EVERYONE'S BEEN ASKING WHY it's taken so long for the guild to have its own award ceremony," deadpanned Star Trek's Patrick Stewart at the first ever Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 25. "We are the most modest, most unassuming, most self-effacing guild in the industry."

The SAG honors—given to fellow film and television thespians by the group's 78,000 members—is Hollywood's latest exercise in self-congratulation. Over drinks and dinner on an elaborately decorated soundstage at Universal Studios, about 1,000 cardholders and guests feted and lauded each other in a cozy—and mercifully brief—two-hour televised affair. Tom Hanks and Jodie Foster, who won for Best Acting in a Movie, and Dennis Franz (Best Actor, TV Drama) and Helen Hunt (Best Actress, TV Comedy) were among the 22 performers who took home "The Actor"—an anatomically correct male statue made of bronze.

Everybody seemed to be paired up, including buddies Margaret Cho and Quentin Tarantino. But the twosome that twinkled most were Jerry Seinfeld, 39, and his on-again, off-again sweetheart Shoshanna Lonstein, 19. Seinfeld, whose hit show won for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, spent much of the time cuddling and kissing Lonstein, who showed her décolletage in one of the most revealing gowns at the gala. Typically it was Seinfeld who fired off the night's best quip: "In a town with so much plastic surgery," he said, "it's hard to believe they can even give out a SAG Award."