The ensemble casts of American Hustle and Breaking Bad nabbed the top prizes at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Saturday night at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. In the ceremony honoring the year's best performances in film and television, other unexpected and/or well-deserved wins went to Michael Douglas for Behind the Candelabra, Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett, Dallas Buyers Club co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, and 12 Years A Slave newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. Read on for the recap...
The night's top award, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, went to American Hustle. The gritty, late '70s tale out-hustled August: Osage County, Dallas Buyers Club, Lee Daniels' The Butler and 12 Years A Slave for the honor. Of the 12 lauded actors in the ensemble, Bradley Cooper took the mic to recognize the fellow category nominees in "a strong year in film," and tipped his character's curly locks to the film's director, David O. Russell: "He is an actor's director," said Cooper. "That notion is tossed around -- he is the embodiment of it. ... Thank you David, this award is for you."
The Best Ensembles - TV
The Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a TV Drama Series honor went to the 16-actor cast of Breaking Bad. The AMC series out-cooked the competition of Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Downton Abbey, and Bryan Cranston cheered, "What a way to go out in style!"
In the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a TV Comedy Series category, the cast of Modern Family celebrated their fourth consecutive win, besting 30 Rock, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory and Veep. With multiple references to Sofia Vergara's "boobs," the thick-accented beauty thanked multiple sources for the win, leaving a last-but-not-least shout-out to the show's fans "that let us have the best job in the world."
An overjoyed Matthew McConaughey landed the statuette for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for his stirring turn as HIV-infected activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, his first SAG win: "Yeah! Oh, this feels good," he declared, acknowledging "so many fierce performances this year" from all of his fellow nominees: "It really shines a good light on this bull ride we call acting." Calling Woodroof's HIV struggle "still very relevant," he signed off with his catchphrase, "Just keep livin'!" Matt's rodeo competition included Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks and Forest Whitaker.
Cate Blanchett earned her first-ever win as Best Female Actor in a Leading Role for her amazing performance as an out-of-touch socialite in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Wishing "better luck next year" to those whose performances didn't earn a nomination, and complimenting Woody "for writing role after role after role for women and for giving them space to create," Cate also credited her co-star Sally Hawkins, saying of her nude Actor statuette, "This is half yours – the penis part." The Aussie star edged out fellow nominees Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson.
The Best Actors - TV
All hail the king! Bryan Cranston was crowned Best Male Actor in a Drama Series for his memorable performance as Walter White in the final season of Breaking Bad: "That's what happens when you're so lucky -- I've had so many crappy jobs in my life!" he said, going on to detail a few of them. "The only thing that got me through was imagining, dreaming that I could make it as an actor -- we are the luckiest people in the world." Cranston outgunned fellow nominees Steve Buscemi, Jeff Daniels, Peter Dinklage and Kevin Spacey.
Downton Abbey star Maggie Smith nabbed the Best Female Actor in a Drama Series honor over Claire Danes, Anna Gunn, Jessica Lange, and Kerry Washington. She was not present to accept her award.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus added her first Outstanding Female Actor in a Comedy Series trophy for Veep to her five already-won Actors for her work on Seinfeld. Jokingly thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press for her Golden Globe, then the Academy for her Oscar nom, she quipped, "It's hard, because it's awards season and things get confusing." Julia was elected over fellow nominees Mayim Bialik, Julie Bowen, Edie Falco and Tina Fey.
Modern Family star Ty Burrell was named Best Actor in a Comedy Series, his first win in the category. "Gosh, thank you to anybody in the union who voted for me," he said, going on to list an amusing "five simple steps for success" in being an actor, including, "Have no skillset other than being a needy extrovert." He outshined Alec Baldwin, Jason Bateman, Don Cheadle and Jim Parsons.
Helen Mirren won Best Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her work in Phil Spector, her second win in the category and fifth Actor overall. "I don't feel at all saggy, I feel quite perky after winning this," she joked. Commending co-star Al Pacino, saying that working with the legend was "an incredible lesson for me," Helen bested Angela Bassett, Helena Bonham Carter, Holly Hunter and Elisabeth Moss.
Michael Douglas also continued his winning streak for his performance as Liberace in Behind The Candelabra, his first win in the Best Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries category. Re-directing the spotlight to dad Kirk Douglas -- "I've got a 97-year-old member of SAG back at home who I know is particularly proud of winning his award" -- he also thanked his "partner in crime" in Candelabra: "I am not here without Matt Damon. Matt Damon had the courage to stand by early on in this part when I was sick," he explained, saying, "Matt this is yours too." In addition to Damon, Douglas outplayed fellow noms Jeremy Irons, Rob Lowe and Al Pacino.
Jared Leto continued his awards-season winning streak for his role as the courageous transgender individual Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club star, adding The Actor to his mantle, his first nom and win. "Thank you thank you thank you to this wonderful tribe of dreamers," he declared, dedicating the win to all of the people who have lost their lives to the dreadful disease of AIDS, adding, "I'd like to share it with the Rayons of the world ... I'm so proud that I've been able to glimpse the world through their eyes." He also commended his fellow nominees, with a special shout-out to the "late, great James Gandolfini." Leto's fellow nominees also included Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Brühl and Michael Fassbender.
And 12 Years A Slave newcomer Lupita Nyong'o beat out tough competition in Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, June Squibb and Oprah Winfrey to win her first-ever SAG Award. "Being recognized by fellow actors is an honor of the highest order," she said, recognizing the film's title character Solomon Northrup "for a life well-lived" -- and she also thanked her alma mater, Yale School of Drama.
Stars who passed away over the last year were remembered in a touching tribute, including Peter O'Toole, Karen Black, Paul Walker, Dennis Farina, Julie Harris, Annette Funicello, Bonnie Franklin, Joan Fontaine, Michael Ansara, Esther Williams, Marcia Wallace, James Avery, Jean Stapleton, Jonathan Winters, Eileen Brennan, Cory Monteith and James Gandolfini.
And Rita Moreno was honored by SAG's Life Achievement Award, adding to her many accolades and EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner) status. After her initial excited reaction was bleeped by the censors, she declared, "It's early in the third act of my life," and then serenaded the audience to a standing ovation, singing the lyrics, "As I approach the prime of my life, I find I have the time of my life, learning to enjoy at my leisure, all the simple pleasures, and so I happily concede-- this is all I ask, this is all I need."