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Abbey days as British stars honoured by Screen Actors Guild

Published 31/01/2016

Last year Eddie Redmayne won his first SAG Award and then his first Oscar for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything
Last year Eddie Redmayne won his first SAG Award and then his first Oscar for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything

Luther star Idris Elba and the cast of Downton Abbey enjoyed a winning night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards as they were honoured by their peers.

Elba won both of the gongs he was nominated for, collecting the best supporting actor award in a motion picture prize for his role as a warlord in Beasts Of No Nation and best actor in a TV movie or mini-series for his portrayal of Detective Chief Inspector John Luther in the BBC police drama.

Elba drew huge cheers as his name was called for his first award, which is decided by the members of the acting union SAG-AFTRA.

Admiring his statue, which is shaped like an actor, he said: "I remember getting my SAG card for Law And Order."

He added: "The Ghanaian cast and crew (of Beasts Of No Nation) were amazing and worked so hard. We made a film about real people and real lives and to be awarded for it is very special because a lot of people were damaged, so thank you for giving this film some light."

He returned to the stage minutes later when he scored his second win for Luther and said: "I don't know what to say, thank you so much everyone in this room for giving me that."

Paying tribute to the creator of the show, he said: "Neil Cross is an incredible writer and he writes the darkest show from a lovely little room in New Zealand. I don't know how he does it.

"I don't know what to say, two wins in one night. I want to shout out to my children, 'When Dad goes away I think about you all the time, I love you so much'."

The cast of Downton Abbey was named best ensemble in a drama series, beating prestigious shows Game Of Thrones, Homeland, House Of Cards and Mad Men.

Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs Patmore, accepted the award as she was joined by the rest of the cast on stage, saying: "We have been coming here for six years and have only encountered the most amazing kindness and generosity from American actors.

"To be nominated in this category is mind-blowing for us as a British show up against your TV royalty. It's just phenomenal."

Speaking backstage after the ceremony, her co-star Joanne Froggatt, who played Anna Bates, said: "It's incredible to be part of something that has been so successful and we all feel incredibly fortunate to be part of it. It's been one of the biggest TV shows to come out of England in many years. It's something we will always be attached to and very proud of."

Fellow cast member Allen Leech added: "It has been the most amazing six years so thank you for watching and taking these characters to your hearts."

He also revealed he would miss the Carnarvon Arms pub in Highclere, saying: "It has an excellent cider called Old Rosie. After four of them you forget your own name."

Leonardo DiCaprio trumped British hopeful Eddie Redmayne for the outstanding performance by a male actor in leading role award for his performance as a fur trapper in revenge epic The Revenant.

He was hugged by his Titanic co-star Kate Winslet on his way up to the stage, where he said: "I am truly humbled by this because it comes form my fellow actors. When I was 15 I was lucky enough to get a film called This Boy's Life and after that I watched as many films as I could and it gave me a such a respect fo this craft.

"I was in awe of the performances and I was inspired. To any young actors, I encourage you to watch the history of cinema because we stand on the shoulders of giants."

He added: "My parents, thank you for listening to an overly ambitions, slightly annoying 13-year-old kid who wanted to go on auditions after school, I would not be here without you."

Backstage he added: "I have so much respect for this art form and when any young actor I speak to when that asks me how I started, I say it was by watching movies. It's a thirst that is never quenched, you are always striving to get somewhere close to what you saw as a child."

Reflecting on his first acting job, he said: "It was a Matchbox cars commercial, I played a little gangster with slicked back hair and was so incredibly nervous.

"The lesson I learned was know your lines, get that over with, they you can settle into all the other moments in a scene."

Brie Larson was presented with the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for Room.

Addressing the members of the guild, she said: "When I was born I was worried I was unlovable and your movies made me feel less alone and made me feel it was a safe place to explore my creativity."

The actors in Spotlight, a film about the Boston Globe investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church, was named best cast in a motion picture.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays one of the journalists, said: "This is one of the most horrific things that our culture has allowed to happen, this movie allows the people who died and the survivors to be seen in a world that has been blind to them. It is an honour to be standing in front of you representing them."

His co-star Michael Keaton added: "This is not only for the survivors. For me personally, this is for the disenfranchised everywhere."

Referring to the American town experiencing a drinking water contamination crisis, he said: "This is for every Flint, Michigan; this is for the powerless. There is fair and there is unfair and I am always going to vote for the fair, I'm always going to pull for the good guys."

Swedish star Alicia Vikander was presented with the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for The Danish Girl. She embraced co-star Redmayne and director Tom Hooper on her way up to the stage before saying: "This is the highest honour I think, just to be invited to join this stage."

Thanking Redmayne, she said: "Acting is not done in a bubble, but between companions."

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