Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's stunning comedy-drama Birdman won top prize at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday evening (Januart 25, 2014), beating heavy favorite Boyhood and effectively blowing the race for Best Picture at the Oscars wide open. The bookmakers responded immediately, cutting the movie's odds to leave it almost level-pegging with Richard Linklater's coming-of-age epic.

BirdmanMichael Keaton turns in a career best performance in the epic Birdman

Perhaps crucially, the SAG Awards are often an accurate barometer for the Oscars - far more so than the Golden Globes. If that holds true this year, than Birdman could find itself as a Best Picture winner, while Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore will be crowned with the major acting awards. The British actor's turn as Dr Stephen Hawking saw him topped Michael Keaton for Birdman, while Moore won for Still Alice. The supporting gongs at the SAG's went to J.K Simmons for his explosive performance in Whiplash, while Patricia Arquette won for Boyhood. Both are heavily favoured to win Oscars. 

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In the television categories, drama Downton Abbey and Netflix's Orange is the New Black were the big winners. The latter earned the TV female actor gong for Uzo Aduba - who plays Crazy Eyes. Kevin Spacey won male actor in a drama series for House of Cards, which returns for a third season in February.

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The guild's lifetime achievement award went to Debbie Reynolds, who received a standing ovation from the star-studded audience. The 82-year-old starred in Hollywood classics such as 1952's Singing in the Rain.

The SAG Awards aired live on TBS and TNT from the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles.

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