OSCARS: First SAG Predictions and Tapping into the Acting Branch and TV Voting Bloc

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As we move into mid-October, the awards season is beginning to take shape, in the sense that we are getting our first reactions to some of the year’s most anticipated films.  This week, the New York Film Festival will wrap up with Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” from Amazon Studios.  Aside from Allen in an Original Screenplay, Director, and Picture race, the early word is that we need to begin to pencil in Academy Award winner Kate Winslet for one of the highly sought-after Best Actress spots.

A few weeks back, the first guesses were revealed for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards.  Since we continue to predict not just the Oscars but the narrative of the season, it seems like a good time to venture off some guesses for the coveted Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Here are five things you really need to know before venturing off into the predictions:

  • New and smaller studios (NEON, Entertainment Studios, Annapurna Pictures, Music Box Films, Bleecker Street) are determined to get their contenders and talents in front of the right voters.  Their strategies remain to focus on the large branches like the actors, while even making their marks with the younger, international new members.
  • Based on when voting for the SAG Awards occurs, there’s potential for some of the later year films to not be seen in time for voters.  As we’ve seen with past misses like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Selma,” this will be a daunting question hovering around the nominations.
  • SAG Loves Kids.  Should be a slogan for their guild as they are always open to nominating the new and impressive talent in films as seen with Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Whale Rider”), Freddie Highmore (“Finding Neverland”), and Jacob Tremblay (“Room”).  This year, the only “kid” seemingly in contention is Brooklynn Prince for “The Florida Project” but depending on how you view Timothee Chalamet (though he’s 21), you may have another.  It’ll be interesting to see how the group responds to “Wonderstruck,” giving a boost for Millicent Simmonds.
  • SAG Will Do What They Want to Do.  The group can be relentless in trying to get a career-type recognition or give its due to someone who had a big year, despite their choice being less than popular.  Look at past nominees like James Garner (“The Notebook”), Naomi Watts (“St. Vincent”), and James Gandolfini (“Enough Said”).  This bodes well for someone like Jason Clarke (in both “Mudbound” and “Chappaquiddick”), Nicole Kidman (in “The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), and even Woody Harrelson (in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and “The Glass Castle“).
  • SAG Loves Diversity and Women. The group can give boosts to “Hidden Figures,” “Beasts of No Nation,” “Bridesmaids,” “Hairspray,” “Hustle & Flow,” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  They can rally behind something that they truly love and needs an added boost.  Will it have an effect on the Academy, perhaps not but the last film to get a SAG Ensemble nomination and not get a single Oscar nomination was “The Butler” in 2013.  In the end, SAG Ensemble still matters.

Check out the SAG Predictions down below, along with the updated Oscar Predictions.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CAST ENSEMBLE

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
    (Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges)
  2. Darkest Hour” (FOCUS FEATURES)
    (Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, Lily James, Samuel West, Jordan Waller, Hannah Steele)
  3. Dunkirk” (WARNER BROS.)
    (Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy)
  4. The Florida Project” (A24)
    (Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones, Macon Blair, Karren Karagulian, Sandy Kane)
  5. Mudbound” (NETFLIX)
    (Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan)
  6. Get Out” (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
    (Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery)
  7. The Post” (20th Century Fox)
    (Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bruce Greenwood, Alison Brie, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Zach Woods, Carrie Coon, Bradley Whitford, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys)
  8. Detroit” (ANNAPURNA PICTURES)
    (John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben O’Toole, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie)
  9. Call Me By Your Name” (SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)
    (Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel)
  10. The Beguiled” (FOCUS FEATURES)
    (Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard)

COMMENTARY: The long-standing statistic that a film hasn’t won Best Picture without a SAG Ensemble nomination since “Braveheart,” during the awards first ever show, is still here.  “La La Land’s” lost last year proved that the actor’s branch still has a multitude of power.  Acknowledging the film’s fourteen nominations, the film is probably one of the closest times we’ve come to the stat being disintegrated.  This year, there are a variety of ways that the guild could go.  Will they see all the players in time (i.e. “The Post” and “Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project”), leaving some off for us to wonder why (i.e. Christoph Waltz and “Django Unchained”)?  Will they pull a 2007 where it really doesn’t matter what’s nominated because “No Country for Old Men” is winning anyway?  Anyway you see it, this always becomes the tipping point for a film declaring its place in an awards race.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  1. Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  2. Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
  3. Jake Gyllenhaal, “Stronger” (LIONSGATE)
  4. Steve Carell, “Last Flag Flying” (AMAZON STUDIOS)
  5. Andrew Garfield, “Breathe” (BLEECKER STREET)
  6. Tom Hanks, “The Post” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
  7. Daniel Day-Lewis, “Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  8. Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name” (SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)
  9. James Franco, “The Disaster Artist” (A24)
  10. Jason Clarke, “Chappaquiddick” (ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS)

