Lowell legend Dicky Eklund and Christian Bale
at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
By Nicole Sperling
LOS ANGELES — In the span of about two weeks, "The King’s Speech" has gone from Oscar underdog to front-runner.
The other big winner of the night was "The Fighter," with Christian Bale and Melissa Leo taking home acting prizes for their supporting roles in the boxing drama. The cast was particularly celebratory since both Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund — the real men on whom the film is based — were in the audience to root on their newfound Hollywood friends.
Bale was joined on stage briefly by Eklund, who throughout the ceremony cheered loudly whenever "The Fighter" was mentioned. "Thank you for living the life and thank you for letting me play you," Bale said to Eklund upon accepting his statue. He added, "It’s so silly what we do, sometimes it’s like playing dress-up. Other times it’s so meaningful."
Leo continued the awards romp that began for her and Bale at the Golden Globes, this time giving a shout-out to the six women who accompanied her to the awards show — six of the seven actresses who played her colorful daughters in the movie. "Thanks for helping me get a man to take home tonight," she quipped in reference to her solid bronze statue.
Leo also got a bit political, likely surprising non-Hollywood viewers with her union shop talk. "Let’s join together," she said during her acceptance speech. "Let’s make it a real voice."
She was referring to a possible merger between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. SAG represents 125,000 members, while AFTRA has 70,000. Many actors belong to both unions, and the two guilds conduct some joint bargaining. If the two unions were to unite, it’s unclear what next year’s awards might be called.