For some people, January is just another long, cold winter month that follows the excitement of the holidays.
But for a handful of USO tour veterans, January and the first few weeks of February means the chance to win big at one of the three big award ceremonies: the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor Guild Awards and the Academy Awards.
Here’s a look at this year’s award nominees and winners who have also volunteered their time and talents to entertain troops and their families on USO tours around the world.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Golden Globes Best animated feature film; Nominated & won
Academy Awards Best animated feature film; Nominated
In June 2014, actors Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera and writer/director Dean DeBlois treated more than 450 troops and military families to an advance screening of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The event also included a question-and-answer session with the trio.
Watch the highlights from the event here:
Golden Globes Best actor in a TV series, musical or comedy (Louis C.K.); Nominated
Screen Actor Guild Awards Outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series (Louis C.K.); Nominated
Louis C.K. has gone on two USO tours — including a 13-base trip to Afghanistan in 2008 — and even worked the USO into an episode of his hit FX show.
“The Big Bang Theory”
Screen Actor Guild Awards Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series; Nominated
Actor Johnny Galecki and executive producer Steve Molaro from the CBS hit comedy went on a USO tour to meet troops in the Pacific in 2012.
“I am so very honored and personally thrilled to be traveling to the Pacific with the USO,” Galecki said in a 2012 USO.org story. “It’s been a dream for many years to have the opportunity to show my deepest gratitude face-to-face to the men and women who serve.”
“Sons of Anarchy”
Screen Actor Guild Awards Outstanding action performance by a stunt ensemble in a comedy or drama series; Nominated
Actors Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior and Dayton Callie headed on USO tour to the Pacific in 2013 but the show has always been very supportive of the troops and the USO, participating in USO tours in 2010 (Kuwait and Iraq) and 2012 (Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California).
“I’d do this every year if I could; there is no feeling like visiting our troops where they serve and having the chance to tell them ‘thank you’ face-to-face,” Callie said in a 2013 USO.org story. “One of the things that surprised me most, from our first USO tour, was how big of a hit the show is with the military. As a veteran myself, it was a proud moment for me.”
[caption id=“attachment_12569” align=“alignright” width=“750”] “Sons of Anarchy” stars Dayton Callie (front row center), Mark Boone Junior (second row l-r) and Kim Coates pose for a group photo with Marines in Japan, March 14, 2013. USO Photo by Michael Clifton[/caption]
See more pictures from the cast’s tour to the Pacific here.
Screen Actor Guild Awards Outstanding action performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture; Nominated & won
Academy Awards Best cinematography; Nominated Best sound editing; Nominated Best sound mixing; Nominated
In December 2014, as part of its partnership with Universal Pictures, the USO brought a quintet of service members and their guests to the premiere of “Unbroken” at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. While Jolie was home sick with chicken pox, her husband, Brad Pitt, stood in for her at the premiere, stopping by to shake the hands of the USO guests including Army Staff Sgt. Blake Sistrunk.
Watch highlights from the “Unbroken” premiere here:
In 2010, Jolie also traveled to Germany to visited wounded troops and the service members taking care of them.
Watch a moment from Jolie’s visit here:
Academy Awards Best actor in a leading role (Bradley Cooper); Nominated Best picture; Nominated Best film editing; Nominated Best sound editing; Nominated Best sound mixing; Nominated Best adapted screenplay; Nominated
Bradley Cooper is a USO tour staple, having now traveled to Cuba, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and a seven-day, three-country tour with then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen in 2010.
[caption id=“attachment_2904” align=“alignright” width=“750”] Actor Bradley Cooper takes a moment to pose with service members stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during a week-long USO tour in 2008. Cooper was in the region on his first tour to show support to U.S. troops and bring them a touch of home.[/caption]