COMMENTARY: Last year stopped a 13-year streak for Oscar’s Best Actor winner being crowned at the SAG Awards when Denzel Washington (“Fences”) topped eventual winner Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”).  Some will credit the never awarded Washington getting his SAG due when Oscar’s already made up their minds.  Since Telluride, this is the one category all credible pundits seems confident in looking as Gary Oldman’s to lose.  As we learn every year, don’t ever declare a race over until it’s over.  The still unseen likes of Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, and/or Daniel Day-Lewis can shake things up considerably.  With a high amount of TV voters in the SAG community, that can benefit someone like Steve Carell as well.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  1. Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya” (NEON)
  2. Meryl Streep, “The Post” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
  3. Kate Winslet, “Wonder Wheel” (AMAZON STUDIOS)
  4. Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  5. Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  6. Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  7. Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game” (STX ENTERTAINMENT)
  8. Judi Dench, “Victoria and Abdul” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  9. Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird” (A24)
  10. Cynthia Nixon, “A Quiet Passion” (MUSIC BOX FILMS)

COMMENTARY: The Best Actress race is one of the hottest in years, featuring a plethora of talent and from frontrunning films no less.  As seen in any big year where the competition is heavy, someone big always misses out.  We saw this last year with Amy Adams missing our for “Arrival” and we’ve seen it play out in other categories (i.e. the snubs of Paul Giamatti, Nicole Kidman, Dennis Quaid).  Someone is bound to miss and it’ll be one that we are not expecting.  Keep an eye on Frances McDormand and/or Sally Hawkins to fill those spots.  The TV voting bloc can also give a boost to Cynthia Nixon, who will get a focused SAG campaign, which has helped contenders like Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”) and Sarah Silverman (“I Smile Back”), despite her eventual miss.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  1. Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project” (A24)
  2. Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  3. Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name” (SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)
  4. Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk” (WARNER BROS.)
  5. Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying” (AMAZON STUDIOS)
  6. Michael Shannon, “The Shape of Water” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  7. Ben Mendelsohn, “Darkest Hour” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  8. Jason Mitchell, “Mudbound” (NETFLIX)
  9. Kevin Spacey, “All the Money in the World” (SONY PICTURES)
  10. Patrick Stewart, “Logan” (20TH CENTURY FOX)

COMMENTARY: This race has the potential to become another 2015, where we have different names popping up along the way, resulting in a crossover of only about two or three names.  For the moment, Willem Dafoe seems on solid ground, though he could easily go the way of Tom Hanks (“Saving Mr. Banks”) and be the contender that never-was.  Bryan Cranston can pop in for the ride of Steve Carell for his scene-chewing work in “Last Flag Flying” while other TV people can rally around Kevin Spacey’s work in “All the Money in the World,” if it’s seen in time and the quality is intact.  Believe it or not, I’d also watch out for Patrick Stewart is pull in for a James Garner-“Notebook”-type mention for SAG.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  1. Melissa Leo, “Novitiate” (SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)
  2. Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” (NEON)
  3. Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  4. Hong Chau, “Downsizing” (PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
  5. Claire Foy, “Breathe” (BLEECKER STREET)
  6. Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water” (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  7. Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” (A24)
  8. Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound” (NETFLIX)
  9. Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick” (AMAZON STUDIOS)
  10. Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger” (LIONSGATE)

COMMENTARY: As the Lead Actress remains highly competitive, the Supporting Actress race seems prime to be one of those years where the same five names pop up at every award show.  It just depends on what five you are predicting at the moment.  Can the TV bloc push through Allison Janney, Claire Foy, Tatiana Maslany, and Laurie Metcalf?  Can the pocket for diversity and inclusion go for Hong Chau, Octavia Spencer, and Mary J. Blige?  Or will the traditionalist just rally behind Kristin Scott Thomas, Melissa Leo, and Holly Hunter?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE

  1. Wonder Woman” (WARNER BROS.)
  2. Blade Runner 2049” (WARNER BROS.)
  3. Spider-Man: Homecoming” (MARVEL)
  4. Dunkirk” (WARNER BROS.)
  5. Atomic Blonde” (FOCUS FEATURES)
  6. The Greatest Showman” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
  7. War for the Planet of the Apes” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (MARVEL)
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (WALT DISNEY PICTURES)
  10. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (SONY PICTURES)

Share your thoughts and your SAG predictions in the comments below!

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MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
| FOREIGN LANGUAGE |

  • Don’t really see Dunkirk as a SAG ensemble player. Strikes me it as a Gravity type contender. Will probably get a Stunt nom instead.

  • Considering the cast size with “performers”, I would think Greatest Showman might be in contention over smaller cast films.