Hollywood loves a sequel, and this awards season is shaping up to be one.
Just as Argo emerged as the unlikely victor over Steven Spielberg's Lincoln last year, another 1970s-set crowd-pleaser is turning into the Academy Awards' favourite over a solemn historical epic about slavery.
David O Russell's American Hustle took the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards' top honour for outstanding cast, beating Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave.
Because actors make up the biggest branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the SAG Awards are considered one of the best indicators of the Oscars.
Only days ago, the Academy Awards nominations set up a trio of front-runners, bestowing 10 nods on American Hustle and Gravity, and nine on 12 Years A Slave.
But although no actor was individually honoured by the guild for American Hustle, the tale of the 1970s Abscam corruption scandal now appears to have an edge over its Oscar rivals.
Bradley Cooper credited Russell as the epitome of the actor's director.
"He makes you feel like you're part of the family, whether you're Robert De Niro or you're Patty Mack," Cooper said at the Shrine Auditorium ceremony in LA.
In addition to last year's Argo, SAG cast awards have lined up with such past Oscar best-picture winners as The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men.
The night's acting winners – Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) – are each probably the favourites of their categories.
The Breaking Bad victory lap continued as the show took honours for outstanding dramatic cast in a TV series and for lead actor Bryan Cranston.
For his indelible performance as teacher-turned-meth dealer, Cranston added his second lead actor SAG Award to go with his recent Golden Globe win and his numerous Emmys.
Two film veterans won awards for TV films: Michael Douglas for HBO's Liberace drama Behind the Candelabra and Helen Mirren for the biopic Phil Spector, also on HBO.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won a SAG trophy for female actor in a comedy series for Veep and slyly mocked the award season crush by first thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press and then the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The ABC sitcom Modern Family enjoyed another round of awards, winning for ensemble in a comedy series and taking the male actor in a comedy series honour for Ty Burrell.