How the SAG Awards are ‘like any good party’

There is no sign of the coveted statuette in the temporary production offices in Encino on this December day, only invitations waiting to go out and a room filled with bottles of Champagne. But there is a wall hanging of The Actor.As Connell poses for pictures in front of it, she regales the photographer about her husband Daryl Anderson’s stint in the role as Animal, a newspaper photographer on the 1970s TV series, “Lou Grant.” Anderson is also part of the team behind the SAG Awards, a collaborative affair that Connell likens to a soccer team working toward a common goal.

Kathy Connell knows how to make an awards show for 1,250 guests feel intimate.Cozy, even.“You make it a positive experience for everybody with really good food and wine and great company, just like any good party,” says Connell, who has produced the Screen Actors Guild Awards for its entire run.The 23rd Annual SAG Awards, broadcasting Jan. 29 on TNT and TBS live from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center, is described as a “congenial celebration to mingle with friends and colleagues while recognizing outstanding achievements by their peers.”
Connell says she’s “forever grateful” for Hanks’ kind remarks. As a second-generation actor married to an actor, the Woodland Hills-based executive producer of the awards and national programming for SAG-AFTRA is part of a small group of SAG officers who created the awards, from its sit-down, dinner club ambiance to its categories, rules and design of “The Actor” statuette.According to its description, the Actor statuette holds the masks of comedy and tragedy, contemplating which persona to assume before stepping in front of the camera.

At the very first SAG Awards, Tom Hanks proudly pulled out his SAG card when he won best actor for “Forrest Gump.” He later told reporters backstage at Universal Studios Hollywood, “We could probably have done this in a smaller room at the Roosevelt Hotel without quite so many cameras here, and it would have been just as special.” “You hear it over and over, but this is like a big clubhouse,” Selenis Leyva of the Netflix comedy “Orange is the New Black” said in a red carpet interview to TNT at the SAG Awards in 2016. That isn’t just hype.The glamorous Hollywood guests are often heard praising this show where actors honor fellow actors.