LOS ANGELES — The Deep South drama “The Help” won three prizes Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, including best actress for Viola Davis and supporting actress for Octavia Spencer. “The Help” won the ensemble award, equivalent of best picture.
Davis and Spencer won as black maids going public with truths about their white employers in 1960s Mississippi.
Jean Dujardin won the lead-actor honor for “The Artist” as a silent-film superstar whose career crumbles as the sound era arrives. Christopher Plummer won for supporting actor as an elderly dad who comes out as gay in “Beginners.”
The wins boost their prospects for the same honors at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.
Plummer would become the oldest actor to win an Oscar at 82, two years older than Jessica Tandy when she won Best Actress for “Driving Miss Daisy.”
Spencer, a veteran actress who had toiled in small TV and movie parts, had a breakout role in “The Help” as a brassy maid whose mouth gets her in trouble. “I’m going to dedicate this to the downtrodden, the under-served, the underprivileged, overtaxed — whether emotionally, physically or financially,” Spencer said.
On the TV side, comedy series awards went to “Modern Family” for best ensemble; Alec Baldwin as best actor for “30 Rock”; and Betty White as best actress for “Hot in Cleveland.”
TV drama show winners were Jessica Lange as best actress for “American Horror Story” and Steve Buscemi as best actor for “Boardwalk Empire,” which also won the ensemble prize.
For TV movie or miniseries, Kate Winslet won best actress for “Mildred Pierce,” while Paul Giamatti was named best actor for “Too Big to Fail.”