British royalty stayed in the spotlight Sunday as “The King’s Speech” won the Screen Actors Guild Award for cast along with Colin Firth for actor.
“The Fighter” showed some punch as it grabbed supporting awards for British thesp Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Natalie Portman of “Black Swan” won the lead actress award in ceremonies at the Shrine.
The two SAG wins for “The King’s Speech” came a night after the DGA awarded director Tom Hooper its top feature award — and a week after the royal drama took the Producers Guild Award. The tale of George VI overcoming his stammer also received a dozen Oscar noms Tuesday.
“Speech” won the cast award over “Black Swan,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “The Fighter” and “The Social Network,” which has been shut out since winning the Golden Globe for drama two weeks ago.
“They shouldn’t be the SAG Awards; they should call this the Uplift Awards,” quipped a delighted Geoffrey Rush in his acceptance speech on behalf of the cast. “It was originally going to be called ‘The King’s Speech Therapist.’ ”
The SAG cast award has matched the best picture Oscar winner only seven times in 15 years. Last year “Inglourious Basterds” won the SAG trophy and “The Hurt Locker” took best picture.
Upon accepting his award, Firth recalled the thrill of getting a SAG card and showing it off to impress women and get into clubs. “I’d like to thank security for letting me into the building,” he added before launching into a lengthy thank-you list.
Firth won over Jeff Bridges for “True Grit,” Robert Duvall for “Get Low,” Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network,” and James Franco for “127 Hours.”
Firth said backstage that “Speech” has gained traction partly due to scenes of reaction, such as Helena Bonham Carter’s reaction to his character’s inability to deliver a speech early in the film. “No one’s in a bubble; it’s all a matrix,” he added.
Portman topped Annette Bening for “The Kids Are All Right,” Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone” and Hilary Swank for “Conviction.”
“I’ve been working since I was 11,” Portman said in her acceptance. “I’m so grateful to have this union protecting me.”
Bale topped John Hawkes of “Winter’s Bone,” Jeremy Renner of “The Town,” Mark Ruffalo for “The Kids Are All Right” and Geoffrey Rush for “The King’s Speech.”
Bale credited castmates for his win, adding, “Actors rely on everyone else — it’s a domino effect. No one’s an island on a movie.”
Leo topped castmate Amy Adams, Bonham Carter for “The King’s Speech,” Mila Kunis for “Black Swan,” and Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit.”
Leo broke down in tears on stage when receiving the trophy from Jason Bateman, but quickly composed herself. She later gave a trademark straightforward answer backstage — “‘The Fighter’ is reaching so many people ’cause it’s a fucking great movie.”
Alec Baldwin won his fifth straight SAG award for “30 Rock” in the comedy series category. Baldwin’s five individual wins of SAG trophies trails only the six won by Anthony Edwards for “ER.”
But castmate Tina Fey’s bid for a fourth consecutive win was deterred by Betty White for “Hot in Cleveland.”
“This is the biggest surprise of my career,” White said.
ABC’s “Modern Family” picked up the award for television comedy ensemble.
HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” won a pair of drama series awards for cast and for lead actor Steve Buscemi.
Julianna Margulies won her second consecutive trophy in the category for “The Good Wife.”
She recalled backstage that her first role as a SAG member was “playing a hooker with a heart of gold” in Steven Segall’s “Out for Justice.”
The TV movie-miniseries trophies went to Al Pacino for “You Don’t Know Jack” and Claire Danes won for “Temple Grandin”
Ernest Borgnine was presented a lifetime achievement award and reminded actors that they are “a priviledged few” in their line of work.