Octavia Spencer, winner of award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for "The Help," left, and Viola Davis, winner of the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for "The Help," pose backstage at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, January 29, 2012.
Octavia Spencer, winner of award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for "The Help," left, and Viola Davis, winner of the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for "The Help," pose backstage at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, January 29, 2012.

The Help, a movie about African American maids in the 1960s in (the U.S. state of) Mississippi was the big winner at Sunday’s 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The film won best ensemble, best actress for Viola Davis and best supporting actress for Octavia Spencer.  In accepting her award Davis said the “stain of racism and sexism” is not just for people of color or women, but is “all of our burden.”

French actor Jean Dujardin was named best actor for the silent film The Artist, while 82-year-old Christopher Plummer took the supporting actor award for his role in Beginners, where he plays a man who comes to terms with his homosexuality late in life.

The TV drama show winners were Jessica Lange as best actress for American Horror Story on FX and Steve Buscemi as best actor for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire which also won the ensemble prize.

For TV movie or miniseries, Kate Winslet won as best actress for HBO’s Mildred Pierce, while Paul Giamatti was named best actor for HBO’s Too Big to Fail.

Mary Tyler Moore received SAG’s lifetime achievement award.  Dick Van Dyke, her co-star in the 1960s television comedy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, presented her the award.

SAG’s movie awards are generally seen as a prelude to the culmination of the Hollywood awards season, the Oscars, to be held next month.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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