Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 – 10:26 AM
Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell all solidified their Oscar credentials Sunday evening at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, continuing what has become a wave of awards- season success two days before Academy Award nominations are announced.
Meanwhile, the small-town crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” took home the top prize of outstanding ensemble in a motion picture — the SAG equivalent of a best-picture award.
The win, coupled with a Golden Globe the film won earlier this month, puts “Three Billboards” into a neck-and-neck race for the Oscar with the fantasy “The Shape of Water,” which won the coveted Producers Guild of America prize for best picture Saturday night but wasn’t even nominated for the SAG honor.
But in a night dedicated to actors, the wins for McDormand and Rockwell, both for “Three Billboards,” and Oldman and Janney for “Darkest Hour” and “I, Tonya, respectively, entrenched them as Oscar favorites.
All four had already collected Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards.
Oldman won for his role as wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” It was his first career SAG win.
“I am honestly and truly thrilled and overjoyed to be in this room tonight, not only with my amazing fellow nominees but my friends and peers,” Oldman said while accepting his Actor statuette at the Shrine Auditorium. “… Churchill reminds us we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. And you have given enormously tonight and I am so deeply, deeply honored and proud to receive this magnificent award.”
McDormand scored her third career SAG Award for her turn as the mother of a murdered daughter who goes to extreme lengths to press the search for the killer in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
She heaped thanks on the film’s writer/director Martin McDonagh.
“When Martin wrote `Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,’ he did not sketch a blueprint. He didn’t string together a few words. He wrote, meticulously crafted a tsunami, and then he allowed his troupe of actors to surf it into the shore,” she said.
McDormand previously won SAG honors as best actress in “Fargo” and for her lead role in the miniseries “Olive Kitteridge.”
Janney was named best supporting actress for her portrayal of figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya.”
She hailed the film’s star, Margot Robbie, “who is so fearless and brave and such a rock star. She paved the way for all of us to make courageous choices” in their roles.
The win was Janney’s seventh career SAG Award. She won for being a member of the ensemble casts of “The Help” and “American Beauty,” and won twice as best drama actress for “The West Wing” and twice as a member of its cast.
Sam Rockwell’s win for supporting actor in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was his first career SAG victory.
“My mom and dad were actors,” he said. “They dragged me to rehearsals … when I was a little baby and I slowly realized that these people are nuts. Actors are — I love them. I love actors and I love my mom and dad. I delivered burritos on a bicycle, I bused tables to get through acting school. If you’re a struggling actor our there, hang in there.”
For small screen performances, NBC’s “This is Us” won the prize for best ensemble cast in a drama series, while star Sterling K. Brown was named best drama series actor, his first career SAG win, coming just weeks after he took home a Golden Globe.
“What a blessing it is to do what you love for a living,” Brown said. “What an honor it is to be recognized by your peers for a job well done. This room is a source of endless inspiration for me. I love all of you. People call us weird and strange. The truth of the matter is, everybody is weird and strange and we just embrace ourselves for who we are.”
Claire Foy won her second straight SAG Award for best actress in a drama for her work in “The Crown.”
HBO’s “Veep,” meanwhile, won the prize for best ensemble cast in a comedy series. It’s the first time the show has won the SAG honor, despite five overall nominations. The show has won the Emmy Award for best comedy three years in a row.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her second straight award, and third overall, for comedy series actress for her work in “Veep.” Louis-Dreyfus also won in the category twice for “Seinfeld.”
William H. Macy of Showtime’s “Shameless” collected his second consecutive award and third overall for best actor in a comedy series.
Nicole Kidman won her first career SAG Award, winning for best actress in a television movie or miniseries for HBO’s “Big Little Lies.”
“I’ve been working since I was 14 years old,” Kidman, 50, said, adding that she was “incredibly grateful.
“To receive this at this stage of my life is extraordinary,” she said, going on to hail the work of actress over 40, who were once considered washed-up in Hollywood but are now “powerful and viable.”
“I just beg that the industry stays behind us,” she said. “… We have proven that we can do this. We can continue to do this, but only with the support of this industry.”
Alexander Skarsgard won for best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for his work in “Big Little Lies.”
“I am shocked. I am humbled,” Skarsgard said. “… I am incredibly embarrassed an infinitely grateful.”
The awards, while noticeably less politically charged than the Golden Globes, still made a statement. The show featured an all-female lineup of awards presenters in homage to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual harassment and calling for gender equality in the entertainment industry. The show also had a host for the first time in its history, with Kristen Bell leading the telecast.
The SAG Awards are chosen by thousands of actors, making the honor among the most coveted of the busy awards season because of the element of peer recognition. It is also one of the few shows to honor stunt ensembles, with prizes going to the stunt crews for the film “Wonder Woman” and the television series “Game of Thrones.”