‘Birdman’ soars but Keaton brought to earth at SAG Awards

Birdman topped the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, winning best ensemble cast, even though star Michael Keaton was upset by Eddie Redmayne in the most outstanding actor category.

‘Birdman’ soars but Keaton brought to earth at  SAG Awards

Oscar favourites Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette, and JK Simmons cemented their front-runner status in a Los Angeles ceremony that often serves as a preview to the Academy Awards.

Keaton led the Birdman cast, including Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis, in accepting the top honour from the acting guild, calling the profession “the ultimate team sport”.

“Every time I turned around, I ran into another tremendous actor,” he said.

Redmayne, who stars as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, was the surprise choice in a category expected to go to Keaton for his career-capping performance as a Hollywood has-been trying to mount a comeback on Broadway.

Moore, widely considered the best actress Oscar favourite, won most outstanding actress for Still Alice, in which she plays an academic with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore with their SAG acting awards.

Accepting the award for most outstanding supporting actor for his performance as a domineering jazz teacher in Whiplash, Simmons thanked all 49 actors who appear in the drama.

Boyhood star Arquette added the latest in a string of awards, taking the supporting actress prize for her performance, filmed over the course of 12 years.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me,” said Arquette. “I’m a fourth-generation actor. My family has been committed to acting for over a century, through feast or famine.”

The show kicked off with two wins for the Netflix prison series Orange Is The New Black, naming it as best ensemble in a comedy and naming Uzo Aduba most outstanding actress in a comedy series.

As actors make up the largest portion of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the SAG Awards are considered one of the most telling Oscar previews.

Last year, the top four winners — MatthewMcConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jared Leto — all went on to win Academy Awards after scooping SAG awards.

In the last six years, SAG best-ensemble and Academy Award best-picture winners have lined up three times (Argo, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire).

Debbie Reynolds, the Singin’ In The Rain star, was presented with the SAG lifetime achievement award by her daughter, Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame.

Meanwhile, it’s not every day you see a top-level triathlete running barefoot on a country road, bicycle in tow. This is, however, the opening scene of First or Last.

University College Cork maths student Chris Mintern is the subject of the sports documentary, which is nominated for Outdoor/Adventure Film of the Year 2014. A public vote will decide the winner of the competition run by Outsider Magazine, with the closing date tomorrow. Vote at on.fb.me/1B9aIGu

Chris Mintern in First or Last

At the time, July 2014, Cork native Chris was competing in his first Olympic distance triathlon at the Little Bo Peep in Kenmare, Co Kerry. By the end of his first season as a senior athlete in 2014, he had won 12 triathlons, including the Intervarsity National Championships and Munster Championships.

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