We have the Critics Choice and Golden Globe nominations now. The Screen Actors Guild (tomorrow) and BAFTA (January 7) will give us the third and fourth puzzle pieces in the Oscar race as it relates to the four acting categories and the race for Best Picture.
As we all know with SAG, the nominating committee is a randomly chosen selection of about 2000 SAG-AFTRA voters among 160,000 members. They can be from all over the globe, but a generous portion is going to be LA-based. For this nom comm, visibility is key and why screeners are still such an important part of the game. Late-breaking films can often suffer by not getting screeners out to voters during the voting period (November 14 to December 8 this year). For those LA-based voters, studios can throw them star-studded screenings and Q&As like Sony did during AFI FEST for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. They brought out the big guns including Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt to wonder an audience that included about 120 SAG nom comm members. Voters rarely ‘vote blind’ for a film or performance they haven’t seen yet so it’s often why you’ll see some pretty big snubs here every year. Snubs may not be the right word as that implies something that’s been willingly dismissed. The truth is, if the SAG nom comm hasn’t seen your movie, for whatever reason (lack of screener, lack of interest), then you’re not getting nominated.
So what this year look like? How solid are some and how shaky are others? Last year we saw Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) miss out on a Supporting Actress nomination and then go on to win the Oscar anyway. Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) was nominated and won, and then ended up being snubbed for an Oscar nomination. Now that is an extreme example of what can happen but it also highlights how SAG can either help shape the race or go wildly off track.
In the top award, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, we’ve seen the last few years deviate from the norm. The Shape of Water and Green Book both earned individual nominations but missed out on the big one but went on to win Oscar’s Best Picture anyway. That never used to happen but now could almost be a trend. What’s the most susceptible to that this year? I think there’s a possibility that Marriage Story can receive three, and maybe even four, individual nominations and miss out on the big one. It would be wild but we’ve got some major films battling for one of those five slots and big casts, diverse casts, and money makers are often what fill it out. That means films like Dolemite Is My Name, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Hustlers, Joker and The Irishman angling for a spot. Downton Abbey has been a SAG monster as a television show, but will it translate to film? I’m most curious about Joker here. There is a very, very good chance it gets in. If it does (and say, at the expense of Marriage Story) that puts Joaquin Phoenix ahead of Adam Driver in the Best Actor race in a big way.
Sometimes category placements get screwed up or get placed in a category that ends up conflicting with the Academy’s choices later on. Think Kate Winslet in The Reader, Benicio del Toro in Traffic or Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind. That ended up working out really well for them when all was said and done but this year, someone slotted Kathy Bates in lead for Richard Jewell (she earned a Golden Globe nomination in supporting this week), and in a tough Lead Actress race that almost eliminates her chances. But…if she somehow makes it in? That immediately pushes her to the front of the line in a race we all think is just Laura Dern (Marriage Story) vs Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers).
The Screen Actors Guild will announce their nominations tomorrow morning, December 11, at 7am PST.
Here are my predictions for the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards for Motion Picture in Cast, Lead and Supporting Actors (with potential spoilers) and Stunt Ensemble.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
- Dolemite Is My Name
- Jojo Rabbit
- Knives Out
- Marriage Story
- Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Spoilers: Downton Abbey, Hustlers, The Irishman, Joker, Little Women
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
- Adam Driver, Marriage Story
- Taron Egerton, Rocketman
- Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
- Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Spoilers: Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari; Robert De Niro, The Irishman; Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
- Awkwafina, The Farewell
- Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
- Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
- Lupita Nyong’o, Us
- Renée Zellweger, Judy
Spoilers: Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell; Saoirse Ronan, Little Women; Charlize Theron, Bombshell; Alfre Woodard, Clemency
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
- Alan Alda, Marriage Story
- Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
- Al Pacino, The Irishman
- Joe Pesci, The Irishman
- Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Spoilers: Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy; Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes; Sam Rockwell, Richard Jewell; Wesley Snipes, Dolemite Is My Name
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
- Laura Dern, Marriage Story
- Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
- Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
- Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Spoilers: Julia Butters, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; Florence Pugh, Little Women; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name; Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
- Avengers: Endgame
- Captain Marvel
- Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
- John Wick 3: Parabellum