Argo extended its lead as the frontrunner in the Oscar race Sunday night when the cast received the top honor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The actors branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences contributes the largest number of votes. Moreover, the award comes just one day after the Producers Guild of America also bestowed its top honor to Argo. The PGA award is also regarded in the industry as an Oscar bellwether in awards season. (For the past five consecutive years the PGA winner has gone on to receive the Best Picture trophy from the Academy.) The cast of Argo -- principally Ben Affleck, Victor Garber, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin -- beat out the casts of Lincoln, Les MisÃ©rables, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Silver Linings Playbook. The latter film had been favored to win since it had managed to score nominations in all four acting categories: best actor and actress and best supporting actor and actress -- the first film since 1981's Reds to do so. Accepting the SAG award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture, Affleck, who co-produced, co-starred and directed the film, praised the more than 150 actors who had speaking roles in it. They spoke in English, they spoke in Farsi, and the one thing they had in common was they came to work every single day whether they had a line or a look ... or bust stuff that I couldn't understand in Farsi, and they wanted to kill it to make the movie better, because that's what actors do all over the world, every day.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards for Motion Pictures:
Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Argo; Male Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Female Actor in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, Les MisÃ©rables; Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Skyfall.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.