Screen Actors Guild Predictions

Tonight, the Screen Actors Guild will present their winners for the very best in film and television.  The SAG awards have presented themselves as the most telling precursor of them all.  Last year, they matched up with Oscar 100% in their choices.  This year will be even more telling as the race seems wide open in several categories.  How will the most popular branch fair tomorrow night?

Best Performance by a Cast Ensemble
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”

Prediction: “The Artist”
Alternate: “The Help”
Surprise: “Bridesmaids”
Should Win: “The Help”

Tate Taylor’s “The Help” presented the single best assembly of actresses in years. Not since Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours” have women taken charge of a film and let the men take the backseat significantly. While “The Help” could and should likely win in this category, “The Artist” is the film of the moment and where I don’t think the film can win anywhere else, I think actors don’t want to see it go home empty handed a la “Slumdog Millionaire.” “Bridesmaids” has the same type of things going for it like “The Help” does but when it comes to comedy, actors are a bit more up with the times so to speak. In 1998, they chose “The Full Monty” over favorites “Boogie Nights,” “L.A. Confidential,” “Good Will Hunting,” and Oscar Winner “Titanic.” If the actors are completely in love with “The Descendants,” then we can expect a love fest to happen here but without Shailene Woodley nominated, I’m not getting that vibe.

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir – “A Better Life”
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

In the past, this award has shown some very eye-opening surprises. Johnny Depp beat out Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) and Sean Penn (“Mystic River”) for his work in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” I think this bodes well for Brad Pitt who has not been recognized by his peers yet after receiving a nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Despite “Moneyball” missing in the Ensemble category, I think there are people aching for a Brad Pitt acceptance speech. George Clooney has only won a SAG award as a part of the ensemble of the hit TV show “ER.” They may want to see an acceptance speech from him. If “The Artist” love is deeper than we think, Dujardin can receive a nice boost and win. DiCaprio and Bichir will enjoy from the sidelines.

Predicted: Brad Pitt for “Moneyball”
Alternate: George Clooney for “The Descendants”
Surprise: Jean Dujardin for “The Artist”
Should Win: Jean Dujardin

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

This will tell us if Glenn Close wins the Oscar or not. If she wins at SAG, all other performers are over. Sentiment can go a long way a la James Coburn for “Affliction.” He didn’t win the SAG but the lovefest bounced from here all the way to the Oscar podium. After winning the Globe, Streep will be looking to be taken seriously for the Oscar. She won this award for “Doubt” when Kate Winslet was still being considered Supporting for “The Reader.” I don’t think Streep has what it takes yet. Viola and Michelle will be looking for a jump on the competition from the SAG awards. I still think Viola’s powerful performance and extreme likability factor will pull her through. We shall see. And Tilda…poor Tilda.

Predicted: Viola Davis for “The Help”
Alternate: Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs”
Surprise: Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn”
Should Win: Viola Davis

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Armie Hammer – “J. Edgar”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

Christopher Plummer will and should solidify a likely Oscar win for his work in “Beginners” given he’s awarded the SAG award. Kenneth Branagh and Nick Nolte are the only feasible characters that could outwit Plummer but their films are not as critically acceptable as his. Hammer is in a bad film and Hill is new to this so I don’t expect any upsets from them. Plummer all the way.

Predicted: Christopher Plummer for “Beginners”
Alternate: Kenneth Branagh for “My Week with Marilyn”
Surprise: Nick Nolte for “Warrior”
Should Win: Jonah Hill

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

With the Critics Choice and the Globes going for Spencer, it looks as though she’s the one to topple all her competitors. This is the only lineup that matches 100% with the Oscar nominations so this should be the most telling. Bejo could benefit from a sweep. Chastain could benefit from having a year of a lifetime. McCarthy could benefit from just being hands down the funniest of the bunch. And McTeer…well, McTeer could benefit from showing her breasts. I guess. It’s going to be interesting but I don’t see it as open and shut for Spencer as others do. Eddie Murphy had the same type of momentum and won the SAG but lost Oscar.

