Lauded by critics for its style, simplicity and genuine warmth, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which made its debut in 1995, has become one of the industry's most prized honours.
The only televised awards shows to exclusively honour performers, it presents 13 awards for acting in film and television in a fast moving two-hour show.
The awards focus on both individual performances as well as on the work of the entire ensemble of a drama series and comedy series, and the cast of a motion picture. These honours are fundamental to the spirit of the Screen Actors Guild Awards because they recognise what all actors know – that acting is a collaborative art.
In that same spirit, the SAG Awards also commends the outstanding performances by film and television stunt ensembles. These accolades are announced from the SAG Awards red carpet during pre-show webcasts, which usually air live in South Africa on E! Entertainment.
Other highlights of the Screen Actors Guild Awards include the Life Achievement Award, presented to an established performer for fostering the highest ideals of the acting profession and tributes to the varied talents within the Guild's membership.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards are also unique in the size of its voting body. Two randomly selected panels of 2,100 SAG members each from across the United States choose the nominees for television and motion pictures. The final ballot then goes out to the full guild membership - approximately 100,000 members - who select the outstanding performances of the year.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards also benefits the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, which provides a meaningful way for SAG members to contribute to the literacy of children in their communities through BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), its online component, Storyline and the We The Children family-heritage book-writing project.
SAG Foundation programs provide emergency relief to members in economic distress, video and audio preservation of the creative legacy of SAG members, scholarships for performers and their children and emergency funds for members with catastrophic illnesses.
Screen Actors Guild is America's largest labour union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labour movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century.
With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 120,000 actors who work in film and digital theatrical motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats.
The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights.