Elba won both of the gongs for which he was nominated, collecting best supporting actor award in a motion picture prize for his role as a warlord in Beasts Of No Nation and best actor in a TV movie or mini-series for his portrayal of Detective Chief Inspector John Luther in the BBC drama.
Elba drew huge cheers as his name was called for his first award, which is decided by the members of the acting union SAG-AFTRA.
He said: “The Ghanaian cast and crew [of Beasts Of No Nation] were amazing and worked so hard. We made a film about real people and real lives and to be awarded for it is very special because a lot of people were damaged, so thank you for giving this film some light.”
He returned to the stage minutes later when he scored his second win for Luther and said: “I don’t know what to say, thank you so much everyone in this room for giving me that.”
The cast of Downton Abbey was named best ensemble in a drama series, beating Game Of Thrones, Homeland, House Of Cards and Mad Men.
Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs Patmore, accepted the award as she was joined by the rest of the cast on stage, saying: “We have been coming here for six years and have only encountered the most amazing kindness and generosity from American actors. To be nominated in this category is mind-blowing.”
Leonardo DiCaprio trumped Brit Eddie Redmayne for the outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role award for his performance as a fur trapper in The Revenant. Brie Larson won outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for Room.
The actors in Spotlight, about the Boston Globe investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church, was named best cast in a motion picture.