SAG Awards Predictions and Preview: Looking Like 2006 All Over Again?

sagOn Saturday, the SAG Awards will take place, handing out awards to actors by actors.  With the Oscar nominations officially out, and stirring up their own set of controversies, it’ll be interesting to see if SAG-AFTRA becomes a barometer for the most coveted award show for Hollywood or a reactionary response to recent dealings and changes within the Academy.

Let’s break down the categories and see where they will land:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

Blanchett Mara SupportWith this category taking on different forms over the past few months, four of the five women nominated at SAG are in the Oscar lineup.  With Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”), who were both nominated in Lead Actress (Drama) at the Golden Globes, they weren’t able to make “the case” for their walk to the stage, which left Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) to bask in all the glory for the category.  However, with the three ladies now alongside each other, Vikander should be able to mirror her Critics Choice win accordingly.  Interesting, if she were to lose, her path to the Oscar stage wouldn’t be afforded too many more opportunities as she is nominated in Lead Actress in BAFTA and in Supporting Actress for “Ex Machina.”  If Harvey Weinstein is looking to make the compelling case for Mara, a SAG win would place her in a position similar to Jean Dujardin in 2011, when he surprisingly overtook George Clooney from “The Descendants” at SAG, and cleared a path for himself to the Oscar stage.  There’s something to be said for Rachel McAdams, who is probably the most “supporting” woman of the five but is in the presumed frontrunner for Cast Ensemble.  As AC writer Sam Coffey pointed out on the recent episode of the Awards Circuit Power Hour podcast, in the twenty one years of SAG, the four acting winners have never gone to four different films that were NOT nominated for SAG Ensemble.  Interesting stat to overcome and if “Spotlight” is showing strength with the acting branch, she can become ride in wave for the film, placing it back on track for a Best Picture win. Big hurdle to overcome admittedly.

WILL WIN: Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl”
COULD WIN: Rooney Mara for “Carol”
SPOILER: Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

idriselba_beastsofnonationAll eyes will be on this race on Saturday night.  With presumed frontrunner Sylvester Stallone from “Creed” not nominated here (and at BAFTA), this gives an opportunity to Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and Christian Bale (“The Big Short”) to make the case for themselves over the next thirty days, as they are the only Oscar holdovers.  What we need to prepare for is an unprecedented crowning of Idris Elba from “Beasts of No Nation.”  In all the years of SAG, they have never awarded a non-Oscar nominee.  With the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trending in all social media fronts, and ballots closing today, it’d be interesting if SAG gives a type of “reactionary” response and award the sole person of color of the acting nominees.  Before Elba was snubbed by the Oscars, he was seen as contending for the prize, so his win wouldn’t be a complete curveball but its something to keep our eye on.  Outside of those three men, I suspect now real leg room for Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”) and Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) to pull off an upset.  So what are we left with?  Is the respected stage actor Mark Rylance going to be able to take back his “frontrunner” ribbon that he held very early on in the precursor season until Stallone started receiving standing ovations at HFPA and BFCA?  Can Christian Bale become a true indicator for strength for “The Big Short” by pulling off one of the most surprising acting wins in recent memory?  And in a preview, I believe there’s a strong chance that he also wins BAFTA as well, which he lost five years ago when he was on his steamroller for “The Fighter.”  Wouldn’t he be one of the strangest two-time Oscar-winners in Supporting Actor in quite some time (Oh, you say Christoph Waltz and/or Jason Robards?  Maybe we’ll come back to that one)?  And then there’s Elba.  Weirdly, an Elba win would seal up the Oscar for Stallone.  At that point, we’d likely see Elba and/or Rylance win BAFTA, leaving little wiggle room for anyone to overtake him.  Unless the noise for Mark Ruffalo gets louder, whose last opportunity is at BAFTA.  It’ll be a photo finish.

WILL WIN: Christian Bale for “The Big Short”
COULD WIN: Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies”
SPOILER: Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

saoirseronan_brooklyn1The entire season has tipped in the favor of the wonderful and beautiful Brie Larson (“Room”), whose performance has been anointed by so many.  Nipping at her heals though is the wonderful and beautiful Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), who may hold the record for the most runner-up prizes for a Lead Actress (am I right?).  If there’s an opportunity for Ronan to show Oscar voters that the “anointed one” doesn’t have to be their default choice a la Eddie Redmayne last year when he won for “The Theory of Everything” over “anointed one” Michael Keaton for “Birdman,” then this her time.  I do believe that those two are much closer than a media hyped runaway but to be honest, whoever wins, we all win.  They’re both spectacular and either one of them would make a fine winner.  I have to give credit to Broad Green Pictures, who focused their “I Smile Back” campaign on the actors and SAG.  It worked out for them here as Sarah Silverman, in a film and performance that’s been virtually invisible all year long, managed a feat, scoring nods over megastar Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”) and veteran Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).  Cate Blanchett has Harvey behind her, and he’s making the case for her to win her third Oscar statue in twelve years.  I can’t say with confidence that he’s pushed the same for Helen Mirren in “Woman in Gold,” an Oscar bullet that all of us dodged.

