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Screen Actors Guild Awards: Matthew McConauhey and Jared Leto triumph

Dallas Buyers Club

Story by Jack Foley

MATTHEW McConaughey and Jared Leto appear to have tightened their grip on this year’s Oscars for best actor and best supporting actor by triumphing at the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards.

They took the awards for Dallas Buyers Club, a film based based on the true story of a homophobic Texan who gets Aids, is given days to live, but fights against the system by smuggling unapproved anti-HIV drugs into the US to sell to fellow patients.

Both McConaughey, in the lead role, and Leto as a transgender woman with Aids, both endured dramatic weight loss.

McConaughey said of his honour: “It really shines a great light on this bull ride we call acting. I’ve been able to recently find some characters that I can humble myself to their humanities and get feverishly drunk on their obsessions.”

The wins came ahead of British stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, who missed out for 12 Years A Slave.

Steve McQueen’s Oscar-tipped slavery drama also lost out to American Hustle, which took the top prize of ensemble award at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony.

Representing his co-stars, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, actor Bradley Cooper praised film director David O Russell, describing him as “an actor’s director”.

“That notion is tossed around. He is the embodiment of it,” he added.

The ensemble award is seen as a useful indicator of which film might take the top prize at the Academy Awards. Last year, for example, Ben Affleck’s Argo triumphed at the SAGs before going on to take best film at the Oscars.

12 Years A Slave didn’t leave completely empty-handed. Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, who plays an abused plantation worker, took the best supporting actress award.

The Kenyan actress thanked British film-maker McQueen “for taking a flashlight and shining it underneath the floorboards of this nation and reminding us what it is we stand on”.

Cate Blanchett took home the best actress prize for her portrayal of a socialite fallen on hard times in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. The awards was her 17th of the season meaning that she is considered a near-certainty for the trophy at both the BAFTAs and Oscars ahead of Dame Judi Dench and Sandra Bullock.

Find out who won the TV awards

Film winners at a glance (winners in bold):

Best actor
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Forest Whitaker, The Butler

Best actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks

Best supporting actress
Lupita Ngong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

Best supporting actor
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said

Outstanding performance by a cast
American Hustle
12 Years A Slave
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
The Butler

Next awards story: Oscar nominations unveiled