‘Argo’ wins top SAG Award

Ben Affleck‘s “Argo” seems to be unstoppable. The film about a CIA plot to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980 won the 19th Screen Actors Guild Award on Sunday night for ensemble in a motion picture.

The win came hours after the film, which also stars Affleck, took the Producers Guild Award on Saturday night — an honor that is one of the leading indicators of Oscar gold. Two weeks ago, “Argo” won the Golden Globe for best dramatic motion picture, one of the many honors it has recently picked up this season.

“Argo” heads into next month’s Academy Awards with momentum — and seven nominations, including best picture, supporting actor for Alan Arkin, and adapted screenplay. (Shockingly, Affleck was not nominated for a directing Oscar, even though he received a Directors Guild of America nomination and won the Golden Globe for director.)

The outlook seems equally golden for Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway, whose Golden Globe awards two weeks ago were followed Sunday night with SAG awards.

Day-Lewis won the trophy — and a standing ovation — for lead actor as the nation’s 16th president in “Lincoln.” Lawrence won her award for female actor playing a young widow in the quirky romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” Hathaway took the SAG award for female actor in a supporting role as the tragic Fantine in “Les Miserables.”

Tommy Lee Jones won his first major award of the season for male supporting actor for “Lincoln.” Jones is also nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actor.

The SAG movie wins offered a rare moment of clarity as the highly unpredictable awards season enters its final stretch, culminating with the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

A SAG win does not guarantee Oscar gold, but history suggests it’s nearly impossible to win an Academy Award in the acting categories without a SAG nomination.

On the television side of the awards ceremony, it was a three-peat night for Claire Danes, Julianne Moore, Kevin Costner and the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.”

The performers made it a clean sweep by winning the Emmy, the Golden Globe and the SAG award.

Danes won for female actor in a drama series for Showtime’s political thriller “Homeland.” Moore’s uncanny performance as 2008 Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin in HBO’s “Game Change” earned her female actor in a television movie or miniseries. And Costner nabbed male actor in a television movie or miniseries for History’s “Hatfields & McCoys.”

“Modern Family,” meanwhile, earned its third consecutive SAG award for ensemble in a comedy series.

Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey earned a great parting gift when they won for their lead roles in a comedy series for NBC’s “30 Rock.” Fey used the win to ask people to tune in at 8 Thursday night for the series’ one-hour finale, opposite the highly rated CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Just tape ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for once, for crying out loud!” Fey pleaded.

Bryan Cranston won for male actor in a drama series for “Breaking Bad.” “It is so good to be bad,” purred Cranston as he picked up the honor. And PBS’ “Downton Abbey” won for ensemble in a drama series.

One highlight was a spry and chipper 87-year-old Dick Van Dyke, honored for a career that has spanned nearly seven decades.

Van Dyke was met with a standing ovation and cheers. “That does an old man a lot of good,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. He was supposed to receive the life achievement honor from Carl Reiner, who created the seminal 1961-66 CBS series “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” the show that turned Van Dyke into a TV legend. Because Reiner was sick with the flu, Baldwin did the honors.

“I’ve knocked around this business for 70 years, but I still haven’t figured out what exactly I do,” Van Dyke cracked during his acceptance speech. He noted that it was great to pick a career “full of surprises and a lot of fun” and one that does “not require growing up.”

The awards were telecast live on TBS and TNT from the Shrine Exposition Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

By Susan King and Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times

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