'Argo' cast grabs top Screen Actors Guild award

Jennifer Lawrence wins best female actor in a leading role

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

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

The supporting film awards went to Anne Hathaway of "Les Miserables" and Tommy Lee Jones of "Lincoln." In her acceptance speech, Ms. Hathaway thanked the casts of both of her big films released last year, including "The Dark Knight Rises."

The SAG cast win for "Argo" came a day after the film claimed the top honor from the Producers Guild of America, whose winner often goes on to claim best picture at the Academy Awards. "Argo" also was a surprise victor two weeks ago at the Golden Globes, where it won best drama and director for Ben Affleck.

The award momentum positions "Argo" for a rare feat at the Feb. 24 Oscars, where it could become just the fourth film in 85 years to be best picture without a nomination for its director.

It was a brisk, businesslike and fairly bland evening as the actors union handed out honors to a predictable lineup of winners who generally had triumphed at earlier Hollywood ceremonies or past SAG shows.

On the television side, with "30 Rock" ending its run, its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin won the SAG awards for best comedy performers. It was Mr. Baldwin's seventh-straight win, while Ms. Fey earned her fifth SAG prize.

"Modern Family" won for best overall cast in a TV comedy show. Accepting for the cast, "Modern Family" co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson offered thanks to the makers of "30 Rock" and another departing series, "The Office," saying "you all have set the comedy bar so high."

The TV drama acting awards went to Claire Danes of "Homeland" and Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad."

"Downton Abbey" won the TV drama cast award.

Julianne Moore's turn as Sarah Palin in "Game Change" earned her the TV prize for best actress in a movie or miniseries. Kevin Costner won for best actor in a movie or miniseries for "Hatfields & McCoys."

Earlier, the James Bond adventure "Skyfall" and the fantasy series "Game of Thrones" picked up prizes for best stunt work, honors announced on the red carpet before the official SAG Awards ceremony.

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.

Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" would seem the Oscar favorite with 12 nominations. Yet all of the triumphs for "Argo" leave the race looking like anybody's guess.

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.

After waiting on stage for a prolonged standing ovation to end, Mr. Van Dyke said, "That does an old man a lot of good."

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