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Arts & Culture

Screen Actors Guild Awards

The Bourne Ultimatum won the first ever Best Stunt Ensemble at the SAG Awards. (Universal)

Over the weekend, many industry guilds gave out their top awards. The Directors Guild of America honored the Coens for No Country for Old Men, and the American Society of Cinematographers bestowed its top prize on Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood. With a waiver from the still striking Writers Guild, the Screen Actors Guild got to have an awards ceremony with a red carpet and celebrities. No real surprises as Daniel Day Lewis and Julie Christie racked up awards yet again for their respective work in There Will Be Blood and Away From Her . This looks like a preview of the upcoming Oscars. No Country for Old Men nabbed the best ensemble, which bodes well for it to grab the Best Picture Award come Oscar time. You can see the complete list of winners at the SAG website .

But there was one surprise at the otherwise predictable SAG awards, a new category for Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. The nominees were 300, The Bourne Ultimatum, I am Legend, The Kingdom, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. And the winner was The Bourne Ultimatum. Are you kidding me? I don't want to belittle the hard work that went into those films but what about Zoe Bell's phenomenal stunts in Grindhouse's Deathproof ? Grindhouse deserved a nomination just for paying tribute to all the stuntmen of the industry's "all or nothing" days" as Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike put it.


And what about the insanely over the top stunts in Shoot 'Em Up ? And were all Asian films excluded? They must have been or there is no excuse for overlooking work from Hong Kong ( Exiled and Flashpoint just to name two), South Korea ( City of Violence had breathtaking stunts), Japan and even Thailand. Heck even Live Free or Die Hard had more impressive stunt work than Bourne . Only 300 brought anything new or fresh to the action genre among those films nominated. As an action film junkie, I just had to get that off my chest. On the plus side, it's cool that SAG created this award. In Hong Kong, they have a category for Action Choreography. So it's nice to see the U.S. begin to pay respect to this particular cinematic craft.

More awards to come. The Oscars -- if the writers' strike ends or they get a waiver from the WGA -- is scheduled for February 24.  You can get a printable ballot for your own Oscar event, or join Scott Marks and I at the Museum of Photographic Arts' Oscar Party . And the winner is...