BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Christopher Plummer's Oscar chances were bolstered Sunday as the veteran thespian picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Beginners."

"I just can't tell you what fun I've had being a member of the world's second-oldest profession," the Toronto-born screen legend said as he accepted the best supporting actor trophy.

"I mean actors are gregarious and wacky, are they not? And I love them dearly, but when they honour you it's like being lit by the holy grail. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

SAG recipients typically go on to win Academy Awards, an honour Plummer has never claimed, despite a storied, six-decade career.

If Plummer nabs the Oscar, he'll be the oldest actor to do so. At 82, he's two years older than Jessica Tandy was when she won for "Driving Miss Daisy."

Plummer has already won a Golden Globe for his role in "Beginners" as an ailing widower who embraces his homosexuality.

On Sunday, he thanked co-star Ewan McGregor, saying he "makes acting look so impossibly easy" and also lauded director Mike Mills, who based the story on his own father.

Plummer concluded his speech by thanking his "long-suffering wife Elaine who 43 years ago came to my rescue and saved my life."

Many of his competitors at the SAG Awards will also compete against him at the Oscars, including Kenneth Branagh in "My Week With Marilyn"; Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"; and Nick Nolte in "Warrior."

The other supporting actor hopeful at the Oscars is Max von Sydow for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Rounding out the supporting actor category at the SAGs was Armie Hammer for "J. Edgar."

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