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Screen Actors Guild Awards: The Help dominates film categories

The Help

Story by Jack Foley

DEEP South drama The Help has emerged as the big winner at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The film took home three awards for motion picture – cast of a motion picture, female actor in a leading role (Viola Davis) and female actor in a supporting role (Octavia Spencer).

The awards will strengthen The Help‘s Oscar prospects and came at the expense of The Descendants, which had been viewed as a potential big winner at proceedings.

Davis, who received a standing ovation for her leading lady prize, graciously acknowledged other roles for inspiring women on the big screen, including fellow nominee Meryl Streep and The Help co-star Cicely Tyson.

While speaking on behalf of the ensemble, Davis said: “All these actors on this stage gave up their ego and were able to just work, and it’s been such a joy to be part of this cast.”

Addressing the movie’s themes about racism and sexism, she also observed: “The stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of colour and women. It’s all of our burden, all of us. All of us can inspire change, every single one of us.”

Other film award winners

The Artist continued its winning streak by landing the award for male actor in a leading role in motion picture for its French star Jean Dujardin.

In his speech, a clearly delighted Dujardin was overcome with emotion before saying: “I was a very bad student, I didn’t listen in class, I was always dreaming. Thank you for this dream.”

His victory came at the expense of Oscar front-runner George Clooney, as well as Demian Bichir, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The award for best male actor in a supporting role for motion picture went to veteran actor Christopher Plummer, for his portrayal of a gay man coming out in his later years in Beginners.

The accolade, his first-ever SAG honour, prompted him to confess: “I just can’t tell you what fun I’ve had being a member of the world’s second oldest profession. Actors are gregarious and wacky, are they not? And I love them dearly.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was also recognised with an award for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture.

Related SAG story: Find out who won among the TV awards

Next awards story: The Artist takes top prize at Directors Guild Awards