The Screen Actors Guild on Sunday (January 29) picked the actors in drama "The Help" as the top ensemble cast and gave the film two other awards for best lead actress and supporting actress, in a surprise over heavily favored silent movie romance "The Artist."
"The Help" earned three awards overall and "The Artist" only one for French actor Jean Dujardin as best actor in a drama for his role as a fading movie star at the end of the talkies.
Dujardin seemed genuinely surprised as he held his statue, thanking the audience of A-list actors including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams.
SOUNDBITE Jean Dujardin saying:
"I was always dreaming. I realize now that I never stopped dreaming. Thank you very much. Thank you for this dream."
Viola Davis was named best actress in a movie for civil rights-era drama "The Help."
Others winning SAG film honors included Christopher Plummer as best supporting actor for his role in the film "Beginners."
Octavia Spencer won supporting actress in a movie with her role as a poor maid "The Help."
SAG's film awards are closely watched for their impact on Oscars because actors make up the biggest voting group at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which picks winners. The Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles on February 26.
John Russell, Reuters.