WILL WIN: Brie Larson for “Room”
COULD WIN: Saoirse Ronan for “Brooklyn”
SPOILER: Cate Blanchett for “Carol”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

TrumboDo we need an entire paragraph for this?  Leonardo DiCaprio has the right film, in the right year, and it’s all coming together for him.  If there is a spoiler, Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), whose film is also a SAG Ensemble nominee, may have residual goodwill from the TV side of SAG and could be pulling in closer than some may think.  I don’t think it’ll matter.  DiCaprio, just enjoy the ride.  Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), and Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”) are also nominated.

WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”
COULD WIN: Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo”
SPOILER: Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CAST ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

the big short 1With only two Best Picture nominees in the lineup, it’s safe to assume this is a race between Open Road’s “Spotlight” and Paramount Pictures’ “The Big Short.”  Ask me a month ago, there was no way that “Spotlight” would lose this award, with or without an Oscar Best Picture win alongside it.  However, with “The Big Short” winning PGA, scoring five big nominations at the Oscars, and just on a winning streak at the moment, it’s hard to see the film picking this up.  And remember that stat thrown out earlier?  It’s lurking back again.  If “Spotlight” is hoping for any chance at securing that Best Picture win, it needs this BIG TIME.  The last film to win PGA and SAG, and lose Oscar was “Little Miss Sunshine,” which didn’t get a Best Director nomination from Oscar that year.  The last film to lose PGA, SAG, and the Globes, and go on to win Best Picture was “The Departed.”  Now, if we look closely, this weirdly mirrors that year.  “The Revenant” has the Globe, “Spotlight” has BFCA, and “The Big Short” has PGA.  In 2006, it went like this:

GLOBES: “Babel”
BFCA: “The Departed”
PGA: “Little Miss Sunshine”
SAG: “Little Miss Sunshine”
DGA: “The Departed”
OSCARS: “The Departed

Another race to look into is 2004, the year “Million Dollar Baby” won big.  

GLOBES: “The Aviator”
BFCA: “Sideways”
PGA: “The Aviator”
SAG: “Sideways”
DGA: “Million Dollar Baby”
OSCARS: “Million Dollar Baby”

Don’t count out “Spotlight” yet in terms of Oscar’s Best Picture prize but I’d also say, don’t count out “The Revenant” either though with no SAG Ensemble nomination, it’s difficult to overcome.  Only two films have won Best Picture without Ensemble: “Forrest Gump” (in a year that the prize didn’t exist) and “Braveheart” (the first year that the awards was given out).  And then there’s the “Mad Max: Fury Road” camp who believe (not foolishly) that the film is on track to win about seven Oscars on the night, including Best Director for George Miller.  This all doesn’t matter when talking about SAG Ensemble, but its worth talking about nonetheless.  How crazy would it be if “Straight Outta Compton” won?  One can dream.  How terrible would it be to see “Trumbo” win?  One can have nightmares.

WILL WIN: “Spotlight”
COULD WIN: “The Big Short”
SPOILER: “Straight Outta Compton”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
COULD WIN: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

TELEVISION CATEGORIES

jonhamm_madmenBEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN DRAMA SERIES

WILL WIN: “Mad Men” (AMC)
COULD WIN: “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
SPOILER: “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES

WILL WIN: “Veep” (HBO)
COULD WIN: “Transparent” (Amazon)
SPOILER: “Modern Family” (ABC)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

WILL WIN: Jon Hamm for “Mad Men”
COULD WIN: Rami Malek for “Mr. Robot”
SPOILER: Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

WILL WIN: Viola Davis for “How to Get Away with Murder”
COULD WIN: Maggie Smith for “Downton Abbey”
SPOILER: Robin Wright for “House of Cards”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINI-SERIES

WILL WIN: Mark Rylance for “Wolf Hall”
COULD WIN: Idris Elba for “Luther”
SPOILER: Bill Murray for “A Very Murray Christmas”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINI-SERIES

WILL WIN: Queen Latifah for “Bessie”
COULD WIN: Kristen Wiig for “The Spoils Before Dying”
SPOILER: Christina Ricci for “The Lizzie Borden Chronices”

Jeffrey-Tambor-transparentBEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

WILL WIN: Jeffrey Tambor for “Transparent”
COULD WIN: William H. Macy for “Shameless”
SPOILER: Ty Burrell for “Modern Family”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep”
COULD WIN: Amy Poehler for “Parks and Recreation”
SPOILER: Ellie Kemper for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES

WILL WIN: “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
COULD WIN: “Marvel’s Daredevil” (Netflix)
SPOILER: “The Walking Dead” (AMC)

Share and discuss your predictions in the comments below!