Ben Affleck’s Argo has emerged as the surprise late frontrunner for the Academy Award for best film after a shock double triumph at the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild awards over the weekend.
The actor-director’s dramatisation of the CIA’s ingenious rescue of six US diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis had already recovered from the indignity of the Academy’s decision not to nominate Affleck for the best director prize earlier this month with a big win at the Golden Globes a fortnight ago. On Saturday night, Argo took the top gong, the Darryl F Zanuck award for best producer, at the Producers Guild awards (PGA) in Los Angeles, and last night it carried off the prize for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at the SAGs, also in LA.
The two prizes are the equivalent of the Oscar for best film, which Argo remains in the running for. The last five winners of the PGA prize have gone on to Academy Award glory, while the SAG winner has triumphed at the Oscars on three out of the last five occasions. Argo’s double win installs it as firm favourite, ahead of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and other contenders such as Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, for the top gong.
Elsewhere at the SAG awards, three of the acting prize-winners at the Golden Globes emerged victorious once again. Daniel Day-Lewis cemented his position as clear frontrunner for the best actor gong for his turn as Abraham Lincoln, while Jennifer Lawrence took best female actor for her turn as a troubled widow in David O Russell comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook. Anne Hathaway received best supporting female actor for her portrayal of Fantine in musical Les Misérables.
The final acting prize did not quite follow the script, though it may offer Spielberg hope that he could yet pull off a spectacularly successful Oscars without actually winning best film. Tommy Lee Jones stepped up to take the best supporting actor gong for his turn as passionate anti-slavery politician Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz of Django Unchained won the equivalent prize at the Golden Globes and will still be a significant threat at the Academy Awards for his performance as an eloquent dentist-turned-bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked homage to the spaghetti western.
Unlike the Oscars, the Screen Actors Guild honours stuntmen, and this year handed its prize for best stunt ensemble to James Bond adventure Skyfall.
The big TV winner at the SAGs was the US show 30 Rock, which took home the best actor and female actor in a comedy series prizes for Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. The multiple-Emmy-winning Bryan Cranston won his debut best male actor in a drama series gong for his turn as an unorthodox drug baron in Breaking Bad, while Claire Danes picked up the equivalent award for a female actor for spy drama Homeland. Britain’s Downton Abbey won best ensemble in a drama series, while US show Modern Family won the equivalent comedy prize.
Screen Actors Guild awards: full list of winners
Cast in a motion picture: Argo
Male actor in a leading role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Female actor in a leading role: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Male actor in a supporting role: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Female actor in a supporting role: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Stunt ensemble: Skyfall
Ensemble in a drama series: Downton Abbey
Ensemble in a comedy series: Modern Family
Male actor in a drama series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Female actor in a drama series: Claire Danes, Homeland
Male actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Female actor in a comedy series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Male actor in a television movie or miniseries: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Female actor in a television movie or miniseries: Julianne Moore, Game Change
Stunt ensemble: Boardwalk Empire
Producers Guild awards: full list of winners
Animated feature: Wreck-It Ralph
Documentary: Searching For Sugar Man
TV movie or mini-series: Game Change
TV drama: Homeland
TV comedy: Modern Family
Non-Fiction TV: American Masters
Live entertainment and talk: The Colbert Report
Competition TV: The Amazing Race
Sports: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Children’s TV: Sesame Street
Web series: 30 Rock: The Webisodes
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