Spotlight and diversity win at Screen Actors Guild Awards

Actor Michael Keaton (front) accepts the award for the film Spotlight on Jan 30, 2016.
Actor Michael Keaton (front) accepts the award for the film Spotlight on Jan 30, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV," Idris Elba joked on stage after winning twice at Saturday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, where actors of colour claimed a slew of wins amid a furore in Hollywood over the lack of on-screen diversity. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson and the cast of Spotlight - all white actors - won the top three film awards of the night, but the rest mainly honoured diverse casts and roles.

That is in stark contrast to the Oscars, where no actors of colour are nominated this year for the industry's highest honours. Spotlight, about the Boston Globe's probe of child abuse in the Catholic Church, beat the hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton for best film cast.

The movie stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. "This is not only for survivors of this horrific situation, this is really for the disenfranchised," Keaton said. "This is for the Flint, Michigans in the world, for the powerless."

DiCaprio was named best actor for playing a fur-trapper in the pioneer-era retribution drama The Revenant. "We all stand on shoulders of giants, so thank all those actors from past who have inspired me and all the actors in this room," he said.

Larson, who plays a woman held hostage with a young son in Room, was named best actress, while Sweden's Alicia Vikander won best supporting actress for playing the wife of transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

Spotlight, DiCaprio, Larson and Vikander are all nominated for Oscars, and with their Saturday wins, are cemented as front-runners in their respective categories.

  • A list of the key winners:

  • Films Cast:

    Spotlight

  • Male Actor:

    Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

  • Female Actor:

    Brie Larson, Room

  • Supporting Male Actor: 

    Idris Elba, Beasts Of No Nation

  • Supporting Female Actor:

    Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

  • Supporting Male Actor: 

    Idris Elba, Beasts Of No Nation

  • Life Achievement:

    Carol Burnett Television

  • Ensemble, Drama Series:

    Downton Abbey

  • Ensemble, Comedy Series:

    Orange Is The New Black

  • Male Actor, Drama Series: 

    Kevin Spacey, House Of Cards

  • Female Actor, Drama Series:

    Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder

  • Male Actor, Comedy Series:

    Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

  • Female Actor, Comedy Series:

    Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black

  • Male Actor, Television Movie Or Miniseries: 

    Idris Elba, Luther

  • Female Actor, Television Movie Or Miniseries: 

    Queen Latifah, Bessie

Elba, a black British actor, won two Screen Actors Guild Awards: best supporting actor for playing a mercenary commander in Netflix's West African war drama Beasts Of No Nation, and best actor in a miniseries for BBC's crime drama Luther. "We made a film about real people and real lives, and to be awarded for that is very special," Elba said of his Beasts win.

In the television categories, which featured far more diverse actors and roles, Netflix's women's prison show Orange Is The New Black, won best comedy series ensemble for the second consecutive year. "Look at this stage," cast member Laura Prepon said while accepting the award. "This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. Different race, colour, creed, sexual orientation."

Orange star Uzo Aduba won best comedy series actress for playing kooky inmate Crazy Eyes, Queen Latifah won best actress in a miniseries for playing blues singer Bessie Smith in HBO's Bessie, and Viola Davis won best drama series actress for ABC's How To Get Away With Murder. All three actresses are black.

Jeffrey Tambor won best comedy series actor for playing Maura Pfefferman, an aging wealthy transgender woman in Amazon's Transparent. "I'd like to dedicate this award to the non-Maura Pfeffermans who don't have a lot of cash for their operations, for their medicine, for their freedom," he said.

Kevin Spacey was named best drama series actor for the political thriller House Of Cards, and the British period drama Downton Abbey was named best drama series ensemble.