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SAG Awards 2015: Eddie Redmayne wins lead actor honor for 'Theory'

Eddie Redmayne wins the SAG Award for male actor in a leading role for 'The Theory of Everything'

Eddie Redmayne has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for male actor in a leading role for his transformative performance as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in the biographical drama "The Theory of Everything."

Accepting his first SAG Award, the 33-year-old British actor dedicated it to the people around the world living with ALS, the motor-neuron disease Hawking has endured for decades.

An emotional Redmayne also addressed Hawking and his first wife, Jane Wilde, played by Felicity Jones in "Theory."

FULL COVERAGE: SAG Awards 2015

"Thank you for allowing someone who gave up science when they were 14 years old to enter your orbit," Redmayne said. "Thank you for reminding me of the overwhelming power of the will to love and the will to live every second of your life as fully and as passionately as possible."

Redmayne and his "Theory" costars were also up for the SAG cast award, which ultimately went to "Birdman," and he was previously nominated as part of the cast of 2012's "Les Miserables."

In one of Sunday evening's most closely watched races, Redmayne beat out fellow Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton, nominated for his performance as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up movie star trying to revive his career in "Birdman." At the Globes earlier this month, Redmayne won for lead actor in a drama while Keaton won for lead actor in a comedy or musical.

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Redmayne, who is now the presumptive Oscar frontrunner for best actor, also prevailed over Benedict Cumberbatch as the World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game," Steve Carell as the unstable chemical-fortune heir John du Pont in "Foxcatcher" and Jake Gyllenhaal as the unscrupulous freelance videographer Louis Bloom in "Nightcrawler."

In the four individual acting categories — lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor and supporting actress — the SAG Awards are considered one of the more reliable predictors of Oscar success, in part because actors represent such a large voting bloc in the motion picture academy.

For lead actor, the SAG Awards have tipped the Oscar winner each of the past 10 years.

Speaking to reporters backstage after his win, Redmayne said he was feeling a "white noise of euphoria." He added that his greatest challenge in "Theory" was doing justice to Hawking.

"I wanted to be authentic to him and his story," Redmayne said.

The Times' Tre'vell Anderson contributed to this report.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

7:34 p.m.: This story was updated with Redmayne's backstage reaction.

This story was originally posted at 7:20 p.m.

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