Since the Screen Actors Guild began giving out awards in 1995, the Actor for Outstanding Cast of a Motion Picture has been awarded to 25 different films. Across the years, no actor has ever won the award more than twice, to the point where there is currently an 18-way tie for most wins. Every year brings new opportunities for actors to join that tie and, more rarely, the chance to grab the record for themselves. This year, four individuals could join the ranks of those who have won two Actors, while another has an elusive shot at winning a third and becoming the most awarded actor in the category’s history.
Chadwick Boseman: Boseman has been the center of most headlines coming out of the SAG nominations, receiving a record four film nominations in a single year. What’s been left out from most of the stories is that his two Outstanding Cast nominations give him the best shot of anyone to join the club of two-time winners. His performances as Norman Earl Holloway in Da 5 Bloods and Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom earned him two nominations in the top category and were also singled out for Lead and Supporting kudos. Boseman’s first win came just two years ago for Black Panther. If either film wins, he will tie the record for most wins in the category, and he would be the first person to win the award posthumously.
Clarke Peters: If Da 5 Bloods wins, one of Boseman’s castmates, Clarke Peters, will join him in the club of two-time winners. An industry veteran, sporting a 1992 Tony nomination for writing the musical Five Guys Named Moe and well-known television roles on The Wire and Treme, Peters is a previous winner in this category for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Of the five, he has the most acting credits on IMDb, and being added to this elite club would be a fine addition to his illustrious career.
Viola Davis: From one of Chadwick Boseman’s costars to another, Viola Davis is the member of this group with the most previous nominations. As the titular character of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis is on her fourth nomination in the category, following Doubt, The Help, and Fences. She has received individual nominations for her work on all four occasions, winning for both The Help and Fences. However, her only win in the top category came for her work in The Help.
Aldis Hodge: Moving on to our fourth candidate and third film, Aldis Hodge has two previous nominations as real-life figures: MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton, and Levi Jackson (husband to Janelle Monáe’s Mary Jackson) in Hidden Figures. He keeps up the tradition this year, portraying legendary football player Jim Brown in One Night in Miami. Notably, his film is directed by former SAG nominee Regina King, who was nominated for her role in the ensemble of 2005’s Ray. The most recent ensemble directed by a former nominee is 2016’s Fences, directed by American Gangster (and Fences) nominee Denzel Washington.
Michael Keaton: The only two-time winner in the hunt this year, Keaton has a chance to become the most awarded actor in the Outstanding Cast category. A previous winner for Birdman and Spotlight, his role in The Trial of the Chicago 7 makes him a serious contender to become the first person to win this category three times. Keaton was also previously singled out for Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Birdman, but lost to Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. A win for Keaton’s ensemble this year would be a win for both of them, as Redmayne is the top billed actor in the film.
Of the five nominated ensembles this year, Minari is the only Outstanding Cast nominee that wouldn’t result in at least one repeat winner. In fact, all seven members of the nominated ensemble are first-time nominees. Solo nominees Steven Yeun and Youn Yuh-Jung have both been favorites of critics groups this season, but both missed out on Golden Globe nominations. Their film’s strong showing at the SAGs (tying for most nominations) could be a good sign of things to come. The last film to win the award with an entire cast of first-time nominees was just last year, when Parasite took home the big prize.
No matter what happens on April 4, the history of the SAG Awards spreading the wealth provides no easy answers to which film will win. Whether they award an entire cast of first-time nominees, award their first posthumous award, or make Michael Keaton the undisputed champion of ensemble casts, it’s very likely that this year’s ceremony will be making history.