Screen Actors Guild Awards

Spotlight, diversity win at Screen Actors Guild Awards

Leonardo DiCaprio (left) is best actor for his role in The Revenant and Brie Larson (right) best actress for her role in Room.
Leonardo DiCaprio (left) is best actor for his role in The Revenant and Brie Larson (right) best actress for her role in Room.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Idris Elba (above) is best supporting actor for playing a mercenary commander in Netflix's West African war film Beasts Of No Nation, and best actor in a miniseries for BBC's crime drama Luther.
Idris Elba (above) is best supporting actor for playing a mercenary commander in Netflix's West African war film Beasts Of No Nation, and best actor in a miniseries for BBC's crime drama Luther.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV," Idris Elba joked on stage after winning twice at last 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 have been nominated this year.

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 also 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.


Leonardo DiCaprio (left) is best actor for his role in The Revenant and Brie Larson (right) best actress for her role in Room. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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 nominated for Oscars and, with their Saturday wins, are cemented as front-runners in their respective categories.

Elba, a black British actor who was passed over for an Academy Award nomination, won two Screen Actors Guild Awards: best supporting actor for playing a mercenary commander in Netflix's West African war film 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 ensemble for the second consecutive year.

"Look at this stage," actress 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 actress, Queen Latifah won best actress in a miniseries for HBO's Bessie and Viola Davis won best drama actress for ABC's How To Get Away With Murder.

All three actresses are black.

"We've become a society of trending topics," Davis told reporters backstage after her win, addressing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

"Diversity is not a trending topic. Regardless of what's going on at the Academy, we will always find a way to be excellent."

Jeffrey Tambor won best comedy actor for playing Maura Pfefferman, an ageing 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."

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

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Spotlight, diversity win at awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe