Nyong'o, Leto win supporting actor awards from Hollywood peers

Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:48pm EST
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By Mary Milliken and Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto won Screen Actors Guild awards for their supporting roles on Saturday as Oscar nominees seek to gather crucial momentum in a competitive race for Academy Awards in six weeks.

The Kenyan actress Nyong'o was recognized for her role as the hardworking slave Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," while Leto won for his turn as transsexual AIDS activist in "Dallas Buyers Club," in honors that actors relish because they are voted by their peers.

Both actors are nominated for Oscars for their best supporting roles and Leto won the Golden Globe last Sunday.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you Steve McQueen," Hollywood newcomer Nyong'o said to the British director who chose her after auditioning 1,000 actresses.

"Thank you for taking a flashlight and shining it under the floorboards of this nation and reminding us what it is we stand on."

In what is widely considered one of the best years for quality film in recent memory, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and other guild awards to be handed out in the next two weeks could collectively steer the race in favor of one film for the industry's highest honor, the best picture Oscar, on March 2.

Vying for the top SAG prize - best ensemble cast - are the films "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle," "Dallas Buyers Club," "August: Osage County" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

But the last two films were not included in the nine best picture Oscar nominees announced last Thursday.   Continued...

Actress Lupita Nyong'o poses with her award for outstanding performance by a female in a supporting role for her role in "12 Years a Slave" at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 18, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson