EDDIE Redmayne will be hoping Hollywood tradition continues after he was named outstanding actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards – the last ten stars to win the gong also picked up the Oscar.
The winning sequence stretches back to 2004 when Jamie Foxx won for Ray and went on to be named best actor at the Academy Awards.
Redmayne, who plays scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, beat Birdman star Michael Keaton at the ceremony in Los Angeles in the early hours of yesterday.
Redmayne, who has already won a Golden Globe, dedicated his award to those such as Professor Hawking who live with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), for their “triumph of spirit”.
Visibly shocked and at times emotional during his speech, the British actor told the audience he had learned a lot when making the film.
“I would like to dedicate this award to those people around the world living with ALS, to those who have lost their lives to this brutal disease,” he said.
“In preparing to play Stephen, I met many people fighting ALS, and I met their families fighting alongside them. And the courage and the bravery and the spirit, this triumph of spirit that I witnessed, blew my mind. So I’m incredibly grateful to them.”
ITV programme Downton Abbey took the title of best ensemble cast in a drama series for the second time, while English actress Andrea Riseborough shared in Birdman’s award for best ensemble cast.
Kevin Spacey, who has been artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre for more than a decade, won best actor in a drama series for House Of Cards.
At the Oscars, Redmayne will be up against Keating, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Steve Carell, who is nominated for Foxcatcher, and American Sniper’s Bradley Cooper.
Redmayne’s co-star in The Theory Of Everything, Felicity Jones, and follow Brit Rosamund Pike are both nominated for the leading actress gong.
Jones, who played Prof Hawking’s first wife, Jane, and Gone Girl star Pike face competition from Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard.
Keira Knightley, who stars alongside Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, is nominated for the best supporting actress award, as is Oscars veteran Meryl Streep – who is shortlisted for a 19th time. The other nominees are Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern and Emma Stone.
The nominees for supporting actor are Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo and JK Simmons.
Both The Theory Of Everything and The Imitation Game are in contention for the best film award, along with American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma and Whiplash.
THE SAG WINNERS ARE:
Cast, Motion Picture - Birdman
Male Actor, Leading - Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Female Actor, Leading - Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Ensemble, Drama Series - Downton Abbey
Female Actor, Supporting - Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Ensemble, Comedy Series - Orange Is the New Black
Male Actor, Supporting - J K Simmons, Whiplash
Male Actor, Drama Series - Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Female Actor, Drama Series - Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Female Actor, Comedy Series - Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Male Actor, Comedy Series - William H Macy, Shameless
Male Actor, Miniseries/Television Movie - Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Female Actor, Miniseries/ Television Movie - Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Stunt Ensemble Television - Game of Thrones
Stunt Ensemble Motion Picture - Unbroken
Life Achievement Award - Debbie Reynolds