Black comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” won three prizes Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, in a ceremony that paid tribute to women in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal.
The film, which had previously triumphed at the Golden Globes, is now a hot favourite at the Oscars alongside “The Shape of Water” which won best movie at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday.
Frances McDormand won outstanding performance by a lead actress for her role as a mother seeking to avenge the rape and murder of her daughter in “Three Billboards.”
Judi Dench (“Victoria and Abdul”), Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”), Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) were all nominated.
With a Golden Globe already under her belt, McDormand is now a clear frontrunner for an Academy Award for Best Actress, while 59-year-old Briton Gary Oldman appears to be in line for Best Actor for his turn as wartime leader Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
An emotional Oldman, who beat off the likes of Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”) and James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”), quoted the British statesmen in his acceptance speech, saying: “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”
The awards are a bellwether for the Oscars in March, as its members represent about 1 200 of the roughly 6 000 voters for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday.
“Three Billboards” also won best ensemble, the event’s most prestigious award, while Sam Rockwell took home the best supporting actor statuette for his role as a police officer in the film.
“To all the women in this room trying to make things better it’s long overdue,” he said.
This year’s ceremony came as Hollywood is engulfed in the worst sexual misconduct scandal in its history.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s second “Women’s March” which brought together hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, between 300 000 and 600 000 in Los Angeles alone, all SAG statuettes were being presented by actresses, including Halle Berry, Dakota Fanning, Lupita Nyong’o and Emma Stone.
Allegations ranging from harassment to rape have sparked the downfall of numerous powerful industry players, starting with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and including actors Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor and Louis C.K. as well as filmmaker Brett Ratner.
The actors guild has been keen to back the Time’s Up movement created by 300 influential women in Hollywood to fund the defense of victims of sexual abuse, as well as the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.
But unlike at the Golden Globes, where all actresses dressed in black, sequins, sparkles, feathers and an air of Tinseltown glam were back on the SAG red carpet.