Predicted: Octavia Spencer for “The Help”
Alternate: Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids”
Surprise: Jessica Chastain for “The Help”
Should Win: Bérénice Bejo

Television Categories

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“30 Rock”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Glee”
“Modern Family”
“The Office”

“Modern Family” is the best series on television and has won the Emmy two years in a row. It’s also the most consistent series on television currently. “The Office” is hurting without Michael Scott. “30 Rock” is at a series low in ratings. “Glee” came and went. “The Big Bang Theory” is the only show that can hold up to its competition.

Predicted: Modern Family
Alternate: The Big Bang Theory
Surprise: The Office
Should Win: Modern Family

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Dexter”
“Game of Thrones”
“The Good Wife”

HBO is always a safe choice with the actors branch and “Boardwalk Empire” has done exceedingly well in its run thus far. “Dexter” and “Breaking Bad” are losing fans. “Game of Thrones” is gaining fans but I think lacks the popularity as of yet. It will very soon. “The Good Wife” is all about Julianna Marguilles.

Predicted: Boardwalk Empire
Alternate: Game of Thrones
Surprise: Breaking Bad
Should Win: Boardwalk Empire

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin – “30 Rock”
Ty Burrell – “Modern Family”
Steve Carell – “The Office”
Jon Cryer – “Two and a Half Men”
Eric Stonestreet – “Modern Family”

Where the “Modern Family” guys would make fabulous choices, I think Steve Carell’s work in his final season of “The Office” could land him a long overdue award from his peers. They missed the boat a few times especially in film (“Little Miss Sunshine”). Alec Baldwin is very popular with his actors but his current news headlines leave him out. Cryer is happy to just still be on television.

Predicted: Steve Carell for “The Office”
Alternate: Ty Burrell for “Modern Family”
Surprise: Eric Stonestreet for “Modern Family”
Should Win: Ty Burrell

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen – “Modern Family”
Edie Falco – “Nurse Jackie”
Tina Fey – “30 Rock”
Sofia Vergara – “Modern Family”
Betty White – “Hot in Cleveland”

Betty White won this award last year and now at 90 years old, she may be going for another award. The “Modern Family” girls could easily walk on through for a victory so watch out there. The bus for Tina Fey and Edie Falco has come and gone for this award.

Prediction: Betty White for “Hot in Cleveland”
Alternate: Sofia Vergara for “Modern Family”
Surprise: Julie Bowen for “Modern Family”
Should Win: Sofia Vergara

Outstanding Performance a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Patrick J. Adams – “Suits”
Steve Buscemi – “Boardwalk Empire”
Kyle Chandler – “Friday Night Lights”
Bryan Cranston – “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall – “Dexter”

Buscemi vs. Chandler. The old vs. the new or new vs. the old. Whatever. I think the ending of “Friday Night Lights” could be enough to push Chandler through but Buscemi is beloved by all his peers.

Prediction: Steve Buscemi for “Boardwalk Empire”
Alternate: Kyle Chandler for “Friday Night LIghts”
Surprise: Bryan Cranston for “Breaking Bad”
Should Win: Steve Buscemi

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates – “Harry’s Law”
Glenn Close – “Damages”
Jessica Lange – “American Horror Story”
Julianna Marguilles – “The Good Wife”
Kyra Sedgwick – “The Closer”

Where Glenn Close could lose for “Albert Nobbs” they may reward her here for the sake of it. Jessica Lange is the best thing on television right now for her work on “American Horror Story.” Marguilles is a favorite for this award so she could take it again.

Predicted: Glenn Close for “Damages”
Alternate: Jessica Lange for “American Horror Story”
Surprise: Julianne Marguilles for “The Good Wife”
Should Win: Jessica Lange

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Laurence Fishburne for Thurgood
Paul Giamatti for Too Big to Fail
Greg Kinnear for The Kennedys
Guy Pearce for Mildred Pierce
James Woods for Too Big to Fail

Predicted: Laurence Fishburne for Thurgood
Alternate: Paul Giamatti for Too Big to Fail
Surprise: Guy Pearce

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Diane Lane for Cinema Verite
Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Emily Watson for Appropriate Adult
Betty White for The Lost Valentine
Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce

Prediction: Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce
Alternate Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Surprise: Diane Lane