SAG Awards Sing for 'Chicago' Stars
"Gangs of New York" bully Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor, and Christopher Walken scored best supporting actor for his role as Leonardo DiCaprio's father in "Catch Me If You Can."
Zellweger's victory came as something of a surprise, given that it has been widely assumed that "The Hours" star Nicole Kidman had a lock on the Best Actress Oscar, to be presented in two weeks. The SAG Awards are considered a strong indicator in that upcoming race.
Zellweger, who was nominated alongside Salma Hayek ("Frida"), Diane Lane ("Unfaithful") and Julianne Moore ("Far from Heaven"), shrieked when her name was called. She then thanked her fellow "Chicago" costars and said that showing up to look at Richard Gere's face every morning "isn't a bad day's work."
Day-Lewis won SAG's Actor trophy in a tight category that also included Jack Nicholson ("About Schmidt"), Nicolas Cage ("Adaptation"), Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") and Gere ("Chicago"). The English actor cited the influence of seeing movies such as "A Place in the Sun," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "From Here to Eternity" and even spaghetti Westerns in shaping his acting dreams.
He also thanked his "Gangs" costars, calling DiCaprio "sweet," and adding that the bad thing about John C. Reilly "is that he has a habit of making all the other actors around him look as if they are acting."
Because the guild's ceremony only recognizes performances, its ensemble category is regarded as the equivalent of a best-picture prize -- and that award went to "Chicago."
Gere, serving as cast spokesman, said, "I have never, ever had such fun in my life until I did this, and I think everyone here feels the same way."
In addition to "Chicago," other films competing for the ensemble honor were the fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," the surprise romantic-comedy blockbuster "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the literary suicide drama "The Hours" and the offbeat screenwriting comedy "Adaptation."
In the TV races, Edie Falco and James Gandolfini were cited for their leading roles on "The Sopranos," while comedians Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally cleaned up for "Will & Grace." The ensemble awards went to "Six Feet Under" for drama and "Everybody Loves Raymond" for comedy.
Gandolfini, who is suing HBO regarding his contract for next season, chuckled as he accepted his award. "Maybe there's some stuff lately that makes me seem ungrateful, but HBO, I'd like to thank you for what you've done ... it is a great place to work," he said.
SAG also handed lifetime achievement honors Sunday night to Clint Eastwood for his work in front of the camera and for the actor's union.
Some 4,200 randomly selected members of the union chose nominations for the SAG Awards. The guild's full roster of 98,000 members was eligible to vote for final winners.
Here's a complete list of the night's winners:
Lead Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Gangs of New York"
Lead Actress: Renee Zellweger, "Chicago"
Supporting Actor: Christopher Walken, "Catch Me If You Can"
Supporting Actress: Catherine Zeta-Jones, "Chicago"
Outstanding Cast: "Chicago"
Lead Actor, Drama: James Gandolfini, "The Sopranos"
Lead Actress, Drama: Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"
Lead Actor, Comedy: Sean Hayes, "Will & Grace"
Lead Actress, Comedy: Megan Mullally, "Will & Grace"
Lead Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie: William H. Macy, "Door to Door"
Lead Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie: Stockard Channing, "The Matthew Shepard Story"
Ensemble, Drama: "Six Feet Under"
Ensemble, Comedy: "Everybody Loves Raymond"