By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 29, 2012 at 10:21PM
The big upset of the night at the SAG Awards was Best Actor going to Jean Diujardin over George Clooney. The SAG ensemble prize for "The Help" was no surprise. Of the four Oscar nominations for the film, three were for performances. The SAG wins for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for "The Help" will repeat on Oscar night, as will Christopher Plummer's for "Beginners."
But the win for Michel Hazanavicius at the DGA Awards combined with Dujardin's SAG win over Clooney means that the surge in momentum for "The Artist" will not be stopped by Oscar night.
Neither "The Descendants" nor "Hugo"--despite all the Martin Scorsese drinks and jokes at the SAG Awards--will stop the French black-and-white silent film. Why? It has nothing to do with Harvey Weinstein's legendary campaigning mojo. Yes, he picked the movie and understood its power. Finally "The Artist" is a pure, original, unadulterated conception. No brand identity, no focus groups, no targeted audience. It touches our hearts.
"It's like being lit by the Holy Grail," said Plummer on being honored by his fellow actors.
"These women represented our mothers and grandmothers, living their lives in dignity and grace," said Spencer. "By honoring me you honor them. I dedicate this to the downtrodden, the underserved, underprivileged and overtaxed, whether emotionally physically or financially."
"All these actors on the stage gave up their ego and were able to just work," said Davis. "I want to say that the stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women, it's for all of us...I don't care how ordinary you may feel, we can all of us inspire change."