SAG awards: George Clooney and Meryl Streep lose out at pre Oscar awards
HOTLY tipped for Oscar success, both George Clooney and Meryl Streep were snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles last night in favour of The Artist star Jean DuJardin and Viola Davis for The Help.
The French actor who is a newcomer to Hollywood's awards scene with The Artist, Dujardin played a silent-era screen idol fallen on hard times as talking pictures take over in the late 1920s.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were the maids of honor at the ceremony, where their Deep South drama "The Help" won them acting prizes or best actress and best supporting actress and earned the trophy for overall cast performance.
Christopher Plummer, won best supporting actor for his role as an elderly dad who comes out as gay after his wife's death, would become the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar at age 82, two years older than Jessica Tandy when she won best actress for "Driving Miss Daisy."
Backstage, Plummer joked about whether he would like to win an Oscar, an honour so elusive during his esteemed 60-year career that he did not even receive his first Academy Award nomination until two years ago, for "The Last Station."
"No, I think it's frightfully boring," Plummer said. "That's an awful question. Listen, we don't go into this business preoccupied by awards. If we did, we wouldn't last five minutes."
Octavia Spencer, a veteran actress who had toiled in small TV and movie parts previously, had a breakout role in "The Help" as a brassy maid joining other black housekeepers to reveal uneasy truths about their white employers in 1960s Mississippi.
"I'm going to dedicate this to the downtrodden, the underserved, the underprivileged, overtaxed – whether emotionally, physically or financially," Spencer said.
On the television side, comedy series awards went to "Modern Family" for best ensemble; Alec Baldwin as best actor for "30 Rock"; and the 90-year-old Betty White as best actress for "Hot in Cleveland."
"You can't name me, without naming those other wonderful women on 'Hot in Cleveland,'" White said. "This nomination belongs to four of us. Please, please know that I'm dealing them right in with this. I'm not going to let them keep this, but I'll let them see it."
For TV movie or miniseries, Kate Winslet won as best actress for "Mildred Pierce," while Paul Giamatti was named best actor for "Too Big to Fail."
Before the official ceremony, the Screen Actors Guild presented its honour for best film stunt ensemble to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." The TV stunt award went to "Game of Thrones."
The winners at the SAG ceremony typically go on to earn Oscars, whose ceremony is Feb 26. All four acting recipients at SAG last year later took home Oscars – Colin Firth for "The King's Speech," Natalie Portman for "Black Swan" and Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for "The Fighter."
The same generally holds true for the weekend's other big Hollywood honours, the Directors Guild of America Awards, where Michel Hazanavicius won the feature-film prize Saturday for "The Artist." The Directors Guild winner has gone on to earn the best-director Oscar 57 times in the 63-year history of the union's awards show.
SAG also presents an award for overall cast performance, a prize that's loosely considered the ceremony's equivalent of a best-picture honour. However, the cast award has a spotty record at predicting what will win best picture at the Oscars.
While "The King's Speech" won both honours a year ago, the SAG cast recipient has gone on to claim the top Oscar only eight times in the 16 years since the guild added the category.
Mary Tyler Moore received the guild's lifetime-achievement award, an honour presented to her by Dick Van Dyke, her co-star on the 1960s sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show."