A first crack at SAG predictions

SAG Awards 600x288
Ahoy folks. I’ve been tackling Academy Award and Golden Globe predictions for a while now, as you all know, 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 for 2015 as I attempt to decode what the Screen Actors Guild might do (with today also Black Friday, as we all do shopping, voters in various precursors are watching screeners). 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 going overboard on some films like Joy 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 isn’t nearly as packed as in prior year, so make of that what you will. Last year, SAG went four out of five (nominating Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Keaton, and Eddie Redmayne…Gyllenhaal was swapped out for Bradley Cooper in Oscar’s lineup). Redmayne won here on his road to the Academy Award win, so that’s worth noting as well. At this point, it’s wide open for the win folks…

Michael Caine – Youth
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Alternates: Johnny Depp (Black Mass) and Will Smith (Concussion)

Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio

With Best Actress, we’re going to have to look to see which direction voters go, though in year’s past they haven’t been too much help. Last time around SAG went four out of five with Oscar (only having to sub out Jennifer Aniston for Marion Cotillard, as Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, and Reese Witherspoon all made the cut), so I’d expect a close relationship between the two awards once again. Still, it’s going to be hard for them to resist the younger ladies here here.

Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Lily Tomlin – Grandma

Alternates: Blythe Danner (I’ll See You in My Dreams) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Supporting Actor isn’t the slam dunk it was last year, so it won’t be resting on SAG to pull a shocker here, which I like. As usual, we’ll probably see a bit of variety between this Guild and the Academy. (though last year was a perfect match, as Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, and J.K. Simmons all transitioned from this precursor to Oscar). We don’t know the winner this year, so it’s more than just a matter of who joins him this time around…

Benicio del Toro – Sicario
Michael Keaton – Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Alternates: Tom Hardy (The Revenant) and Harvey Keitel (Youth)

Prediction: Mark Ruffalo

In the Best Supporting Actress field, we have a fairly weak field, which is unfortunately often the case. Last year, SAG and Oscar matched up four out of five (Naomi Watts was replaced by Laura Dern, joining Patricia Arquette, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, and Meryl Streep), which could happen again, considering the dearth of contenders overall. Time will tell, I suppose…

Jane Fonda – Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Alternates: Joan Allen (Room) and Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy)

Prediction: Jennifer Jason Leigh

The big one here 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 five future Best Picture nominees in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything, which is a perfect score when looking at SAG to Oscar. In narrowing down the contenders to just five here, I wanted to look at who seems most likely for Best Picture, along with the types of performances that fellow actors gravitate towards. Here’s what I ended up with when all was said and done…

The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
The Martian
Steve Jobs

Alternates: Joy and Room

Prediction: Spotlight

As a bonus (like last year), here’s how I see the Stunt Ensemble category shaping up…

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
The Revenant

Alternates: Mission: Furious 7 and Spectre

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Stay tuned for updated SAG predictions a bit 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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