The Screen Actors Guild pick The Help over The Artist

Actors' awards honour the civil rights film as the pre-Oscar buzz mounts in Hollywood

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The Screen Actors Guild backed civil rights movie The Help this weekend with awards for best actress, best supporting actress and best cast in what’s seen as a likely sign of Oscar glory.

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“Dream big and dream fierce,” said best actress recipient Viola Davis in her speech. “I was eight years old when I decided to be an actor and I am just so privileged to be gazing on the beautiful face of the woman who inspired me that beautiful day. And that’s [The Help co-star] Cicely Tyson.”

Davis collected a second award with the best cast for The Help and co-star Octavia Spencer was named best supporting actress.

The Artist won only one award, that of best actor for star Jean Dujardin. 

Other film winners were Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which won for best stunts, and Christopher Plummer, who took best supporting actor for his role alongside Ewan McGregor in Beginners.

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Every award ceremony leading up to the Academy Awards on Sunday 26 February is watched closely by Oscar followers for clues to what will win at the most prestigious event, but the SAG awards have a practical advantage. These awards are voted for exclusively by actors and as actors make up the largest single group of voters in the Oscars, this is typically the best indicator of success.