US actress Ayo Edebiri and US actor Jeremy Allen White pose in the press room with the awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female and Male Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for “The Bear” during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, February 24, 2024. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Inside the ballroom at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards, “Oppenheimer” was front and center literally and figuratively, snagging the night’s top prize along with trophies for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr.

Ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, Christopher Nolan’s summer blockbuster increasingly looks like the run-away favourite. It was outshined on Saturday’s awards only by reflections on the longest SAG-AFTRA strike in history last year and subsequent deal reached that ended it in November.

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland gave the room a kind of pep talk before Saturday’s show began, accompanied by a montage of actors speaking from the picket lines over the summer, prompting the room to erupt in cheers of support.

“We did achieve, I think, really important advances on paying actors fairly for working on streaming,” Crabtree-Ireland said of the show being shown live on Netflix. “We’re really one of the only shows out there that’s delivering a union message and talking about how workers can support each other. So, I’m proud that Netflix is having us on their platform.”

That speech, however, wasn’t part of Netflix’s livestream.

There was indeed a general sense of solidarity and gratitude toward their union from many in attendance, though some had less optimistic perspectives.

“I’m seeing a lot of people who are super grateful to be able to get back to work. But I’m also seeing the industry shrink a little bit and I’m starting to see jobs go away,” filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass said before the show. “It’s not an easy time. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it.”

But most of the night was characterized by levity and camaraderie. The ballroom seemed energized by a presenter bit involving Billie Eilish signing Melissa McCarthy’s face (at the comedian’s request) before handing an award to “The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri.

The inside of any Hollywood awards show is a strange, starry place. Actors are typically seated at tables with their producers, directors and co-stars from the nominated film or series.

People are encouraged to remain seated, apart from designated periods throughout the show, when the room breaks out into a frenzy as celebrities rush to find friends or fellow stars they profess to be fans of, trying to get in conversations before the three-minute window closes. (Netflix’s broadcast had no commercial breaks, but did build in time for impromptu schmoozing.)

Early in the night, Anne Hathaway and Emma Stone found their way to one another and were soon joined by Carey Mulligan, who ran to an empty seat between the pair and embraced Stone. (Hathaway — along with Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt — combined for an early highlight of the show, gathering onstage for a highly anticipated reunion of “The Devil Wears Prada” castmates.)

At a nearby table, director Alexander Payne poured a glass of Champagne for “The Holdovers” star Dominic Sessa, who turned 21 in October, while “American Fiction” actor Jon Ortiz was temporarily stuck outside the show after picking up two drinks for his table.

“Miss!” exclaimed Brendan Fraser across a sea of people as he sought the attention of a waiter before giving her cash pulled from his pocket. “This is for you.”

While many of the main award categories heading into the Oscars seem to be all but a sure thing, a few are still up in the air, one of them being best actress.

Although Stone has collected several accolades this season, Lily Gladstone took home the best film performance by a female actor award for her performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

As Gladstone rushed back to her table following her emotional speech, she was embraced by her co-stars as they wiped away tears. Not long after, “The Crown” star Elizabeth Debicki, who won an award earlier in the night, rushed to Gladstone asking for a photo.

Krysta Fauria, The Associated Press