LOS ANGELES - Two front runners for acting Oscars, Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons, appeared unstoppable in the races for supporting roles after winning honors from their fellow Hollywood actors on Sunday.
Arquette won the best supporting actress trophy from the Screen Actors Guild for her role as the loving yet struggling mother in the coming-of-age tale, "Boyhood," a small movie filmed over 12 years with the same actors.
"I can't tell you what this means to me," an emotional Arquette said upon accepting her first SAG award. "I'm a fourth generation actor. My family has been committed to acting through feast or famine."
Simmons, an actor with a long resume in television and film, was honoured for his portrayal as the intense music teacher of a young jazz drummer in the independent film, "Whiplash."
"I would like to thank the 49 actors who appear on screen in 'Whiplash' for realizing Damien Chazelle's vision so beautifully," Simmons said, referring to the movie's young director.
Both are considered the top Oscar contenders after also winning won Golden Globes two weeks ago.
The Screen Actors Guild awards often foreshadow Oscar winners in the acting categories, since actors form the largest voting bloc among the 6,100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The top SAG award of the night is the best ensemble cast in a motion picture. The field includes show business satire "Birdman," which won the top Producers Guild award on Saturday and is picking up steam toward the Academy Awards on Feb. 22, where it competes in nine categories including the coveted best picture.
Other contenders are the cast from "Boyhood," the large ensemble behind colorful caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and the casts of two British period biopics "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything."
In television awards, streaming company Netflix Inc chalked up important wins for its original programming. Its women's prison comedy, "Orange is the New Black," won best comedy ensemble and star Uzo Aduba won best actress for her role as Crazy Eyes.
"I love you guys so desperately, so much," Aduba told her fellow cast members as she accepted her first SAG award from her first nomination. "This is not done without you at all."