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SAG Nominations: Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell talk awards

December 17, 2009 |  9:06 am

Early this morning, members of the media gathered at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood for the announcement of the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. Journalists nibbled on pastries and stood around a silver SAG statue while waiting in the theater lobby, where a table of unique memorabilia rested on a table. Scripts signed by the casts of hit TV shows "Glee" and "House," the chance to meet Betty White at the SAG Awards, and a coat worn in "The Fast and the Furious" were only some of the goodies being offered up for the SAG Foundation Benefit Online Auction.


Inside the theater, SAG President Ken Howard welcomed the audience before introducing presenters Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell.


Despite the early hour, Monaghan looked red-carpet ready, dressed in a light pink one-shouldered dress. O'Donnell, meanwhile, appeared trim in a dark suit. Both actors stuck to the script, reading off a teleprompter and opting not to riff on the nominees, as Justin Timberlake did at the Golden Globes nominations Tuesday morning.


Like at the Globes nominations earlier in the week, "Glee's" nomination drew cheers from the crowd, while "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe's nomination for female actor in a leading role garnered much applause.

Monaghan said she woke up at 3 a.m. to get glammed out for the presentation. The actress, who has garnered acclaim for her role in the independent film "Trucker," described the last year as a whirlwind.

"It's been incredible. It was such a challenge just to get this movie distribution to the actual theaters and we had that, which was such a huge success," she said. "But it's had an incredible response and we're really, really grateful for it. The movie means a lot to me."

Come January, she'll be presenting an award at the show -- and she's already thinking ahead to what she'll wear.

"Oh, I'm always thinking about frocks, sister!" she laughed.

O'Donnell said he set his alarm for 4:15 a.m., joking that he "had to get [his] hair in curlers." After a barrage of interviews, the actor said he was headed down the street for a day of filming on his new hit show, "NCIS: Los Angeles."


"It's been a very busy year, but that's good," he said of the show's success. "We're having a blast with the show. It's a crap shoot having a TV show make it and the fact that people have been tuning in and watching it has been really gratifying and we're all really excited about it."


And he and co-star LL Cool J have become close friends in the process.


"Oh yeah, we're hangin' out at the mall on the weekends," he joked. "We have a terrific rapport. You do a TV show and all of a sudden you feel like you're married to them."


Howard, the SAG president, said he didn't think there were any huge surprises among the nominees.

"For personal reasons, I was thrilled that both Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore got nominated cause I worked with them and thought they were so wonderful," said Howard, who starred alongside the actresses in "Grey Gardens." "They were both so committed and so wonderful in their roles. I wish they could both share the award."

As for his personal favorites, Howard says he's a fan of George Clooney and "Up in the Air," though he's looking forward to seeing Jane Campion's "Bright Star."

And Howard said he's looking forward to the awards ceremony next month.

"Well, I've always liked those awards, haven't you?" he said. "Peers honoring their peers. I've always enjoyed them as a viewer, and this year I get to speak very briefly. So it should be fun."

-- Amy Kaufman

Follow me on Twitter: @AmyKinLA