A look at Screen Actors Guild predictions

I’ve been tackling Academy Award and Golden Globe predictions for a substantial portion of the year now, but there are of course other awards and/or precursors worth mentioning. Over the rest of the season, I’ll be trying to figure those out too, with today marking the starting point as I attempt to decode what the Screen Actors Guild might do. SAG is one of the most important precursors, mainly because it shows off what the acting branch of the Academy might be thinking. This year, with such a wide open race in almost all categories, you have to imagine that SAG will be one of the biggest guild announcements of the year.

Below you’ll see my predictions in all of the SAG categories, but keep in mind that it’s early and they’re completely subject to change. For example, I’ve hung back on some films like Selma while going out on a few limbs that make more sense now than they likely will during crunch time. In any event…here you go:

Best Actor is so packed this year, whomever is snubbed in this category could find their chances crippled. Last year, SAG went three out of five (nominating Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, and Forest Whitaker…Hanks and Whitaker were swapped out for Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio in Oscar’s lineup), so they clearly help. McConaughey won here on his road to the Academy Award win, so that’s worth noting as well. At this point, it’s wide open…

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Prediction: Michael Keaton

With Best Actress, we’re going to have to look to see which direction voters go, though last year won’t provide any help. Last time around SAG went four out of five with Oscar (only having to sub out Emma Thompson for Amy Adams, as Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, and Meryl Streep all made the cut), so I’d expect a close relationship between the two awards. Still, it’s going to be hard for them to resist the veteran here.

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Shailene Woodley – The Fault in Our Stars

Prediction: Julianne Moore

Best Supporting Actor is a slam dunk this year, so unless SAG pulls a shocker, we know who’s winning. Much like last year, there’s basically a lock, though like last year we will probably see a variety between this Guild and the Academy. (only Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, and Jared Leto got both, as Daniel Bruhl and James Gandolfini turned into Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill by Oscar time). We know the winner, so it’s just a matter of who joins him.

Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Prediction: J.K. Simmons

In the Best Supporting Actress field, this could be where we find out if the presumed default frontrunner is a true winner in the making or not. Last year there was a four out of five coloration (only Oprah Winfrey missed from the group that included Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, and June Squibb, as she was subbed out for Sally Hawkins). For now, I’ll stick with the season’s conventions, but I’m toying with an upset here further down the road…

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Prediction: Patricia Arquette

The big one is Best Cast Ensemble (their version of Best Picture), as you all know. Sometimes the Guild even votes that way, picking what they want to award as opposed to what fits the term “ensemble” best, but that’s just the name of the game. Last year they cited three future Best Picture nominees in 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Dallas Buyers Club, while going out on limbs for August: Osage County and The Butler that didn’t pan out. In narrowing down the contenders to just five, I wanted to look at who seem most likely for Best Picture, along with the types of performances that fellow actors gravitate towards. Here’s what I ended up with…

The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods

Prediction: Birdman

As a sort of random bonus, here’s how I see the Stunt Ensemble category shaping up…

American Sniper
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Prediction: Fury

Stay tuned for updated SAG predictions later on in the precursor season!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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