Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Social Networking at SAG

It turns out that it's not just award shows that get repetitive: it's the parties that surround them too.
This weekend, in the mad dash to the Oscars on the West Coast, there were the Directors Guild Awards (by all accounts long and exhausting) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (blink and you could have missed them on TNT). Sure, there was a tiny bit of a surprise—not in a bad way—that "The King's Speech" won for Best Ensemble at the latter ceremony, but at this point everything else flows like clockwork.
To keep up with the turning of the clock, however, being a celebrity in this town is as much about stamina as it is anything else.
It can't be easy to wake up nearly every day of the weekend in season, put on a new dress, get in your car, keep your game face going and then party like it's 1999. But then again, someone else is arranging the outfit, doing the hair and makeup and calling the car. In fact, for most of these folks—be they stars of television or the big screen, two mediums that mix at the Sag Awards—another televised night in black tie in front of the popping flashbulbs must be regular routine.
 "Yes," said Armie Hammer, the young actor who has been the public face of "The Social Network" this year, without hesitation, when asked if he was getting tired of going out and about in support of the movie. "But it's much better than the alternative of no one talking about our film."
How do you know you're at a big gala for an award show? Like at so many of them these days, at the one People magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation threw on Sunday near the Shrine downtown for the SAGs, there were several bars for alcoholic beverages (Grey Goose vodka and Apothic wine were on tap) and another "beauty bar" where L'Oreal was offering free products and "touch-ups." Such a trend hasn't quite made it to the party set on the East Coast, but perhaps it is on its way.
You also know you are at a big gala for an award show because there are lots of people you don't recognize carefully guarding their huge gift bags as if there were ingots of gold inside.
 What really was inside: various face lotions, a $10 gift certificate to Pinkberry, a set of Bananagrams (that's a word game that comes in a bright yellow banana-shaped pouch), and TeethingBling, a turquoise-colored necklace produced especially for the 17th annual SAG awards and "made from the same material as teething toys." Said the packaging: it "looks great on Moms, Grandmas and Aunts but is safe for curious babies."
The gift bag was almost as weighty as the green marble SAG Award itself, which weighed a ton of bricks. Rico Rodriguez, the 12-year-old actor who plays the young, precocious Manny on "Modern Family," was cradling his like a baby and had attached his white boutonniere to it.
"It's really heavy and I don't know how I'm carrying it," Mr. Rodriguez said, offering it to a reporter to hold. "The adrenaline from our win must be giving me lots of strength."
There were many big celebrities at People's gala—at least for a short interim until they moved on to the various and relatively low-key after-parties thrown by the Weinstein Co., HBO and UTA. Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo and Warren Beatty relaxed in one area; the cast of "Glee" in another; Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake (future co-stars in a romantic comedy this summer) seemed rapt in conversation in another, a photograph that will no doubt end up in the issue of People out this week.
One thing that separated the SAGs from other ceremonies is that it had its own social media ambassador. Said individual was the actress Angie Harmon ("Law & Order," "Rizzoli & Isles") who, wearing pink feathers and tulle, was taking a break from her duties on a couch with her husband, the football player Jason Sehorn and a few friends.
Ms. Harmon joked that in exchange for agreeing to take the position, the Screen Actors Guild had given her "a crown and a T-shirt."
"Actually," she said, "they just gave me a Twitter account."
How many times did she Tweet during the ceremony?
"Oh, I don't know," Ms. Harmon, who lives in North Carolina, sighed. "That's like asking a woman how big her ring is. Many times. The whole point was to give an actor's point of view during the show. Like, 'Right now, I'm 40 feet away from Christian Bale.' or 'I'm crushing on Morgan Freeman.'"
As she reached toward a vegetable plate at the center of a nearby table, Ms. Harmon was asked what she would tweet right there, right then. "Probably something like 'Who doesn't love jicama? Why don't you go and grab yourself some?'"
Ms. Harmon wasn't convinced she'd be asked back as social media ambassador for the SAGs next year. If not, she suggested the actor Eric Stonestreet, who plays the overweight, over-the-top Cam on "Modern Family." "I think he'd be particularly forthright with emoticons," Ms. Harmon said.
Caught later with the rest of his cast at the Sunset Tower, Mr. Stonestreet was flattered Ms. Harmon had nominated him for the honor.
"I think Twitter is a very entertaining medium," Mr. Stonestreet said. "And if Angie Harmon can do it, I can do it. What she has in looks, I certainly have in girth."

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