SAG Awards 2015: Surprises, Salutes and No-Shows

A few unexpected winners, a stumble on stage and some empty chairs were the highlights of Sunday’s show

The 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards were held Sunday night in Los Angeles, with top prizes going to casts including those of “Birdman” and “Downton Abbey,” and with individual leading performance wins for Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne.

Broadcasting on TBS, guild SAG-AFTRA chose the best performances in film and television this year and handed out marble statuettes accordingly at the Shrine Auditorium.

“I have written so many great acceptance speeches that I never got to give,” joked William H. Macy, who surprised many with a win for Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series for “Shameless,” and continued to joke, “to my fellow nominees, forget it you lost.”

Redmayne, who edged out Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton and Oscar hopeful Bradley Cooper, was a little kinder to the men in his category.

“This has been such an extraordinary year for performances, to be included in this number of Michael, Ben [Cumberbatch], Jake [Gyllenhaal], Steve [Carell], but beyond that to Bradley Cooper to David Oyelowo to Bradley Cooper – oh, I said Bradley Cooper!” the British actor said, as he scooped the prize for “The Theory of Everything.”

Moore, who nabbed her second SAG award for her moving portrait of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s, talked about her early days acting on a soap opera.

“When I was on ‘As the World Turns,’ I was so excited when they wrote two parts for me. The classic twin sister role, the good and the evil one. I couldn’t wait to do it and I was so excited, and then I realized it was super boring to act by myself. What I really loved and what I really craved was being with another actor and feeling that intimacy, and that excitement and thrill and getting to know someone in that way, that’s what brings me back to acting again and again,” Moore said.

Two actors the crowd was unable to enjoy: Kevin Spacey, absent for his win for Male Actor in a Drama Series for  Netflix’s “House of Cards,” and Mark Ruffalo, who won for Male Actor in a supporting role for HBO’s “The Normal Heart.”

“Waiting for that Nor’easter to hit,” said Ruffalo’s “Normal Heart” costar Julia Roberts, hinting he may be holed up on the east coast ahead of their expected storm.

There were still plenty of kudos to go around, especially for Debbie Reynolds, the 2015 Life Achievement Award recipient. Welcomed to the stage with a touching and funny speech by daughter Carrie Fisher, Reynolds reflected on her hits like “Singin’ in the Rain.”

“My favorite movie was ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’” Reynolds said. “Of course, I had a wonderful hairdo in the film. I had a big bun. So I warned my daughter Carrie — who just got a part as Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’ — I said, ‘Be careful of any weird hairdos.’ So luckily George [Lucas] gave her two buns. Thank you, George!’”

Other surprises of the evening included “Birdman” for best ensemble, which also featured a tiny trip by star Naomi Watts as she headed to the microphone, leaving her frazzled in thanking director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Perhaps Frances McDormand, who won fro Female Performance in a TV Movie or Mini Series for “Olive Kitteridge,” said it best:

“This is really swell and everything but I wish we could all get some really cozy slippers, a box of See’s Nuts and Chews, hang out and watch more of our work. Because every little snippet I see I want to see more and more.”

Read the full list of 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award winners.