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2018 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Preview and Predictions

The 24th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards are this Sunday, January 21st and here are my winner predictions in Film and Television. Between late screeners, coded screeners and DVD vs online-only, winning a SAG award, especially for film, can be tougher than you think. Studios pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get screeners out to the approximately 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA. The exorbitant cost has been prohibitive for some studios recently and utilizing online-only streaming links has become somewhat of a new trend. But is it enough for a win? SAG voters love showing their stacks of screeners on Instagram and other social media, showing how much they appreciate them and they do represent a physical version that can’t really be replicated. Plus, how many of those 160K actually vote? I’ve heard everything from ‘I haven’t seen anything’ to ‘I’m too busy.’

For the full list of nominees in Film go here and for Television go here.

My predictions:

FILM

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
James Franco, THE DISASTER ARTIST
Daniel Kaluuya, GET OUT
Gary Oldman, DARKEST HOUR
Denzel Washington, ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.

I’m not going to pretend that Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman hasn’t had this, and every award, in the bag since last March. He should take this easily. Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) may give a bit of chase but not enough. I predicted a Chalamet upset at the Globes, I won’t make that mistake again.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Judi Dench, VICTORIA AND ABDUL
Sally Hawkins, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Frances McDormand, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Margot Robbie, I, TONYA
Saoirse Ronan, LADY BIRD

No woman has ever won two Female Actor in a Leading Role trophies since the SAG Awards’ inception 24 years ago. Frances McDormand won in 1995 for Fargo, the second year of the awards. Can her tough-as-nails Mildred from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri break that stat once and for all? I’m so torn between McDormand doing that and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) taking it. Both films were clearly loved by the SAG nominating committee. Although I think it benefits McDormand that her win was so far back, I think there is a better chance for Ronan, or even Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) or Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). I will have a hard time predicting McDormand here. We have already seen so much evidence of SAG unwilling to give someone not named Daniel Day-Lewis multiple lead wins. Meryl Streep lost for an Oscar-winning performance because she won three years prior. Denzel Washington beat the overwhelming critical, Globe, BAFTA and eventual Oscar winner. Career wins happen at SAG all the time, mostly due to how young the awards body is. Robert Duvall won for A Civil Action. Christopher Walken won for Catch Me If You Can. Gloria Stuart won (tied) for Titanic. None of those translated to Oscar wins. It’s weird when people things like ‘voters don’t vote that way’ when they do. If McDormand was entering Sunday having never won a SAG I’d be more inclined to predict her.

I, Tonya is blowing up and clearly had good SAG visibility. If it had somehow gotten into Cast the way that Dallas Buyers Club and Theory of Everything did then I’d call it for Robbie. I feel like Ronan (of the trio of Ronan/Robbie/Hawkins) makes the most sense and might be the best place to reward the film and therefore I’m going with her. She’d be the 2nd youngest winner ever in this category (after Jennifer Lawrence by just a few months) but the last two winners here were under 30 so it might be something of a trend.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Steve Carell, BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Willem Dafoe, THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Woody Harrelson, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Richard Jenkins, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sam Rockwell, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Sam Rockwell is on a roll with wins at the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe awards but this is the first real test of his strength and if he can knock critics’ favorite and four-time SAG nominee Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) out of contention. Rockwell is nominated against his co-star Woody Harrelson. This is Rockwell’s first individual, 3rd as a cast member and Harrelson’s 5th as an individual and 2nd as a cast member. Only four times has a film earned two Supporting Actor nominations here and only once has one of them won; Javier Bardem, who also then won the Oscar. He was nominated against Tommy Lee Jones here (not Oscar-nominated) and No Country for Old Men won the SAG Cast and Oscar’s Best Picture. Interestingly, Woody Harrelson is a SAG winner as part of that cast.  Here are the other examples:

Crash – Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon. Neither win, only Dillon is Oscar-nominated but loses. Wins SAG Cast, Best Picture Oscar.

The Contender – Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman. Neither win, only Bridges is Oscar-nominated but loses.

The Birdcage – Hank Azaria, Nathan Lane. Neither win, neither are Oscar-nominated. Wins SAG Cast.

