At last night's Screen Actors' Guild Awards, the stars of The Help scooped three of the major awards, including Outstanding Performance By A Cast in a Motion Picture. The film - which tells the tale of an author in 1960s America writing a book from the point of view of African American housemaids - triumphed over tough competition. Both The Artist and The Descendants are both hotly tipped to succeed at this year's Oscars, yet lost out in this category to the female-led cast of The Help, which stars Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Viola Davis.

Both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer took home their own awards, as well. VIOLA DAVID fought a category of heavyweights such as Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Tilda Swinton and Michelle Williams to win Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor in a Leading Role. Octavia Spencer went home with the Supporting Actress gong, having impressed the judges over her fellow cast member Jessica Chastain as well as Melissa McCarthy, Janet McTeer and Berenice Bejo.

More surprises were to be found in the male actors' categories. And none seemed more surprised than Jean Dujardin, who beat George Clooney and Brad Pitt to the prize for Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor in a Leading Role. According to the LA Times today, even Jean himself was surprised at the result and began his speech by saying "It's too much." Christopher Plummer added to his Critics Choice and Golden Globes awards with the Supporting Actor prize, for his performance in Beginners. No doubt his rivals, Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte and Jonah Hill will be hoping to break his run of success at this year's Academy Awards.