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Eddie Redmayne claims best actor at Screen Actors Guild awards

The Theory of Everything

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH actor Eddie Redmayne has raised his chances of nabbing an Oscar by being named best actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything at the Screen Actors’ Guild awards.

The star beat pre-ceremony favourite Michael Keaton to the top prize, thereby adding to the Golden Globe he also received earlier this year.

The recipient of the prestigious SAG trophy has gone on to win the equivalent Oscar for the past 10 years.

Looking visibly stunned, Redmayne dedicated his award to people, such as Hawking, who live with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease) for their “triumph of spirit”.

He said: “I would like to dedicate this award to those people around the world living with ALS, to those who have lost their lives to this brutal disease.”

“In preparing to play Stephen I met many people fighting ALS, and I met their families fighting alongside them. And the courage and the bravery and the spirit, this triumph of spirit that I witnessed, blew my mind. So I’m incredibly grateful to them.”

Keaton did not leave empty-handed, however, as he and the rest of the Birdman cast did win the award for best ensemble cast at Sunday’s ceremony.

And the leading man took the opportunity to pay tribute to his own colleagues by describing acting as “the ultimate team sport’‘, adding: “Actors love this movie for showing the courage actors have to go out there and lay it on the line.”

There were also prizes for Oscar hopefuls Julianne Moore, who was crowned best actress for her performance in Still Alice, and Patricia Arquette, who took the best supporting actress prize for Boyhood.

Red hot Oscar favourite JK Simmons was named best supporting actor for his performance in Whiplash.

Moore, who plays a professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, was another winner who took time to praise her co-stars and colleagues for their help in getting her performance noticed.

Referring to her early acting roles on a US soap opera, As the World Turns, she said: “I was so excited when they wrote two parts for me – the classic twin sister roles, the good and the evil one. I couldn’t wait to do it. I was so excited. And then I realised it was super boring to act by myself.

“And what I really loved and what I really craved what was most exciting for me was being with another actor and feeling that intimacy and that excitement and that thrill of getting to know somebody in that way – and that’s what keeps me coming back to acting again and again and again.”

The SAG awards also recognise achievement in TV and were notable this year for presenting prizes to two black actresses.

Viola Davis was named outstanding lead actress in a drama for How to Get Away With Murder, while Uzo Aduba was honoured for her role in Netflix prison drama Orange is the New Black.

That show also won best comedy ensemble cast.

And ITV’s Downton Abbey took the best ensemble cast in a TV drama for a second time.

Kevin Spacey also followed up his Golden Globe win with another prize for his performance in House of Cards (another Netflix original series), while William H Macy won for his leading role in the US version of Shameless.

Mark Ruffalo, who is Oscar-nominated for his film role in Foxcatcher, won best actor in a mini-series or TV movie for his role in AIDs drama A Normal Heart, and Frances McDormand won best actress in the same field for her part in HBO’s Olive Kitteredge.

Debbie Reynolds was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by her daughter Carrie Fisher.

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