Screen Actors Guild awards Argo cast best performance

The CIA thriller Argo continues to steamroll through awards season, winning the top honour for overall cast performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Jennifer Lawrence takes best actress, Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor

The CIA thriller Argo continues to steamroll through awards season, winning the top honour for overall cast performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Sunday's win came a day after Argo claimed the top honour from the Producers Guild of America.

SAG's lead-acting honours went to Jennifer Lawrence, who won for her role as a troubled widow in a shaky new relationship in the lost-souls romance Silver Linings Playbook, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who won for his role as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War epic Lincoln.

The supporting acting awards Sunday went to Anne Hathaway of Les Misérables and Tommy Lee Jones of Lincoln.

Hathaway won for her role as a doomed single mother forced into prostitution in the adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo's epic novel. Her win came over four past Oscar recipients — Sally Field, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith.

"I'm just thrilled I have dental," Hathaway said. "I got my SAG card when I was 14. It felt like the beginning of the world. I have loved every single minute of my life as an actor. ... Thank you for nominating me alongside incredible women and incredible performances."

Jones was not at the show, but the win improves his odds to become a two-time Academy Award winner. He previously won a supporting-actor Oscar for The Fugitive.

The wins lift their prospects for the same prizes at the Feb. 24 Academy Awards.

Best-picture Oscar win hard to predict

The SAG honors are the latest show in a puzzling Academy Awards season in which Hollywood's top prize, the best-picture Oscar, looks up for grabs among several key nominees.

Honors from the actors union, next weekend's Directors Guild of America Awards and Saturday night's Producers Guild of America Awards — whose top honor went to Argo — typically help to establish clear favorites for the Oscars.

But Oscar night looks more uncertain this time after some top directing prospects, including Ben Affleck for Argo and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, missed out on nominations. Both films were nominated for best picture, but a movie rarely wins the top Oscar if its director is not also in the running.

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln would seem the Oscar favorite with 12 nominations. Yet Argo and Affleck were surprise best-drama and director winners at the Golden Globes, and then there's Saturday's Producers Guild win for Argo, leaving the Oscar race looking like anybody's guess.

Affleck has made some nice jokes about his directing snub, wisecracking at one point that no one seemed surprised he didn't get an acting nomination for Argo, either.

His colleagues just seem happy for all the attention the film has received.

"The thing is, we're all very pleased we've been nominated for so many things," Argo co-star John Goodman said before the SAG Awards.

SAG's strong track record of predicting acting Oscar winners

The Screen Actors Guild honors at least should help to establish solid front-runners for the stars. All four of the guild's individual acting winners often go on to receive the same prizes at the Academy Awards.

Last year, the guild went just three-for-four — with lead actor Jean Dujardin of The Artist and supporting players Octavia Spencer of The Help and Christopher Plummer of Beginners also taking home Oscars. The guild's lead-actress winner, Viola Davis of The Help, missed out on the Oscar, which went to Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.

The guild also presents an award for overall cast performance, its equivalent of a best-picture honor, which went to Argo.

Yet the cast prize has a spotty record at predicting the eventual best-picture recipient at the Oscars. Only eight of 17 times since the guild added the category has the cast winner gone on to take the best-picture Oscar. The Help won the guild's cast prize last year, while Oscar voters named The Artist as best picture.

Such past guild cast winners as The Birdcage, Gosford Park and Inglourious Basterds also failed to take the top Oscar.

Receiving the guild's life-achievement award was Dick Van Dyke, who presented the same prize last year to his The Dick Van Dyke Show co-star, Mary Tyler Moore. Van Dyke's award was presented by his 1960s sitcom's creator and co-star, Carl Reiner, and Alec Baldwin.

"I'm so tickled. I'm so excited,' Van Dyke said before the show. "And I'm the only one who knows he's going to win."