SAG Awards Launch Belated Red Carpet Season

Thanks to a strike waiver, the top stars come out Sunday to honor their own

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Steve Granitz/WireImage

After the writers’ strike doomed the Golden Globes, the stars will finally come out Sunday for the Screen Actors Guild Awards – the first major televised award ceremony to get a waiver from the Writers Guild of America.

Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, and Zac Efron are on the presenters list, while nominees George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, James Gandolfini and Golden Globe winners Cate Blanchett, Javier Bardem and Tina Fey are also expected to walk the red carpet at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

The ceremony, which will be simulcast on TBS and TNT, also will include a tribute to actors who died this year, including , who was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday.

The Screen Actors Guild’s support of the striking writers in their ongoing dispute with Hollywood producers resulted in a waiver – permission for its writers to work for the SAG Awards ceremony – and the assurance that there would be no picketing of the show. No such deal applied to the Golden Globes, which was a ratings loser with entertainment show hosts announcing the winners.

While the Writers Guild has agreed not to picket at the Feb.10 Grammy Awards – giving Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah and other musicians who are SAG members a free path to the red carpet, the future of the Academy Awards remains in doubt.

Both sides in the dispute have been meeting in an effort to settle the strike before the Feb. 24 Oscar-cast, but the ceremony still faces the same celebrity-free fate as the Golden Globes. Academy Awards producer Gil Cates is going ahead with a contingency plan for the ABC telecast, which will rely on musical numbers and existing footage if celebrities can’t come to the party.

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