NEW YORK (AP) – “Black Panther” took the top award at Sunday’s 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation its most significant honor yet and potentially setting it up for more wins at the Academy Awards.
“Well, I’ll be,” said Chadwick Boseman, accepting the award for best ensemble in a motion picture. “To be young gifted and black.”
It was the only award “Black Panther” was nominated for beside best ensemble of stunt performers, which it also won.
Glenn Close, who memorably triumphed at the Golden Globes, won best actress, possibly making her up as the Oscar frontrunner. The 71-year-old Close has frequently been nominated but never won an Academy Award.
“One of the most powerful things we have as human beings are two eyes looking into two eyes,” said Close. “Film is the only art form that allows us the close-up.”
Rami Malek won best actor for his Freddie Mercury, Emily Blunt was the upset winner for her supporting role in the horror thriller “A Quiet Place” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” swept comedy series honors at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.
Malek dedicated the award for his performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Mercury, as he did at the Golden Globes. With the win over Christian Bale (“Vice”) and Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Malek seemingly sealed the best-actor Oscar many are predicting for him.
“I get some power from him that’s about stepping up and living your best life, being exactly who you want to be and accomplishing everything you so desire,” said Malek.
Blunt’s win was a shocker, particularly for the actress, herself. Blunt, also nominated by the guild for her lead performance in “Mary Poppins Returns,” was visibly surprised. She wasn’t among Tuesday’s Oscars nominees for either film.
“Guys. That truly has blown my slicked hair back,” said Blunt, who praised her husband and “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski as a “stunning filmmaker.” ”Thank you for giving me the part. You would have been in major trouble if you hadn’t.”
Best supporting actor in a film went more as expected. Mahershala Ali, who won two years ago for “Moonlight,” won for his performance in Peter Farrelly’s interracial road trip “Green Book.” Ali thanked his co-star, Viggo Mortensen, and Farrelly.
The Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won the first three awards handed out Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. It won best ensemble in a comedy series, as well as individual honors Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub, whose win was a surprise in a category that included Bill Hader (“Barry”) and Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”).
“We cannot thank you enough,” said Shalhoub, speaking for the cast. “Stay with us.”
Tom Hanks presented the lifetime achievement award to Alan Alda, who in July revealed that he had been living with Parkinson’s disease for more than three years. The 83-year-old actor took the stage to a standing ovation while the theme to “M.A.S.H.” played. He said the award came at a reflective moment for him.
“And I see more than ever now how proud I am to be a part of our brotherhood and sisterhood of actors,” said Alda. “It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person’s eyes. When a culture is divided so sharply, actors can help – a least a little – just by doing what we do. And the nice part is it’s fun to do it. So my wish for all of us is: Let’s stay playful.”
For the second time, the cast of “This Is Us” won best ensemble in a drama series. Other TV winners included Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”), Darren Criss for “Assassination of Gianni Versace”, Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) and Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”). Arquette thanked Special Counsel investigator Robert Mueller “and everyone working to make sure we have sovereignty for the United States of America.”
The SAG Awards have one thing the Oscars don’t: a host. Emcee Megan Mullally kicked off the awards by tweaking their role among the many honors leading up to next month’s Oscars. She called the SAGs “the greatest honor an actor can receive this weekend.”
Among the attendees Sunday was Geoffrey Owens, the “Cosby Show” actor who caused a stir when he was photographed working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s. He was among the performers who began the show with the SAG Awards’ typical “I am an actor” testimony. Reunited as presenters were “Fatal Attraction” stars Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.
The SAG Awards are one of the most reliable bellwethers of the Academy Awards, but several of this year’s top Oscar contenders failed to land a best ensemble nomination.
The two leading Oscar nominees – “Roma” and “The Favourite” – were bypassed by the actors guild for a field that also includes “Crazy Rich Asians,” ”Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born,” which led all films with four nominations. “The Favourite” still earned nods for its three lead actresses – Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz – but “Roma” was shut out entirely. Both films landed 10 Oscar nods Tuesday.
The best picture winner at the Academy Awards has always first been nominated for best ensemble by the SAG Awards except in 1996, when “Braveheart” won best picture, and last year, when Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” overcame the SAG omission to win best picture. The actors guild instead awarded “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” its top prize.
Actors make up the largest percentage of the academy, so their preferences can have an especially large impact on the Oscar race. In the last decade the SAG ensemble winner has gone on to win best picture at the Academy Awards half of the time.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jakecoyleAP