Who was conspicuously MIA from the Screen Actors Guild Awards press room? Who was afraid he would bore the reporters to tears? And which star of The Office claims to have been the model for the Actor statue's backside? TVGuide.com was backstage at Sunday night's 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, and here's a timeline of the highs and lows from the press room.
8:00 pm/ET: The show's broadcast begins, but there's no audio coming from the room's monitor. Michael, the friendly press-room moderator, assures us the problem is going to be fixed momentarily. (No word on if the sound will be intentionally cut if Grey's Anatomy nominee Isaiah Washington shows up and tries to grab the microphone.)
8:02: The sound snafu is resolved just in time to hear most of Helen Mirren (Elizabeth I) give her acceptance speech for best actress in a TV-movie/miniseries. We're then told Mirren is making her way backstage to speak with the press.
8:09: In his acceptance speech, Jeremy Irons (Elizabeth I) says actors make him feel like a plumber — ironic, since most plumbers in Los Angeles are also actors.
8:12: Reporters speculate whether the Grey's Anatomy cast will come backstage if it wins for drama-series ensemble. No one, though, is putting money on this, given what occurred in the Golden Globes press room. "It'll never happen... never happen," jokes one reporter.
8:16: Alec Baldwin wins for actor in a comedy series, for his performance in 30 Rock. Mirren hasn't shown up yet. Hmm. She must still be getting her picture taken.
8:19: As clips for female actor in a comedy series are shown, I wonder why Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) is in with lead actresses, when she was always in the supporting category at the Emmys?
8:29: Still waiting for Mirren. Who does this lady think she is, the Queen of England? Oh, wait....
8:30: The cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which ended in 1977) reunites on stage, having just flown in from Tipperary. Everyone looks amazing. Not even the Saved by the Bell gang will look this good 30 years later.
8:32: The British invasion at last — Mirren enters the press room! And she's brought Jeremy Irons with her!
8:33: Mirren tells a reporter she will never answer his question about whether or not she wants to win the Oscar come Feb. 24. "If you'd asked me 10 years ago, I would have said yes," the actress says. Poor journo missed his deadline by a decade. Yikes.
8:38: Irons is asked how he can win the Golden Globe for supporting actor in a TV-movie and then the SAG lead award for the same role. (I perk up, as this is essentially the same question I would have posed to Megan Mullally had she won.) "Every performance is a supporting performance," theorizes Irons.
8:43: As Dreamgirls' Eddie Murphy, who won for supporting actor in a film, finishes his acceptance speech on stage, the camera cuts to his ex-Saturday Night Live costars/marrieds Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall. Nice touch. Give that director a DGA award!
9:00: Male cast members of The Office (sans Steve Carell, who was getting ready to present) enter the press room after the show wins for best-comedy-series ensemble. "We're the men of Ugly Betty," quips Rainn Wilson, who reveals that his likeness was used in conceiving SAG's Actor statue: "I actually posed for this several years ago. I was the model for the buttocks."
9:01: Paul Lieberstein (Toby), who's also one of the Office scribes, was asked to offer up a juicy February-sweeps preview. "Someone will get married," he shares, "[and] someone will die." Really?! "I'm kidding about someone dying," he adds, "but an animal will attack. Nobody is safe."
9:03: Did actors from The Office get to talk to the Mary Tyler Moore cast? "I told [Mary] that I sold her some flatware at Bloomingdale's 15 years ago in New York City," says Oscar Nunez (Oscar). "And now here I am. That's pretty cool."
9:07: A reporter asks America Ferrera, winner for female actor in a comedy series, if she's getting ready to do another project during her sitcom hiatus. "The offers don't come pouring in," says the Ugly Betty star. "[But] you do get in more doors. That's a mark of success."
9:14: A collective gasp erupts from reporters as Grey's Anatomy's Chandra Wilson beats out heavy competition — including The Sopranos' Edie Falco and The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick — for female actor in a drama series.
9:18: In her acceptance speech, Wilson thanks her fellow cast members who were present for the awards show — and "the other one in rehab," referring to absentee Isaiah Washington.
9:21: Life Achievement Award honoree Julie Andrews deadpans to the press that she got the lead in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria because she was "living with the director" [Andrews' husband, Blake Edwards].
9:32: Grey's Anatomy wins for outstanding-drama-series ensemble. I must come up with a provocative question to ask the cast when they get back here, in order to generate a "hot topic" on The View.
9:34: Eddie Murphy is asked if he is upset that Dreamgirls failed to score an Oscar nod for best picture. "I'm so happy to be nominated, I wasn't disappointed about anything," he diplomatically responds. Minutes later, Murphy says, "I hope I didn't bore the [expletive] out of you," as he exits the press room.
9:44: Time for a restroom break...?
9:44:10: I hear buzz that the Grey's cast is coming to the press room. Cancel restroom break.
9:58: Annette Bening, a nominee for Mrs. Harris, closes the host-free awards show, but the press room is still open for business....
9:59: Forest Whitaker is asked about his lean days as a struggling actor. "When I was young, I had a low threshold," he recalls. "I could sleep on someone's couch, live on ramen, and go to the local Thai restaurant and steal their sauce."
10:03: The press-room liaison says Chandra Wilson is coming to talk to us, as soon she finishes some one-on-one (translation: TV) interviews.
10:19: Helen Mirren's publicist enters, carrying both of her SAG Awards, and then rests them on a stand near the microphone. "Make sure she takes these with her," he tells us.
10:20: Mirren enters, having this time been named best film actress for her work in The Queen. TVGuide.com asks her if she has ever heard from the real Queen Elizabeth II about her film interpretation. "No, I never have, and I never will," muses Mirren, adding, "and if I do, I'll never tell anyone about it, anyway."
10:24: We're told that neither Wilson nor the cast of Grey's Anatomy is coming to the press room to answer questions about Wilson's win, their work together as an ensemble, or Isaiah's "rehabilitation." What's more, best drama-series actor Hugh Laurie is no longer in the House and, apparently, the press is "living without" talking to Dreamgirls' Jennifer Hudson, the winner for supporting film actress.
10:30: Little Miss Sunshine's Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear and Abigail Breslin, members of the best-motion-picture cast, enter our midst. "We spent a couple of weeks rehearsing," Carell says in response to a question about how the cast bonded. "We went bowling and out to lunch in character. One of the funniest things was Alan in the back of the van saying, "I gotta pee, I gotta pee.... " (Alan, I feel your pain.)
10:32: Sunshine writer Michael Arndt steps up to the microphone after the cast is asked about a follow-up feature. "Maybe," the scribe hedges. "The history of sequels shows they can be disappointing, so unless I could do a Godfather II.... " Arkin jokes that the sequel could possibly be called "Little Ms. Sunshine." And you'd have to think it'd still be a big hit.
For star-studded video clips, glam photos and our comprehensive blog of the kudos telecast, be sure to check out TVGuide.com's SAG Awards special.