The Screen Actors Guild announced their winners of the year in a ceremony last night. Mostly the predicted winners were awarded. Julianne Moore won for her lead performance in "Still Alice" while Patricia Arquette and J. K. Simmons won supporting awards for their work in "Boyhood" and "Whiplash" respectively. As overseen by many, "Birdman" won the ensemble prize. A film packed with actors on their toes, with a subject like stage production and a feeling of true ensemble, it was poised to win. This is of course coming fresh from the PGA win, watch out for the Bird. But the surprise of the evening for many was Eddie Redmayne winning lead actor for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything". Now Michael Keaton was a favorite with critics but I had this suspicion at the back of my head regarding actors usually responding well to these 'portrayals' where the actors go through physical transformations. A fresh example would be Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club" (albeit a much stronger performance than Redmayne). McConaughey didn't win much or almost nothing with the critics until the industry awards started to happen. Chiwetel Ejiofor was the better one, giving an audacious performance in "12 Years a Slave". Forget that he was playing a real-life figure as well. I see Keaton in the same vein but then this is also a 'comedy' film so it shouldn't come as a surprise when the Academy decides to award Redmayne instead of Keaton. The actors have spoken and they love him.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE: