The Screen Actors Guild honored the ensembles of two wildly different television programs Sunday night, handing out top honors to the cast of the women's prison comedy "Orange Is the New Black" and the performers of the aristocratic period drama "Downton Abbey."
The cast of "Orange Is the New Black," the Netflix series about a privileged white woman sent to prison for her involvement in a drug trafficking ring, won its first SAG Award for performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.
Meanwhile, "Downton Abbey," which chronicles the goings-on at a British estate in the early 20th century, picked up its second win for performance by an ensemble in a drama series.
FULL COVERAGE: SAG Awards 2015
"Thank you for keeping us on this journey," said actress Joanne Froggatt in accepting the award while noting that a sixth season of the hit series is in the works.
If the SAG Awards are any indication, the future of television is online. Fresh off a strong showing at the Golden Globes two weeks ago, Netflix was the big TV winner Sunday night, taking home more trophies than any other network or content provider.
"Orange Is the New Black" star Uzo Aduba was a surprise victor for female actor in a comedy series, while Kevin Spacey earned a trophy for his portrayal of Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood in the drama "House of Cards."
Aduba, who stars as Crazy Eyes in "Orange Is the New Black," triumphed in a category that included such awards favorites as Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Edie Falco and Julie Bowen. In the opening segment of the show, the actress recalled that it was on "Orange Is the New Black" that she'd earned her SAG card.
Despite the strong showing by Netflix, apparently not everyone was ready to embrace technology. Frances McDormand, a winner for performance by a female actor in a television movie or miniseries for HBO's "Olive Kitteridge," urged her fellow SAG-AFTRA members to watch the miniseries.
"You can stream it," she said, "but I don't know how."
Aside from the repeat win for "Downton Abbey," SAG-AFTRA largely favored new names Sunday night. Picking up a trophy for performance by a male actor in a comedy series for Showtime's "Shameless," nine-time SAG Award nominee William H. Macy joked that "I wrote so many great acceptance speeches I never got to give."
Mark Ruffalo earned his first SAG Award for his work in the HBO film "The Normal Heart."
The diversity of the small screen — particularly in contrast to this year's crop of film acting contenders — was also on display throughout the two-hour ceremony.
There was the sprawling ensemble of "Orange Is the New Black," whose numbers include white, black, Asian, Latino, transgender and lesbian performers.
And there was also Viola Davis, a winner for performance by a female actor in a dramatic series for her work in ABC's freshman series "How to Get Away With Murder."
In accepting her trophy, she thanked the executives and producers who cast her for "thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African American woman who looks like me."