and a female actor, respectively, in a comedy series for their turns as Jack McFarland and Karen Walker in "Will & Grace."

The casts of "Six Feet Under" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" won Actors for best performance by an ensemble in a drama series and a comedy series, respectively.

William H. Macy won for male actor in a TV movie or miniseries for his portrayal of salesman Bill Porter in TNT's "Door to Door." During his acceptance speech, Macy took his SAG membership card out of his wallet and showed it to the audience. Speaking with reporters backstage, he said getting the card 30 years ago was a big day in his life.

"It was right up there with my drivers license," said Macy. "With my marriage license. And with my birth certificate."

Stockard Channing won for female actor in a TV movie or miniseries for her performance as Judy Shepard, the mother of hate crime victim Matthew Shepard in the NBC TV movie "The Matthew Shepard Story."

SAG honored actor-director-producer Clint Eastwood with its 39th Life Achievement Award. "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Ray Romano presented the award following a filmed tribute to Eastwood featuring Morgan Freeman, Marcia Gay Harden, Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meryl Streep.

The ceremony also featured a series of film clips spotlighting actors who sang in movies -- including Whoopi Goldberg, Clark Gable, Steve Martin and Sissy Spacek.

The 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were presented in ceremonies at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, televised live by TNT.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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