What do we know about the Screen Actors Guild when it comes to nominations? First, the group represents about 160,000 actors, radio personalities, even puppeteers. But, the actual nominating committee is only about 2,000 randomly selected active members. They could be from all over, not just LA or NY so you know what that means: screeners are still king. If a part-time day player in Nebraska doesn’t have a screener in hand (or an online link, as things are moving towards) of a December release like Little Women or Bombshell it’s not getting nominated. It’s often why we see SAG-only nominations for actors and casts here year after year.
There is nothing more crucial than being seen at SAG, and sometimes familiarity is an all-important factor. Early releases can do well here so we always look out for those spring and summer performances that struck a chord. Keeping an eye on who gets screeners out first is also a must.
The submission process for the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards (for Motion Picture and Television) begins October 7th and lasts through October 21st. This period will also answer a lot of category placement questions we have about quite a few contenders like Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari (this was the time we found out that Olivia Colman would be going lead for The Favourite – a choice that worked out very well for her come Oscar time). The nomination process doesn’t begin until November 14th (and lasts all the way until December 8th.
Here is my first crack at Screen Actors Guild nomination predictions for Motion Picture.
Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
- Downton Abbey (Focus Features)
- The Irishman (Netflix)
- Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
- Marriage Story (Netflix)
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
With Downton Abbey’s massive SAG success as a television show (both miniseries and drama series) it seems like a no-brainer that it would pop up here. Word is Focus Features is only pushing the period piece for below the line noms at the Oscars but that familiarity thing I mentioned above (plus it being a massive hit in theaters now) could secure it a spot. Will voters see Marriage Story as a two-hander? I’m thinking no, since Laura Dern is prime for a nomination and possible win down the road and Alan Alda as a potential nominee, too. A huge cast of stars like in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is what this category is made for, it’s in. It’s going to be a fight for the other spots with The Irishman a real possibility and TIFF winner Jojo Rabbit, too. But what about the breakout success of Hustlers? Surely Jennifer Lopez is in but will voters look at this group, who aren’t feature much outside of Lopez and Constance Wu, as an ensemble piece?
Spoilers: Bombshell (Lionsgate), Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix), The Farewell (A24), Hustlers (STX Entertainment), Knives Out (Lionsgate), Little Women (Sony), Rocketman (Paramount), Us (Universal)
Female Actor in a Leading Role
- Awkwafina, The Farewell (A24)
- Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (Focus Features)
- Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (Netflix)
- Lupita Nyong’o, Us (Universal)
- Renée Zellweger, Judy (Roadside Attractions)
Awkwafina, Erivo, Johansson and Zellweger all feel good to me. It’s that last spot that’s up for grabs (same will go for Oscar). At risk are Ronan and Theron with their late December releases that haven’t even hit a festival (yet, there’s still AFI). Unless Sony and Lionsgate flood the nom comm with early screeners, that opens the door for Nyong’o to get a head start from her March blockbuster Us.
Spoilers: Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts (Amazon); Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (Sony); Charlize Theron, Bombshell (Lionsgate)
Male Actor in a Leading Role
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
- Adam Driver, Marriage Story (Netflix)
- Taron Egerton, Rocketman (Paramount)
- Eddie Murphy, Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)
- Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (Warner Bros)
This might be the toughest category of the bunch. I can see two of my SAG predictions not making the Oscar cut and instead come from the spoiler section. I feel good about DiCaprio, Driver and Phoenix. Egerton feels like a SAG/Golden Globe/BAFTA nominee who misses in the end. Murphy has a great comeback narrative in place but then, there seems to be a lot of those this season, and better ones. A top five without Banderas, De Niro and/or Pryce feels wrong, but here we are.
Spoilers: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (Sony Classics); Robert De Niro, The Irishman (Netflix); Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy (Warner Bros); Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (Netflix)
Female Actor in a Supporting Role
- Laura Dern, Marriage Story (Netflix)
- Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
- Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (STX Entertainment)
- Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
- Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (Focus Features)
If all goes at it looks like it could, Scarlett Johansson could end up being nominated for four SAG awards come December. Starring in two films with very good chances at a Cast nom (Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit) and two individual nods (in lead for Marriage Story, supporting for Jojo). Maggie Smith, like Downton Abbey when it was a television show, has proved to be a SAG favorite in the past. She has five nominations and one win for playing the Dowager Countess and logic should say she’ll get one for the film, too. Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez and Margot Robbie all seem like safe bets too so, is this our Oscar 5? Probably not. I think The Farewell‘s Shuzhen Zhao will make it in but non-English language performances have a tough time at SAG. That said, if she makes it in here it’s a done deal, she’ll be Oscar-nominated.
Spoilers: Shuzhen Zhao, The Farewell (A24); Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight); Meryl Streep, The Laundromat (Netflix)
Male Actor in a Supporting Role
- Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
- Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
- Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/TriStar)
- Al Pacino, The Irishman (Netflix)
- Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
There are potentially three performances that could (should?) be in lead but are most likely going to end up here in supporting. Christian Bale and Brad Pitt are really the co-leads of their films (although category placement is not set yet) and Tom Hanks, while definitely a supporting role, could easily be pushed lead as many campaigns have done in the past (see: Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs). Speaking of Hopkins, he’s a contender here as well, for a co-lead performance. How wild would it be if he ran the season and won the Oscar in supporting for a performance longer than the one that won him Best Actor?
Spoilers: Alan Alda, Marriage Story (Netflix); Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (A24); Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (Netflix); Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight); Joe Pesci, The Irishman (Netflix)
Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
- Avengers: Endgame (Disney)
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal)
- The Irishman (Netflix)
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony)
It’s weird that the John Wick movies have never been nominated here, right?
Spoilers: Captain Marvel (Disney), John Wick 3: Parabellum (Summit/Lionsgate), Shazam! (Warner Bros)