Movies

Hidden Figures, Fences win big at politically-charged SAG Awards

Hidden Figures was the surprise best film ensemble winner at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, a show overshadowed by politics as stars slammed US President Donald Trump.

Hidden Figures, the true story of three black female mathematicians during the 1960s space race, ousted awards front runners Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight to claim the night's top prize.

"This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together," one of its stars, Taraji P. Henson, said.

"Thank you for appreciating these women, they are hidden figures no more."

Fences, based on August Wilson's stage play about blue-collar African-Americans, claimed two major acting awards.

With awards darling La La Land out of the running for the top SAG prize for best ensemble, the win puts Hidden Figures firmly into the race for the best picture Oscar.

Voted for by about 120,000 US actors, the two-hour SAG Awards show often anoints top Academy Award winners since actors comprise the largest body within Oscar voters.

A surprised Denzel Washington won best actor for Fences.

Washington's co-star Viola Davis, who won best supporting actress, thanked the late playwright Wilson for honouring "the average man, who happened to be a man of colour."

Politics took centre stage at the show as many stars delivered fiery speeches to directly or indirectly criticise Mr Trump's ban on Muslim travellers.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won best comedy TV actress for political satire Veep, called Mr Trump's ban a "blemish".

"Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish," she said.

Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor, noted that he is the Muslim son of a Christian minister mother.

"She didn't do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago, but I tell you now, we put things to the side," he said. - REUTERS

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