The Screen Actors Guild Awards serve as a halftime whistle in Hollywood's busiest season, between January's Golden Globes and February's Oscar gold -- making the SAG after-party something of a halftime show.
A lot of stars were blowing off steam as big winners including "The Help," "Modern Family" and "The Artist" mingled on Sunday evening.
The guild's annual gala, a partnership between People magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, awaited guests from the telecast in a tented space just off the Shrine Expo Hall. An Old Hollywood theme permeated the event, enhanced by thick drapes, velvet booths and a throwback jazz band.
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Brad Pitt didn't take home the night's big acting prize -- that went to "The Artist" lead Jean Dujardin -- but he seemed plenty comforted by partner Angelina Jolie. The actress-director picked at salad while chatting up Brad's "Moneyball" costar Jonah Hill.
If quality time with Jolie wasn't enough for Hill, the conversation was interrupted by an enthusiastic Armie Hammer, who like Jonah was nominated for male supporting actor in a drama.
"Well done!" Hammer offered Jonah. Nice to see that Armie's recent herbal issues haven't killed his rosy disposition.
"The Descendants" cast camped right next to Team Pitt as Judy Greer and Shailene Woodley laughed and people-watched together. (George Clooney and Stacey Keibler made only the briefest party appearance.)
Always a good time, "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen entertained her cast with bawdy jokes a few feet from a mixed bag of "30 Rock" and "Bridesmaids" stars. These combined forces were pleasing to a svelte Jane Krakowski, who snapped tons of pictures with her smartphone.
Yet no one had a night like the stars of "The Help" had: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer considered their statuettes in the cast's private booth, while Emma Stone and Allison Janney chatted up director Tate Taylor.
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-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the SAG Awards in L.A. on Sunday. Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press