Michael Keaton Breaks SAG Awards Record with The Trial of the Chicago 7 Ensemble Victory

Mon, 5 April 2021, 5:46 pm

Christopher Polk/Getty Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton had a big night at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, as his movie The Trial of the Chicago 7 took home the evening’s top film prize.

The veteran actor, 69, broke a record with the film’s win for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, becoming the first actor to prevail in the category three times. He previously won the award with his costars in 2014 for Birdman and in 2015 with Spotlight.

He previously spoke to Deadline about the potential record-breaking win. “Contrary to advice I was given early on, I’ve done the ensemble thing a few times, going back to The Paper and even Gung Ho,” he said.

RELATED: Michael Keaton Is in Talks to Return to Batman Role for The Flash Movie: Reports

“I was advised early on, you’re a movie star,” Keaton continued. “That’s nice, but to me it is about good material and I’m an actor who likes to be around good actors. Unless you don’t have a pulse, you are going to improve. I get bored really quick. When you’re around really good actors, everybody brings everybody up.”

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Keaton starred in the acclaimed Aaron Sorkin-written/directed film as Ramsey Clark, who was the United States attorney general when the anti-Vietnam War protesters — who would become known as the Chicago Seven — were accused of inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Frank Langella accepted the award on behalf of the cast, referencing his real life character of Judge Julius Hoffman. “‘God give us leaders,’ said the Reverend Martin Luther King before he was shot down in cold blood on this very date in 1968,” he said. “A profound injustice. The trial of the Chicago Seven began 18 months later, ruled by a corrupt judge — me.”

He continued, “Aaron Sorkin was determined to tell their story, and his loving and respectful direction transformed a group of disparate actors into an ensemble. Reverend King was right, we need leaders to guide us toward hating each other less. We owe a debt of thanks to the voices of the Chicago Seven, and most especially, Aaron Sorkin, our leader whose voice is the soul of this movie. Thank you SAG-AFTRA.”

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The award’s winners also included cast members Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, John Carroll Lynch, Mark Rylance and Alex Sharp.

They beat out Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari and Regina King’s One Night in Miami for the honor. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is also up for Best Picture at the 93rd Academy Awards, broadcasting Sunday, April 25.

Moviestore/Shutterstock Michael Keaton as Batman

Keaton has also been the subject of buzz about potentially reviving his titular Dark Knight from 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns in The Flash. He told Deadline he’s “needing a minute” to consider the role and the state of the COVID pandemic when it films in the U.K.

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