Hollywood's final round of awards ceremonies before the Oscars took place over the weekend, and they were almost totally dominated by American Beauty. The DreamWorks film now looks set for a sweep at the Academy Awards on March 26.

The film's British director Sam Mendes continued his winning streak, taking top honours at the Directors Guild Of America (DGA) Awards on Saturday. Mendes, who also won the Golden Globe, is now the clear frontrunner to win the Oscar.

And at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards last night, Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening won the actor and actress awards for the film, indicating that the tide of favour it is generating could extend into the Oscar acting categories. Spacey beat out hot competitors Denzel Washington (The Hurricane) and Russell Crowe (The Insider) while Bening, who has scarcely won any award in the run-up to the Oscars, beat out Hilary Swank, the favorite for Boys Don't Cry.

The American Beauty cast also won the ensemble acting award, beating other high profile casts in Magnolia, Being John Malkovich and The Cider House Rules.

Michael Caine won the supporting actor award for The Cider House Rules, beating Tom Cruise in Magnolia, Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense and Chris Cooper, the only SAG nominee for American Beauty who failed to win an award. Angelina Jolie, who won the Golden Globe in January, was named best supporting actress for Girl, Interrupted.

Mendes beat Frank Darabont (The Green Mile), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Michael Mann (The Insider) and M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) to the DGA prize which has a great tradition of predicting the Oscar winner. In 52 years of its existence, it has failed to correspond with the Academy Award winner for Best Director on only four occasions.

SAG has predicted nine out of the ten actors who went on to win Oscars in leading actor categories in the five years that it has existed.

Film Categories
Male Actor: Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
Female Actor: Annette Bening, American Beauty
Supporting Male Actor: Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules
Supporting Female Actor: Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
Ensemble acting: American Beauty

TV Categories
Male actor in a dramatic series: James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
Female actor in a dramatic series: Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Ensemble acting, dramatic series: The Sopranos
Male actor in a comedy series: Michael J Fox, Spin City
Female actor in a comedy series: Lisa Kudrow, Frasier
Male actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Jack Lemmon, Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays With Morrie
Female actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Halle Berry, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Ensemble acting, comedy series: Friends

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sidney Poitier