In happier news from Hollywood, Roberto Benigni, the irrepressible force both behind and in front of the camera in “Life Is Beautiful,” was named Best Actor at Sunday’s fifth annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The Best Actress prize went to Gwyneth Paltrow for her role as the Bard’s muse in “Shakespeare In Love,” an award that follows her win in the same category at the Golden Globes. The cast of “Shakespeare” also won for Best Ensemble Work in a Motion Picture. As he bounded onto the stage of L.A.’s Shrine Exposition Hall, Benigni picked up presenter Helen Hunt and twirled her around. “Mama mia!” he exclaimed as the applause thundered. He thanked his fellow nominees and then said, “Every organ in my body is moving in a very bad way.” A more demure Paltrow, when her turn came, addressed fellow nominee Cate Blanchett (for “Elizabeth”) and said: “Cate, I was positive you were going to get it — that’s why I didn’t prepare anything!” For more SAG winners, click here.

  • In other news portending the Oscars, the Directors Guild on Saturday night honored Steven Spielberg for his work on “Saving Private Ryan.” Still, the question lingers: Will “Ryan” or “Shakespeare” take home the Oscar for Best Picture? Other DGA winners were Michael Cristofer for the HBO movie “Gia” and Paris Barclay for the “NYPD Blue” episode in which Jimmy Smits’ character died.
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