This is a really tough call. My heart says Dafoe, but my head says Rockwell. Rockwell it is.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Mary J. Blige, MUDBOUND
Hong Chau, DOWNSIZING
Holly Hunter, THE BIG SICK
Allison Janney, I, TONYA
Laurie Metcalf, LADY BIRD

Allison Janney vs Laurie Metcalf. Janney is a 5-time SAG nominee for Film and a two-time winner (as part of the casts of American Beauty and The Help) and for Television she’s a 4-time winner and 11-time nominee for The West Wing. It’s hard to deny that the Screen Actors Guild LOVES her. For Metcalf, the height of television career on Roseanne peaked before the SAG awards. She currently has three nominations, including her two this year. Janney has to be considered the favorite to win and she’s my pick.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

THE BIG SICK
GET OUT
LADY BIRD
MUDBOUND
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri seems to have the momentum to win this. It also has the most nominations of any film, with four.

Four films have been nominated for four SAG awards and went home empty-handed: The English Patient, Brokeback Mountain, Into the Wild and Manchester by the Sea. At the Oscars, The English Patient went on to win Best Picture and Supporting Actress, Brokeback Mountain didn’t win Best Picture or an acting award and Manchester by the Sea won Best Actor.

Two films have been nominated for four SAG awards and only won Cast: Sideways and Birdman. Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar, Sideways did not.

Only three films have won three SAG awards: American Beauty, Chicago and The Help. All three won Cast and Female Actor in a Leading Role; AB won Male Actor; Chicago and The Help won Female Actor in a Supporting Role. All three films lost their Best Actress bids at the Oscars. Those three films were also all huge box office hits. This year, only two films can contend for three awards: Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Lady Bird has three nominations, Three Billboards has four. But, since two of 3B’s are in the same category it can only win three max. The exception, neither film is a smash hit in the way AB, The Help and Chicago were. But Get Out is…

So what is the most likely scenario? That 3B wins three? Cast and Actress? Actress and Supporting Actor? There’s a case to be made for nearly every film here, even Mudbound (although it’s probably the least likely. I don’t see 3B pulling off three wins and I think SAG might spread the wealth a bit, I’m going with Get Out.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

BABY DRIVER
DUNKIRK
LOGAN
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
WONDER WOMAN

Baby Driver is an action packed film but will voters equate car stunts with stunt work? Logan and especially Wonder Woman could be very viable contenders here. War for the Planet of the Apes might be seen as more CGI-driven in its action. Dunkirk is the only likely Best Picture nominee and the sheer volume of stunts for the film, with principals and extras should push it over the top for a win. It might help that two of Christopher Nolan’s films (The Dark Knight and Inception) have previously won this award.

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul 

I’m looking to Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) to repeat and collect his first SAG for this role after winning the Emmy and Golden Globe for it.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards 

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) should be able to continue to Emmy and Golden Globe streak here. She’s won SAG once as a cast member of Mad Men but this would be her first individual win.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW 

Anthony Anderson (black-ish) seems like a good bet for his first win on his second nomination here. But look out for Sean Hayes.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

This award has gone to Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) or Julia-Louis Dreyfus (Veep) for nearly half a decade. SAG may want to find some new blood in Alison Brie for GLOW.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies 

Can Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies) translate his Supporting Actor wins at the Emmys and Globes to a lead win at SAG? I’m betting he can.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud
Susan Sarandon, Feud
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies 

Like Moss, Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies) should be able to win here handily, making it her first SAG win ever after 10 nominations.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us 

Stranger Things was the big thing last year and won here. This is a category that over the last decade has only seen three other shows win, none of which are on the air anymore. Stranger Things will probably be back for another round and hopefully some more raucous speeching from David Harbour and confused looks from Winona Ryder.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

black-ish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
Orange Is The New Black
Veep

Orange is the New Black has dominated this award for anything if not the huge cast. I think freshman series GLOW, with another nearly all-female cast, will triumph.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

Game of Thrones
GLOW
Homeland
Stranger Things
The Walking Dead 

Game of Thrones. Anything else would be a pretty big shock since the show has won this six years in a row.

About Erik Anderson

Erik blames his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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