LOS ANGELES (CNS) - “Black Panther” won the top ensemble cast award at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight, while Rami Malek was named best actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Glenn Close locked up her title of Oscar front-runner with a best-actress win for “The Wife.”
Meanwhile, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” swept the SAG Awards for television comedies, while NBC's “This is Us” won the award for best ensemble cast in a drama series.
“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman accepted the ensemble cast award -- SAG's equivalent of a best-picture award -- on behalf of the cast and recognized the importance of a victory for a nearly all-black cast.
“When I think of going to work every day and the passion and the intelligence, the resolve, the discipline that everybody showed,” he said. “I also think of two questions we all have received during the course of multiple publicity runs. And one was did we know this movie was going to receive this kind of response ... and the second question is has it changed the industry, has it actually changed the way this industry works, how it sees us. And my answer to that is to be young, gifted and black.
“Because all of us up here know ... to be young, gifted and black we all know what it's like to be told there is a not a place for you to be featured,” Boseman said. “ ... We know what it's like to be the tail but not the head, to be beneath but not above. And that is what we went to work with every day. ... We knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the role we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see.”
Glenn Close, who had already collected Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Awards for her work as the long-suffering spouse of a Nobel Prize winner in “The Wife,” won the SAG prize for best actress, making her a near lock to take home the Oscar next month. It was the second SAG Award of her career, with the first coming in 2005 for her lead role in the TV movie “The Lion in Winter.”
“One of the most powerful things that we have as human beings are two eyes looking into two eyes, and film is the only art form that allows us the close up,” she said. “I think we have to remember how powerful that is in a world that is consumed with different-sized screens. ... The power that we have are two human eyes looking into two other eyes. That will give us empathy and understanding.”
Rami Malek was named best actor in a motion picture for his portrayal of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
He thanked the film's “ensemble that is so extraordinary to me, that carried me through every moment on this film.”
“I thank Queen and Freddie Mercury,” he said. “I get some power from him that is about stepping up and living your best life ... accomplishing everything you so desire. This is again for him.”
Malek had already won a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a drama film for his work, while fellow nominee Christian Bale won the Globe for best actor in a comedy/musical and a Critics' Choice Award “Vice.” Malek's SAG win sets up a dramatic showdown between the pair on Oscar night, with both nominated again for best actor.
Emily Blunt scored her first career SAG Award with her win as best supporting actress for her work in the suspense thriller “A Quiet Place,” a film directed by her husband, John Krasinski.
“I'm so moved and completely lost for words and unprepared,” Blunt said. “I'm going to share this with my husband John Krasinski because the entire experience of doing this with you has pierced my heart directly. ... Thank you for giving me this part -- you would have been in major trouble if you hadn't.”
Mahershala Ali, who was already a Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award winner for his role as musician Don Shirley in “Green Book,” was named best supporting actor. It was his third SAG Award, having previously won his supporting role in “Moonlight” and as a member of the cast of “Hidden Figures.”
“The more I'm fortunate and blessed to get to do this work, the more I realize how much I need you -- all of you in this room -- to get my inspiration from and get my cues of how to go deeper.”
He also hailed his co-star, Viggo Mortensen, saying, “It's just been an honor going on this journey with you. Such a beautiful actor and an amazing person.”
On the television side of the awards, NBC's “This is Us” won its second consecutive SAG Award for outstanding drama series ensemble cast. Jason Bateman, meanwhile, took home his first SAG Award, winning for best actor in a drama series for Netflix's “Ozark.”
“This is reassuring,” he quipped as he took the stage. He went on to provide reassurance to struggling actors, noting that he used to be one.
“You wonder if you got it,” he said. “You wonder if you're any good because what we're doing is we're liars up there, and we're wondering if people are buying it.”
He assured actors everywhere that “you're just one job away. You're plenty talented, and hang in there.”
Sandra Oh followed up her Golden Globe win with a SAG Award for best actress in a drama for her work in BBC America's “Killing Eve.” She previously won SAG honors for her work on “Grey's Anatomy” and as a member of the cast of the film “Sideways.”
She gave thanks to her “fellow actors.”
“I have felt hour support so tremendously the past years,” she said, singling out performers such as Alfre Woodard and Jamie Foxx in particular for encouraging her in the past.
Amazon Prime's “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” swept the awards for a comedy series, winning best ensemble cast and best actress and actor for Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shaloub.
“You cannot imagine the incredibly wonderful feeling it is too work alongside these people,” Shaloub said while accepting the ensemble award on behalf of the cast. “This is a love fest.”
When accepting his best actor award, Shaloub -- who won the same prize in 2004 and 2005 for his work in “Monk” -- hailed one of his fellow nominees, Alan Arkin of “The Kominsky Method.”
“The greatest honor of my life is to be nominated in the same category with Alan Arkin, who has long been an idol of mine,” he said. “... I think he was the reason I wanted to become an actor in the first place.”
The win was the first SAG Award for Brosnahan, who has also won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her lead role in “Mrs. Maisel,” portraying a 1950s housewife pursuing her dream of becoming a standup comic.
“I couldn't be luckier to be a part of this amazing group of artists, she said, hailing her fellow cast mates -- including guest performers on the show and even the background actors who she said work the same hours and belong to the same union as stars who get all the notoriety.
Darren Criss followed up his Golden Globe win with the SAG Award for best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for his work in “Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” Patricia Arquette won the prize for actress in a TV movie or miniseries for “Escape at Dannemora.” She previously won a SAG Award in 2015 for her supporting role in the film “Boyhood.”
The SAG Awards ceremony was held at the Shrine Auditorium, with Megan Mullally, best known for “Will & Grace,” hosting. Last year, the show was hosted by Kristen Bell -- the first time the ceremony has ever had a host.
Alan Alda, best known for his work on the comedy series “M*A*S*H,” received the SAG Life Achievement Award during the ceremony, with the honor presented to him by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks.
Photos: Getty Images