So this weekend, the first “guilds” to announce their picks is also the largest branch in the Academy. The Screen Actors Guild, celebrating their second decade of handling out awards this year, is interesting (for the film side at least) as this will solidify the four acting races come the Oscars.
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
12 Years a Slave
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniel’s The Butler
PREDICTION: American Hustle. Sure it underperformed in terms of individual SAG nominations, but this film is peaking at the right time, and all five major cast members have won (and or been nominated) by the guild individually in the past. The film is gaining such momentum, and a large part of the praises it got was for its ensemble.
ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave. But of course never doubt the Oscar frontrunner. Many times in the past, BP frontrunner = SAG Ensemble. Look at the wins of Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, and even last year’s Argo. Sometimes the film is too strong that they pass over the notion of it has the best ensemble or not.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRUCE DERN / Woody Grant – “NEBRASKA” (Paramount Pictures)
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR / Solomon Northup – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
TOM HANKS / Capt. Richard Phillips – “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS” (Columbia Pictures)
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY / Ron Woodroof – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)
FOREST WHITAKER / Cecil Gaines – “LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER” (The Weinstein Company)
PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey. It’s clear by now that the film has overperformed in this guild (getting in that surprise Ensemble nod), and McConaughey seems to be done paying his dues. For such a populist group, this type of career turn around is something they always acknowledge.
ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern. If not that, then they play catch up by rewarding veterans as much as they can. I mean Gloria Stuart in 1998, both Julie Christie and Ruby Dee in 2007. These are a pretty sentimental group, and if it takes them over, I can see them giving a token win to Bruce.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Jasmine – “BLUE JASMINE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
SANDRA BULLOCK / Ryan Stone – “GRAVITY” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JUDI DENCH / Philomena Lee – “PHILOMENA” (The Weinstein Company)
MERYL STREEP / Violet Weston – “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY” (The Weinstein Company)
EMMA THOMPSON / P.L. Travers – “SAVING MR. BANKS” (Walt Disney Pictures)
PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett. Well she’s just gonna steamroll her way now to the win and she’s respected by her peers, so it’s a done deal now. Besides, she hasn’t won in this category yet.
ALTERNATE: Sandra Bullock. Like what I said, this group can really lean to populous at times. Imagine when Johnny Depp won here a decade ago for Pirates of the Caribbean. So if not Cate, then they’d probably go with Sandy. With that said, no one has ever pulled off two wins in this category’s history (not even Meryl), so statistics are not on her side.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
BARKHAD ABDI / Muse – “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS” (Columbia Pictures)
DANIEL BRÜHL / Niki Lauda – “RUSH” (Universal Pictures)
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Edwin Epps – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JAMES GANDOLFINI / Albert – “ENOUGH SAID” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JARED LETO / Rayon – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)
PREDICTION: Jared Leto. After 12 Years a Slave, Dallas is the strongest nominated film of this bunch. With that said, this transformative performance is sweeping everyone off their feet, so I see this category as another stop for Leto to win (PS: improve your speech, man! More of the BFCA and less of the Globe one!).
ALTERNATIVE: James Gandolfini. One of the things that differ the SAG though is all 6,000 voters of both television and film are voting for this award. The TV people love the late Gandolfini so much that he has been nominated 10x in the past and has won three for himself already. They can give him this posthumous recognition if they opt to.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Rosalyn Rosenfeld – “AMERICAN HUSTLE” (Columbia Pictures)
LUPITA NYONG’O / Patsey – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JULIA ROBERTS / Barbara Weston – “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY” (The Weinstein Company)
JUNE SQUIBB / Kate Grant – “NEBRASKA” (Paramount Pictures)
OPRAH WINFREY / Gloria Gaines – “LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER” (The Weinstein Company)
PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence. Okay so she won last year, but who the fuck cares? It’s J.Law’s world and we’re all just living in it. Again, it doesn’t hurt that this current it girl is both a hit with the public and critics alike. So yes, a consecutive win here at SAG (and possible double win for Ensemble too) is really likely.
ALTERNATE: Lupita Nyong’o. But then again, the SAG can be pretty receptive as well to newcomers. They usually do that with nominations, but every now and then, they give wins to them as well. Lupita is currently riding off a huge popularity within the A-list circle and everyone loves to root for the underdog right?
