Weisz reaps another award for 'Constant Gardener' role

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The Independent Culture

The career of the actress Rachel Weisz goes from strength to strength with a top honour from her American peers for her heart-tugging performance in the British film The Constant Gardener.

Weisz, who plays a woman killed as she investigates suspicious pharmaceutical trials in Africa, was named best supporting actress by the Screen Actors Guild in America on Sunday night.

Given her earlier win in the Golden Globes, all eyes will now be on whether she can make it three times lucky when the Oscar nominations are announced today.

She told the Screen Actors Guild: "It's so special to be honoured by fellow actors, so thanks very much to the tribe."

Weisz, 35, who is pregnant with her first child, by the director Darren Aronofsky, has previously appeared in movies that range from low-budget art-house movies such as Stealing Beauty to blockbusters such as The Mummy. But it is her performance in The Constant Gardener that has earned the greatest praise.

The more restrained performance of Ralph Fiennes, her co-star in The Constant Gardener, has so far been unrecognised in American nominations. But it secured him a nomination for best actor at the Orange British Academy Awards next month and he was named best actor at last night's London Evening Standard British Film Awards. The judges, all British critics, described Fiennes' performance as "mesmerising".

The Constant Gardener, an adaptation of a John Le Carré novel, won the Evening Standard award for best film and Natasha Richardson was chosen as best actress, for Asylum.

Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit, received a special award for his contribution to film while Tom Hollander's bumbling performance as the vicar Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice won the comedy award.

Saul Dibb, the director of Bullet Boy, won best newcomer, while Neil Marshall won the technical achievement prize for the low-budget horror film The Descent.

In the US, the Screen Actors Guild chose to honour Crash, a closely woven examination of racial tensions in America, with its overall cast award, rather than Brokeback Mountain which took four awards at the Golden Globes two weeks ago.

Reese Witherspoon won best actress for her performance as Johnny Cash's wife, June Carter, in the biopic Walk the Line, for which she learnt to sing.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was best actor for another biopic, Capote, about the writer Truman Capote.

The winners

* Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote

* Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon (pictured) in Walk the Line

* Best Supporting Actor: Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man

* Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener

* Best Cast: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate in Crash

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