NEW YORK (AP) – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” kicked off the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards with a trio of honors while Emily Blunt was the upset winner for best supporting actress for her role in the horror thriller “A Quiet Place.”
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 comedy series ensemble, best actress in a comedy series for Rachel Brosnahan, and best actor in a comedy series for 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. 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.”
Other TV winners included Darren Criss for “Assassination of Gianni Versace” and Patricia Arquette for “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.
“Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” were among the films vying for SAG’s top prize, best ensemble. Ryan Coogler’s superhero hit started with a win for best ensemble of stunt performers one that “GLOW,” the Netflix series about professional women wrestlers, won on the television side.
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