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
MATT DAMON / Scott Thorson – “BEHIND THE CANDELABRA” (HBO)
MICHAEL DOUGLAS / Liberace – “BEHIND THE CANDELABRA” (HBO)
JEREMY IRONS / King Henry IV – “THE HOLLOW CROWN” (WNET/Thirteen)
ROB LOWE / John F. Kennedy – “KILLING KENNEDY” (National Geographic Channel)
AL PACINO / Phil Spector – “PHIL SPECTOR” (HBO)
PREDICTION: Michael Douglas. Like Kevin Costner and Julianne Moore, Michael Douglas would have no problem winning the trifecta of miniseries televised awards for Candelabra. Besides, between him and Damon, he’s the veteran.
ALTERNATE: Matt Damon. Just in case they decide to go with youngster. It will be quite surprising though.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ANGELA BASSETT / Coretta Scott King – “BETTY & CORETTA” (Lifetime)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER / Elizabeth Taylor – “BURTON AND TAYLOR” (BBC America)
HOLLY HUNTER / G.J. – “TOP OF THE LAKE” (Sundance Channel)
HELEN MIRREN / Linda Kenney Baden – “PHIL SPECTOR” (HBO)
ELISABETH MOSS / Robin Griffin – “TOP OF THE LAKE” (Sundance Channel)
PREDICTION: Elisabeth Moss. Well it’s quite the process of elimination here. Hunter would have stood a chance if she was not against her leading co-star. Mirren was a semi-supporting role in a panned series while Bassett gets that token annual random Lifetime nod. I guess I’ll be going with Moss given she’s pretty popular with her TV projects.
ALTERNATE: Helena Bonham Carter. I doubt she even cares at this point? Or that she’d even show up? But if people think she’s sort of due to give any speech (raise your hand with me), then there’s a slight chance of this happening.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson – “BOARDWALK EMPIRE” (HBO)
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White – “BREAKING BAD” (AMC)
JEFF DANIELS / Will McAvoy – “THE NEWSROOM” (HBO)
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister – “GAME OF THRONES” (HBO)
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)
PREDICTION: Bryan Cranston. Is this even a contest? The other four can even bother to not attend the show anymore.
ALTERNATE: Peter Dinklage. For formality’s sake. He’s one of those respected character actors and SAG has shown some love for him in the past.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
ANNA GUNN / Skyler White – “BREAKING BAD” (AMC)
JESSICA LANGE / Fiona Goode – “AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN” (FX)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)
KERRY WASHINGTON / Olivia Pope – “SCANDAL” (ABC)
PREDICTION: Claire Danes. When there’s too many possible alternates and in doubt, stick with the current winner.
ALTERNATE: Kerry Washington. They’ve shown lots of love to Shonda Rhimes actors before (back to back individual wins of Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson as for starters), and again, this is a populist group. So being on the highest rated show helps.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Game of Thrones
PREDICTION: Breaking Bad. Five months since its finale, it’s still the hot talk of the town. Also, their last chance of awarding this fantastic ensemble.
ALTERNATE: Downton Abbey. Or they’d just stick with the current winner. The SAGs love to extend their love for repeat winners in their ensemble categories.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy – “30 ROCK” (NBC)
JASON BATEMAN / Michael Bluth – “ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT” (Netflix)
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy – “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
DON CHEADLE / Martin “Marty” Kaan – “HOUSE OF LIES” (Showtime)
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper – “THE BIG BANG THEORY” (CBS)
PREDICTION: Jim Parsons. Technically, he’s the one remaining representative of lead actor comedy here that people actually know. Big Bang is slowly climbing that guild recognition ladder, and this can be the good indication of that.
ALTERNATE: Alec Baldwin. Or just like the past seven years, why not give it to Alec Baldwin who NEVER.LOST.THIS.CATEGORY.SINCE.2007. I mean at this stage it’s even crazy that I’m betting against him. The man literally has won the past seven years. The only thing that will top that ridiculous statistic is that he can even win an eighth one for a show that lasted SIX seasons. Ugh you have no idea how I’m so tempted to switch now.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler – “THE BIG BANG THEORY” (CBS)
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy – “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 ROCK” (NBC)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)
PREDICTION: Julia Louis Dreyfus. Julia has been in a wild career peak now that it shutdown all this Seinfeld curse talks. The Ensemble nod for Veep gives me more confidence that she’ll finally win her first SAG since Seinfeld.
ALTERNATE: Tina Fey, The mere fact that they let the show be eligible despite missing the actual number of episodes needed means they love the show.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
PREDICTION: Modern Family. I’m actually not confident with this prediction, but they seem to have a huge amount of following within the guild. If ever they win, it will be their fourth and will catapult them as the most number of wins in the history of this category.
ALTERNATE: The Big Bang Theory. With nominations for both Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik, the show is slowly finding their way to some guild respect. Besides, they’re the most popular show on television, and in this time where everything else is suffering from ratings, this can be a reward to them.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl