David O Russell's American Hustle went home with the Screen Actors Guild's top honour, scooping the prize for outstanding cast.
The con-artist comedy, which stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, beat Steve McQueen's much-acclaimed historical drama 12 Years A Slave at the glitzy ceremony at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium.
Bradley credited David as the epitome of the actor's director, saying: "He makes you feel like you're part of the family, whether you're Robert DeNiro or you're Patty Mack. You are part of the family."
"Sally, I am very lonely up here without you. This is half yours - the penis part," she joked as she collected her statue on stage.
Lupita Nyong'o, who won best supporting actress for her portrayal of slave Patsey in 12 Years A Slave over Jennifer Lawrence, thanked filmmaker Steve McQueen "for taking a flashlight and shining it underneath the floorboards of this nation and reminding us what it is we stand on."
She also recalled the celebratory phone call to her father when she got the part.
"'Daddy, do you know who Brad Pitt is? I'm going to be in a movie with him!'" she recalled. "And he said, 'I don't know him personally, but I'm glad you got a job'."
Matthew McConaughey, who was honoured for lead actor as HIV-positive rodeo cowboy in drama Dallas Buyers Club, said: "It really shines a great light on this bull ride we call acting. I've been able to recently find some characters that I can humble myself to their humanities and get feverishly drunk on their obsessions."
His co-star Jared Leto, who won supporting actor for playing transsexual Rayon, dedicated the award to those who have died of AIDS and to "the Rayons of the world."