LOS ANGELES (AP) — Taraji P. Henson is standing inside the Shrine Auditorium — where the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held Sunday — grinning from ear to ear.
The 38-year-old actress is celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama, her first Oscar nomination (supporting actress for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), and her three nods from the SAG Awards.
"It's an incredible time to be alive," she said. "And it's definitely an incredible time to be Taraji P. Henson."
Henson was honored by the actors guild for her work in "Button," both as Queenie, the kindhearted woman who raises baby Benjamin as her own, and as part of the film's ensemble cast. Henson also shares in the nomination for the cast of ABC's "Boston Legal."
"I'm blown away," she said. "I have moments where I'll call my publicist and be like 'Is this all really happening? Are you sure they're not going to call back and say we made a mistake?'"
Henson verified the validity of her SAG honors Friday when she saw her name on a place-keeping placard at a star-studded table, not far from her acting idol, Meryl Streep.
"That's who I'm coming to meet," Henson said.
With scores of actors from film and television to accommodate, 15-time SAG Awards producer Kathy Connell spends hours planning the seating chart.
"It's challenging when you've got really wonderful but large casts," she said, noting that the actors from ABC's "Desperate Housewives" fill three tables. "You also want to be democratic and split up film and TV."
There are also professional and personal relationships to consider, Connell said. Henson, for example, belongs to two nominated casts, so expect the "Button" and "Boston Legal" tables to be side by side.
Seating arrangements at its annual awards show are hardly the biggest problem for the Screen Actors Guild, which has struggled internally recently over union leadership and a possible strike authorization vote. Guild members have been working under an expired contract since June. But union strife doesn't have much impact on the awards ceremony, Connell said.
"Everybody gets that this is a night about actors," she said. "It's sort of like a holiday night for the family. A family may have some disagreements on how they look at things but they all have the same goals in mind, and family will come together for a holiday and have a great holiday."
TV and film fans can also get in on the action through the SAG Awards auction, which funds children's literacy programs nationwide and helps provide catastrophic health care for union members. Fans can bid online for TV and movie memorabilia, including a "Brokeback Mountain" poster signed by Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, a Darth Vader helmet signed by James Earl Jones, and visits to sets of shows such as "Mad Men," ”Dexter" and "Entertainment Tonight."
The SAG Awards, to be broadcast live on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. EST, honor film and TV performances in 13 categories.
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Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.