At a determinedly woke awards ceremonies that intentionally put women front and center, the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night gave its top honors to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the tale of a woman hell-bent on seeking justice for the rape and murder of her daughter.

HBO’s Washington-set farce Veep won the TV comedy ensemble award for the first time, while NBC’s family saga This Is Us won the TV drama ensemble honors. Speaking for that cast, Milo Ventimiglia offered a special thanks to the show’s fans, “the people who watch with us every Tuesday night and embrace the show that embraces positivity and hope and inclusion, we love you.”

Taking its cue from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements that have put a spotlight on the need for gender equality, all the presenters at the show were women and, for the first time, the SAG Awards was fronted by a host — The Good Place’s Kristen Bell. “We are living in a watershed moment,” Bell said as she kicked off the proceedings. “Let’s make sure we are leading the charge with empathy and with diligence.”

Appearing onstage later to announce the winner of actress in a miniseries, Rosanna Arquette used her moment to name-check a number of others who, like her, have spoken out about sexual abuse and harassment.

On the film side, the SAG Awards appeared to demonstrate a growing consensus this awards season as they rubber-stamped a group of winners who were also celebrated at the recent Golden Globe Awards.

In addition to its ensemble win — SAG’s equivalent of a best picture award — Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboards saw Frances McDormand collect her third individual SAG Award, this for outstanding female actor in a motion picture, for her portrayal of a fierce woman out to challenge a group of small-town cops. As she accepted the award, McDormand paid tribute to writer-director Martin McDonagh, saying, “He wrote, meticulously crafted, a tsunami, and then he allowed his troupe of actors to surf it into the shore.”

The film’s Sam Rockwell, also reprising a Globe win, scored as supporting film actor for playing a dim-witted cop. Accepting his first SAG Award, he said, “My mom and dad were actors. They dragged me to rehearsals at ACT when I was a little baby, and I slowly realized that these people are nuts. I love actors.”

Gary Oldman’s potential path to an Oscar became surer as, after receiving a Globe, he was gifted with a SAG Award, the first of his career, for embodying Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. He concluded his thank-yous by saying, “Churchill reminds us we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give, and you have given enormously tonight, and I am so deeply, deeply honored.”

(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter

SAG Awards: ‘Three Billboards’ Takes Top Honors at a Show Where Women Took Center Stage

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