Article: Jack Foley
ROB Marshalls Chicago is
rapidly emerging as the hot favourite for this years Oscars
after stealing the limelight at the Screen Actors Guild awards
- the last Hollywood prize ceremony before the Academys
Stars Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones were named best
actress and best supporting actress, respectively, for their roles
in the film, which is an adaptation of the 1975 Broadway show.
In what proved a busy night for the film, it also walked off
with the best ensemble award at the Los Angeles ceremony, which
is the equivalent to the Oscars' best picture category.
The awards haul means that Chicago has completed a rare double
recently, as first-time director, Rob Marshall, was also named
best director by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) earlier
He defeated the likes of Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski to
land the prestigious accolade, placing him as the hot favourite
for the Oscar statue.
The 42-year-old described the triumph as overwhelming
and unexpected and said he would have to buy another flat in order
to store the statuette.
The victory is all the more impressive, given that the film was
completed in a mere 60 days, with a relatively small budget of
Returning to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, however, and
there was more success for the British contingent, when Daniel
Day-Lewis was named best actor for his role in Gangs
of New York, his first film in five years.
He said he was honoured to have been picked in what is proving
to be a fine year for roles and paid tribute to both
the combined talents of Scorsese and co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio,
whom he had the privilege to work with during the making of the
Elsewhere, Christopher Walken was named best supporting actor
for his role as DiCaprio's father in Steven Spielbergs Catch
Me If You Can.
A lifetime achievement award was also presented to Unforgiven
star and director, Clint Eastwood, prompting the screen veteran
to quip: "I hope this doesn't mean I'm supposed to collect
my pension and head off down the road."
The nominations for the SAG awards are chosen by 4,200 randomly
selected members of the guild, with the full membership of 98,000
eligible to vote for the final winners. While they are seen as
a strong indication of which films will triumph at the Oscars,
however, they are by no means a guarantee of success.
Last year, the awards honoured Russell Crowe as best actor for
A Beautiful Mind (which
went to Denzel Washington at the Oscars), while Gosford
Park was named best film.