Argo, Ben Affleck‘s thriller about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, added to its string of awards-season victories by winning the award for best film ensemble at the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Jan. 27.
“I’m really amazed and stunned,” said Affleck, who stars in the film, which he also directed and produced. The Warner Bros. release picked up an award from the Producers Guild of America on Saturday night and has also collected a Golden Globe as best drama. But at the SAG Awards, an excited Affleck focused on the movie’s dedicated cast, “the incredible people who are in this movie,” some of whom spoke English and some of whom spoke Farsi. “They wanted to kill it, to make the movie better,” he said.
Jennifer Lawrence was named outstanding film actress for her performance as a young widow determined to find love in Silver Linings Playbook. Accepting her first SAG Award, the performer, who recalled that she earned her SAG card as a teen for doing a promo for MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, credited director David O. Russell, saying, “You made a movie for your son, so he wouldn’t feel alone, so he would feel understood, and you helped more than your son.” She also lavished praise on her co-star Bradley Cooper, saying, “My performance would not be what it is without you. You made me better every day.”
For his performance as the 16th president of the United States, Lincoln‘s Daniel Day-Lewis was honored as outstanding film actor. Day-Lewis, who previously won SAG Awards for There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York, used his time onstage to acknowledge Joaquin Phoenix, who wasn’t nominated by SAG for The Master, as “a remarkable actor”; to thank Leonardo DiCaprio and Liam Neeson, for encouraging him to take on the role; and to express appreciation for the film’s director Steven Spielberg, from whom “everything flowed.” Observing that it was an actor who murdered Lincoln, Day-Lewis noted, “it’s only fitting that now and then an actor try to bring him back to life again.”
Lincoln’s Tommy Lee Jones won the award for best actor in a supporting role for his performance as the crusading Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, as the awards show, presented by SAG-AFTRA, got underway.
While Jones wasn’t present to accept, the ceremony moved along quickly as Anne Hathaway was named best supporting actress for her turn as a fallen woman in Les Miserables. Accepting her first SAG Award, Hathaway joked of her union benefits, “I’m just so thrilled I have dental,” adding, “I got my SAG card when I was 14. It felt like the beginning of the world.” In her thanks, she took a moment to recognize the cast of her other 2012 movie, The Dark Knight Rises, as well as that of Les Mis, explaining, “I learned so much from The Dark Knight that I used in Les Mis.”
PBS’ Downton Abbey took the prize for dramatic series ensemble, triumphing over previous winners like Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. Phyllis Logan, who plays the series’ Mrs. Hughes, spoke for her fellow actors by thanking “SAG for even bothering to consider us,” and made a special point of recognizing the show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, “for starting this whole thing going.”
Claire Danes, who previously won a SAG Award for starring in the TV movie Temple Grandin, received the dramatic TV series actress award for her driven CIA agent in Showtime’s Homeland. “As a brand-spanking-new mom,” she said, “I keep referring to the cliche that it takes a village to raise a child, and the same is true of a television series.”
NBC’s 30 Rock, which airs its final episode Jan. 31, brought home comedy acting honors for its stars Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. But it was ABC’s Modern Family that took the prize for comedy ensemble, an honor it has now taken home three years in a row.
Accepting for Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson gave a shout-out to the casts of 30 Rock and The Office, which is also in its last season, for “setting the bar so high.”
“This is ridiculous,” Baldwin said as he accepted his seventh straight individual SAG Award. “So again I have to say thank you to Tina and all our writers.” Fey thanked her fellow cast members, while also adding a special word of appreciation to “my sweet friend Amy Poehler,” saying, “Amy, I’ve known you since you were pregnant with Lena Dunham.”
Julianne Moore, who had already won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing Sarah Palin in HBO’s Game Change, picked up the SAG Award for actress in a TV movie or miniseries. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” she said of the much-applauded TV show’s cast. And Kevin Costner, following his Emmy and Globe wins for the History Channel’s Hatfields & McCoys, also added a SAG Award for TV movie/miniseries to his trophy shelf.
Baldwin presented SAG’s Life Achievement Award to Dick Van Dyke, saying, “Personally, I’ve been borrowing from Dick every time I’m in front of the camera. Dick laid the groundwork.”
Van Dyke, known for his signature ’60s sitcom as well as film appearances in everything from Mary Poppins to Night at the Museum, said of the standing ovation that greeted his walk to the stage, “That does an old man a lot of good.” Admitting to his good fortune, he said, “You know, I knocked around in this business for 70 years, and I still haven’t figured out what it is I do,” but he continued, “Aren’t we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn’t require growing up?”
The nominations in film and TV were voted by two randomly selected panels of 2,100 members from across the country. All active SAG-AFTRA members in the United States, numbering more than 100,000, then voted for the final awards.
Heading into the evening, Les Miserables, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, with four nominations each, led the film pack. With four nominations, Modern Family led the TV list.
The final awards count was spread fairly widely among studios and networks. DreamWorks claimed two awards for Lincoln, while Warners, Universal and The Weinstein Co. each picked up one. On the TV side, NBC scored two, while ABC, PBS, HBO, Showtime, AMC and the History Channel each collected one.
Before the broadcast began, Skyfall and Game of Thrones were named as the recipients of the awards for outstanding film and TV stunt ensembles, respectively.
The ceremonies, which were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and were produced by Jeff Margolis Productions in association with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, aired live on TNT and TBS.