Javier Bardem, "The Sopranos" early SAG winners

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Spanish actor Javier Bardem and mob drama “The Sopranos” took early movie and television awards at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony on Sunday in Hollywood’s first full-scale awards show in a season marred by a bitter industry strike.

James Gandolfini (C) and other cast members of "The Sopranos'' celebrate their win for best ensemble drama at the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 27, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Bardem won for his supporting actor role as a cold-blooded killer in “No Country For Old Men” at a star-studded dinner at the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles preceded by a red carpet parade that even wintry rain failed to dampen.

“The Sopranos,” which ended after six seasons in June 2007, took the top TV drama prize for best ensemble cast. Stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco won the SAG award for best actor and actress in a TV drama.

Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Eva Longoria and Tom Cruise provided some much-missed star power at SAG in a three-month ongoing strike by Hollywood screenwriters that led to celebrities boycotting the Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards earlier this month.

“The entire town has been going through a very difficult time. So to be able to celebrate something is a wonderful thing,” former “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing told Reuters.

The Writers Guild Of America allowed its members to write for the SAG awards show and said it would not protest outside the event because actors have been strong allies of the writers in their bid for higher payments for work distributed over the Internet.

The strike also threatens the Feb. 24 Oscars, the movie industry’s biggest showcase, although hopes have risen for a settlement after informal talks resumed last week between the WGA and major studios.


Winners at SAG are normally seen as key contenders for an Oscar since actors make up the biggest group of the 6,000 Academy Award voters.

But this year, SAG appears out of sync with the Oscars in the best picture race. British war romance “Atonement” and the greed and power drama “There Will Be Blood,” which won eight Oscar nominations, are missing from SAG’s nominees for its top prize of best cast ensemble.

Instead, the true-life wilderness story “Into the Wild,” written and directed by actor Sean Penn, leads the SAG field with four nominations. It received a disappointing two Oscar nods.

Joining the list of nominees for best ensemble cast is musical “Hairspray,” western “3:10 to Yuma,” crime thriller “American Gangster” and the latest Coen brothers movie, “No Country for Old Men.”

Britons Daniel Day Lewis, who plays a malicious oil entrepreneur in “There Will Be Blood,” and Julie Christie, who plays a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease in “Away From Her,” as well as France’s Marion Cotillard, who played singer Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose,” are front-runners for SAG’s best actor and actress awards. All won Golden Globes and Oscar nominations.

In the supporting actress category, Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There” faces Tilda Swinton for the legal thriller “Michael Clayton” and Amy Ryan for “Gone Baby Gone.”