SAG statues appear on the red carpet at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Los Angeles - Dark comedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards on Sunday in a ceremony marked by speeches about female empowerment in the face of a sexual misconduct scandal that has swept Hollywood.

Frances McDormand was named best actress for playing an angry mother in the Fox Searchlight film and Britain's Gary Oldman won best actor for playing wartime leader Winston Churchill in Focus Features "Darkest Hour."

The SAG ceremony took place after two days of marches by hundreds of thousands of women throughout the United States, and host Kristen Bell said women were having a "watershed moment."

"Let's make sure we lead the charge with empathy and diligence because fear and anger never win the race," said Bell, star of television's "The Good Place."

Allison Janney won for her supporting actress role as a demanding mother in independent ice-skating movie "I, Tonya." Sam Rockwell was named best supporting actor for his performance as a dim-witted police officer in "Three Billboards."

The SAG awards are indicators of likely Oscar success in March because actors form the largest group of voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.