Denzel Washington upset Casey Affleck at the Screen Actors Guild Award on Sunday night, winning best actor for his towering performance in Fences.
“I didn’t have faith. God bless you all — all the other actors. I said, ‘That young boy is going to win this,'” Washington joked in his acceptance speech, referencing Affleck, who was heavily favored to win on Sunday. “‘You ain’t going to win.’ I didn’t even prepare. But I am prepared.”
The 62-year-old actor won for his role in August Wilson’s Fences as a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who bitterly reflects on never getting the chance to play Major League baseball. (Washington also directed.) The win could spell good things for Washington’s Oscar chances: For the last 10 years, the SAG Awards have correctly predicted the Oscar best actor winner 100 percent of the time.
This is Washington’s first SAG win, as he was previously nominated for best actor for Flight, Training Day, and The Hurricane. He was also nominated as part of the ensemble casts of American Gangster and Fences.
Until Sunday night, Affleck had steamrolled through awards season, winning at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and taking top honors from numerous critics’ groups.