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Argo bags more awards

Ben Affleck's movie Argo has boosted its Oscar chances with two weekend awards.

Actor/director Ben Affleck (L) poses with producers Grant Heslov (C) and George Clooney with the award for best motion picture drama for "Argo" at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Beverly Hills on 13 January 2013. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Iran hostage drama Argo won its second big award in two days on Sunday, boosting its chances of winning a best picture Oscar next month in a race that had been considered wide open.

Argo won best cast ensemble, the top prize, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, while Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence took lead acting honours.

On Saturday, _Argo _won the Producers Guild Award, a key measure of Hollywood sentiment, beating Lincoln, Les Miserables, and Silver Linings Playbook, which are all Academy Award best picture contenders.

"There was absolutely no way I thought we would win this award," the film's director and star, Ben Affleck, told reporters backstage after the win.

Argo is the true story of the rescue of US diplomats stranded in Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Asked about his movie's Oscar chances, Affleck said he was not in the business of "handicapping or trying to divine what's going to happen down the road."

"I don't know what's going to happen, nothing may happen, but it's a wonderful opportunity to be on the ride," Affleck added.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ceremony is among the most-watched during Hollywood's awards season because actors make up the largest voting group in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which chooses the Oscar winners.

The SAG honours are selected by about 100,000 actors working in the United States.