LOS ANGELES – The CIA thriller Argo continues to steamroll through awards season, winning the top honor for overall cast performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
SAGs lead-acting honors Sunday went to Jennifer Lawrence for her role as a troubled widow in a shaky new relationship in the lost-souls romance Silver Linings Playbook and Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War epic Lincoln.
Anne Hathaway of Les Miserables and Tommy Lee Jones of Lincoln won the supporting-acting honors.
It occurred to me – it was an actor that murdered Abraham Lincoln, said Day-Lewis, a solid front-runner to join an exclusive list of three-time acting Oscar winners. And therefore, somehow it is only so fitting that every now and then an actor tries to bring him back to life again.
The SAG cast win came a day after Argo claimed the top honor from the Producers Guild of America, whose winner often goes on to claim best picture at the Academy Awards. Argo also was a surprise victor two weeks ago at the Golden Globes, where it won best drama and director for Ben Affleck.
The awards momentum positions Argo for a rare feat at the Feb. 24 Oscars, where it could become just the fourth film in 85 years to be named best picture without a nomination for its director.
To me this has nothing to do with me, it has to do with the incredible people who were in this movie, said Affleck, who also stars in Argo and accepted the SAG prize alongside his cast.
A directing nomination at the Oscars usually goes hand in hand with a best-picture win. When Affleck was snubbed for a directing slot, awards analysts initially were counting Argo out for the best-picture Oscar, along with Kathryn Bigelows Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hoopers Les Miserables, which also missed out on directing nominations.
But Argo has proven a resilient crowd-pleaser, dominating at awards shows since then over Steven Spielbergs Lincoln, which leads the Oscars with 12 nominations.
The cast prize at SAG adds some weight to the Oscar prospects for Argo, though the guild honor has a spotty record at forecasting eventual best-picture winners. Only eight of 17 times since the guild added the category has the cast winner gone on to take the best-picture Oscar. The Help won the guilds cast prize last year, while Oscar voters named The Artist as best picture.
The next playoff round before the Oscars is Saturdays Directors Guild of America Awards, where Affleck, Bigelow, Spielberg and Hooper all are nominated, along with Ang Lee for Life of Pi. The winner there typically goes on to triumph with directing and best-picture Oscars, but only Spielberg and Lee are nominated for both the Directors Guild and Oscar prizes this time, throwing the awards picture into a muddle.
Sundays acting prizes solidify those categories, though. Silver Linings star Lawrence won a Golden Globe and has become one of Hollywoods hottest talents, with part two of her blockbuster franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, due out in November.
Hathaway won for her role as a doomed single mother forced into prostitution in the adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugos epic novel.
Jones, who was not at the show, won for his turn as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens in the Civil War epic.
Day-Lewis, a two-time Oscar winner for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood, could become the fifth actor to earn three Oscars, along with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan. Katharine Hepburn has the acting record with four Oscars.
On SAGs television side, with 30 Rock ending its run, its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin won the SAG awards for best comedy performers.
Modern Family won for best overall cast in a TV comedy show.
The TV drama acting awards went to Claire Danes of Homeland and Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad.
Downton Abbey won the TV drama cast award.
Julianne Moores turn as Sarah Palin in Game Change earned her the TV prize for best actress in a movie or miniseries. Kevin Costner won for best actor in a movie or miniseries for Hatfields & McCoys.