The cast of the 1970s crime caper American Hustle grooved its way to the top prize from the Screen Actors Guild in a key test of the film’s Oscar mettle six weeks ahead of a likely competitive race for Academy Awards.
The SAG awards are considered a bellwether when it comes to the Oscars, Because actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But if the SAG results are right in predicting an American Hustle Oscar victory then it could be a bad omen for Kerry’s Michael Fassbender, who came away empty handed in the best supporting actor category for his part in 12 Years A Slave.
American Hustle has been hailed for its performances, though it won no individual acting SAG awards on Saturday and only Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for her supporting role. It prevailed over another presumed Oscar front-runner, 12 Years a Slave, which only took home a best supporting actress trophy.
Australian Cate Blanchett won best actress for her role as a socialite who suffers a breakdown in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, while best actor went to Matthew McConaughey for his turn as an unlikely Aids activist in Dallas Buyers Club. Both are now clear front-runners for best acting Oscars after winning Golden Globes last Sunday.
The awards were a somewhat low-key affair. The acting winners — McConaughey, Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) — are probable favourites of their categories.
The outstanding cast category, the night’s top honour, was a showdown between American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave. The two very different films were kept separate by drama and comedy categories at the Golden Globes.
Nyong’o won for supporting actress for her performance as the singular slave, Patsy, in Steve McQueen’s historical drama. She thanked him “for taking a flashlight and shining it underneath the floorboards of this nation and reminding us what it is we stand on”.
Leto was honoured for supporting actor for playing the gaunt transsexual Rayon, alongside McConaughey’s Texas cowboy. He dedicated the award to those who have died of Aids and to “the Rayons of the world”.
Meanwhile, the Breaking Bad victory lap continued with gongs for outstanding dramatic cast and for lead actor Bryan Cranston.
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