British small screen phenomenon Downton Abbey has secured its first ever Screen Actors Guild Award. The period piece was named Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, and beat off competition from American heavyweights such as Homeland and Mad Men.
Stepping up to accept the accolade, Phyllis Logan, who plays Mrs Hughes in the TV favourite, said she was surprised that the show had been given the nod. "We were so not expecting this," she said. "Shut the French windows, honestly! We would like to thank, first of all, SAG for even bothering to consider us ... We're just so overwhelmed by it all." Fellow stars Michelle Dockery, Sophie McShera and Amy Nuttall were also present, and the ladies were in high spirits as they posed together with their gongs backstage. In film, the equally well-attired Les Miserables made a winner out of Anne Hathaway yet again. Following her Golden Globes success, the star reigned in the Best Supporting Actress category for her moving performance as Fantine. Valentino's muse was the picture of elegance in a sheer black Giambatissa Vialli couture gown. And despite the obvious emotion of the moment, Anne found room for some jokes in her acceptance speech, saying: "I want to thank my mother for voting for me - she better have.
"Thanks mom for being an actor and dad for being married to one". She continued: "I got my SAG card when I was 14. It felt like the beginning of the world. I have loved every single minute of my life as an actor." Anne also paid tribute to her co-stars in the screen version of the musical epic before concluding: "Thank you for nominating me alongside incredible women and incredible performances."
Like Anne, Daniel Day Lewis – aka Lincoln – continued his domination of awards season for his fierce portrayal of the US president who steered his country through civil war. Playing down his might in the role, Daniel made his acceptance speech as inclusive as possible as he was recognised in the Best Actor category.
"Deepest respect to my fellow nominees. Have no doubt that this is an ensemble award," he said before joking: "It occurred to me that it was an actor who murdered Abraham Lincoln. And therefore, somehow it is only so fitting that every now and then an actor tries to bring him back to life again." The Brit now goes into Oscar night hoping to secure a hat-trick; he already has Academy Awards for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood. The leading lady at this year's ceremony was none other than Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for her role opposite Bradley Cooper in lost-soul romance Silver Linings Playbook. The 22-year-old starlet's parents and co-star looked on as her talents were recognised. However, her perfect moment was tainted when her Dior gown almost ripped in half after getting snagged under a chair.
Argo filmmaker Ben Affleck – who also starred in and produced the film – paid tribute to the audience as his project secured him Best Film. "I am really amazed and stunned. There are so many great actors here," he said in his impassioned speech. "There's so many people who are actors who want to be an actor. This has nothing to do with me, this has to do with all the incredible people in this movie." On the small screen, Homeland's Claire Danes took home the Best Actress in a Drama Series award, while Sofia Vergara and her Modern Family were finally recognised in the comedy category after losing out at the Golden Globes. With two out of the three main award season ceremonies now complete, all eyes are on the Academy Awards to consolidate the best films and actors of the past twelve months. The Oscars take place on Sunday, Feb. 24.