Backstage and on the carpet at the SAGs

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A look at what the stars said backstage and on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards:


KING OF THE WORLD: "Slumdog Millionaire" actor Dev Patel ran into his first love on the red carpet: Kate Winslet. "It's surreal. I mean, walking down the red carpet today, I see people who have been winning Oscars since before I even contemplated being an actor," he said backstage. "She was like my first love, Kate Winslet. And she knew who I was."

LEARNING CURVE: For James Franco, working on "Milk" was not only a professional thrill but also a learning experience. "I grew up in the Bay Area, where all these events took place, and I was never taught anything about [gay rights activist Harvey] Milk or who he was, so ... I can't expect the rest of the world to know. That's the most important thing," he said.

STRIKING OUT: Holly Hunter said on the red carpet before the show that actors come to the SAG Awards to support the union, which has struggled internally over leadership and a possible strike authorization vote. "One of the great powers of the union -- any union -- is the ability to strike," Hunter said. "And I support them."

FAMILY AFFAIR: Anne Hathaway, who is nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "Rachel Getting Married," said she is "trying to keep a healthy perspective" about awards season -- and that meant spending Oscar nomination morning at her parents' house. "I figured I'd be crying either way," she said, "so it would be good to be with mommy and daddy."

MAKING AN ENTRANCE: Tracey Ullman said she spent her time on the red carpet spotting stars. "It's great fun. You see who's had work done," she joked. "You see what thespians are aging, who aren't. We just stopped around the corner for a Starbucks, and half the people are in their limos at Starbucks just circling because no one wants to arrive too early."

JOKER ONSTAGE, DAD OFF: Alec Baldwin had to crack a joke onstage when accepting his trophy for comedy actor: "I don't know who I want to make out with more, Diane Lane or Tony Hopkins. Tony looks so good, he looks fantastic." Earlier, on the red carpet with daughter Ireland, 13, he was happy to be among friends: "It's like a reunion!" Ireland said she was proud of him.

'ROCK' OF AGES: Backstage, after the ensemble win, the "30 Rock" cast was asked how it feels getting awards all the time. (They also have won Emmys and Golden Globes.) Tina Fey responded with a joke, naturally: "It feels like everyone is starting to turn on us. It feels like an imminent wave of backlash." Then added more seriously: "It is an honor." Asked if she had to choose between winning for ensemble or individual, she went with ensemble. "We really are an ensemble."

MAD ABOUT 'MEN': The "Mad Men" contingent was out in full force, and they were celebrating even before the show won best drama. January Jones, who plays housewife Betty Draper, said, "We shoot from April to August, so it's just nice to come to these events, see my castmates and just party." Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) said he's thrilled show creator Matt Weiner was able to sign a deal and return for the third season. "That's huge. He is the heart and soul of our show." Said Weiner: "I am glad to go back to work, and that we will start getting the writers back in the next couple of weeks." What will the season be about? "I don't know," he said. "I have a few ideas."

HAPPY COUPLE: Elizabeth Moss (Peggy of "Mad Men") was showing off her new fiance, Fred Armisan of "Saturday Night Live". He said, "We are very happy." She said, "I'm happier than ever." Will he show up as himself or a character at the wedding? "Oh, it will be him," Moss said. Armisan quipped: "I will do the character of loving husband."

SEEN AND HEARD: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt walked the red carpet on the fan side, and Jolie went over and signed one young fan's autograph book, and asked if he wanted Brad to sign, too. Vincent Llorente, 12, of San Marco, Calif., said he just held out his book and she came over. What's his secret? Dad Angel said, "He is so cute." ... William Shatner, a nominee for "Boston Legal," which concluded last year, said he misses the show. "I don't miss the 5 o'clock calls, I miss the people." Especially co-star, and fellow nominee, James Spader: "It was a real friendship," Shatner said. "He is a wonderful guy and I love him."

AP and Gannett News Service

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