The Screen Actors Guild Awards honored the casts of AMC's "Breaking Bad," ABC's "Modern Family," and David O. Russell's "American Hustle" while singling out the leads of "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Blue Jasmine."
For the latter features, the wins for Matthew McConaughey, who received an Actor statuette for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof in the AIDS drama, and Cate Blanchett, who won for her performance as a New York socialite in Woody Allen's feature, could foreshadow the results of March's Academy Awards. Both performers are nominated for Oscars and the SAG Awards are often a precursor to the industry's highest honor.
Saturday night's ceremony will be remembered for honoring some of the best ensembles in recent television history. ABC's "Modern Family" has become a shoe-in after winning the ensemble comedy honor the last four years in a row. Still, actor Ed O'Neill said it's a challenge to maintain the series' high standards. "It's never easy," he told reporters after their win.
"Breaking Bad," which recently ended its five-season run, also won for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama. "This is such a glorious way to go out," said Bryan Cranston, who also took home a statuette for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series.
For those reading the awards season tea leaves, Saturday offered no clear guidance.
"American Hustle" garnered the "outstanding performance by a cast" honor, while the individual awards were split between three features.
Blanchett, who won a Golden Globe earlier this month for the same performance, praised Allen, who wrote and directed "Blue Jasmine," for writing strong female roles. "Thank you so much, Woody," she said in her acceptance speech.
In his acceptance speech, McConaughey, who also won a Golden Globe for his turn in "Dallas Buyers Club," said he reached a "magic place" during his performance "when you're seeing the character from the inside out."
Castmate Jared Leto took home the statuette for his supporting performance in "Dallas Buyers Club," while Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," won for female actor in a supporting role.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" continues to be overlooked this awards season, with neither Oprah Winfrey or Forest Whitaker taking home a statuette. The film had a total of three nominations.
It was the 20th anniversary of the SAG Awards ceremony, which bestows Actor statuettes on winners voted for by SAG-AFTRA members. During the ceremony, Morgan Freeman presented Rita Moreno with the Screen Actors Guild 50th Annual Life Achievement Award. "It's about persevering," she said afterward. "La perseverancia in Spanish. The door is ajar [for Latino actors] and we have to open it some more."
In the TV movie/mini-series category, Helen Mirren won for playing attorney Linda Kenney Baden in HBO's biopic "Phil Spector," but used her speech to give a shout out to Elisabeth Moss, who was considered a favorite for the award after her performance on Sundance Channel's "Top of the Lake."
"I was sure Elizabeth was going to win," she said of Moss, who earlier this month won the Golden Globe in the same category.
Meanwhile, Michael Douglas won for his portrayal of Liberace in HBO's "Behind the Candelabra."
"I'm not here without Matt Damon," Douglas said on stage.
Ken Howard, who during the broadcast announced the SAG Foundation had received a $1 million contribution from PEOPLE magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, called the 2014 ceremony a "milestone."
He said that was because of the honor bestowed on the 82-year-old Moreno and the two decades of it being staged by the union. He also joked about its awards-season appeal to attendees.
"One of the great things about these awards is that they're two hours long," Howard told Backstage, tongue-in-cheek. "Before people start getting restless and looking at their watches, it's done."
The full list of winners is below:
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club" (Focus Features)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, HBO's "Veep"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, ABC's "Modern Family"
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
"Modern Family," ABC
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Helen Mirren, HBO's "Phil Spector"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Michael Douglas, HBO's "Behind the Candelabra"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Maggie Smith, PBS's "Downton Abbey"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, AMC's "Breaking Bad"
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
"Breaking Bad," AMC
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club" (Focus Features)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" (Sony Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
"American Hustle" (Sony Pictures)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
"Lone Survivor" (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Screen Actors Guild 50th Annual Life Achievement Award