While the Academy Awards remain enveloped in a crisis over the diversity of its nominees, the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday presented a stark antidote to the rancor that has overwhelmed Hollywood's awards season.
Awards were handed out to Queen Latifah, Uzo Aduba, Viola Davis and Idris Elba (twice), as the actors guild cast a loud vote in favor of diversity on big and small screens.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV," said Elba in his third trip on stage as a presenter. His first two were to accept awards for his supporting performance in the Netflix child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation and for his lead performance in the BBC miniseries Luther.
The night's top honor, best ensemble in a film, went to the newspaper drama Spotlight, which came into Saturday badly in need of some momentum. The ensemble award had seemingly come down to Spotlight or - the film with the wind at its back - Adam McKay's high finance tale The Big Short, which last week took the Producers Guild's top award.
"No way," said Mark Ruffalo, one of the film's stars.
He praised the writer-director Tom McCarthy and cowriter Josh Singer for their purposeful accuracy in penning the journalistic procedural about the Boston Globe's reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The two, he said, "took every single opportunity to tell the truth. They didn't take any cheap way. It was always the truth."
Elba made no direct reference to the crisis that has swept through Hollywood in the last two weeks - which might have been far less severe had he been nominated by the Academy Awards, as many expected. But it was on the minds and tongues of seemingly everyone in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium on Saturday night.
Accepting the most outstanding ensemble award, comedy series, for Orange Is the New Black, costar Laura Prepon gestured to the cast of the prison comedy standing behind her.
"Look at this stage," said Prepon at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. "This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity."
Individual actor SAG winners the last three years have exactly corresponded with eventual Oscar winners, which meant that SAG winners Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Brie Larson (Room) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) all appear to have cemented their status as favorites. Each won, as expected.
"For any young actors out there, I encourage you to watch the history of cinema," said DiCaprio, who is expected to land his first Oscar after four previous nominations. "As the history of cinema unfolds, you realize that we all stand on the shoulders of giants."