26th Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination Predictions

Tomorrow, the Oscar precursor trifecta will come to a close as the Screen Actors Guild announces their nominees for the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. And as always, I have some predictions.

When it comes to predicting the SAG Awards, there are two basic tricks that will help you get 70-80% of them correct right off the bat. When it comes to Best Ensemble, you need to ask two questions: What are the biggest ensembles of the year (not the best, just the biggest)? And what films stand the best chance at Best Picture? Since actors make up the strongest branch of the Oscar voting block, it helps to narrow down which films stand the best chance at the top prize when predicting here. After all, the Best Picture winner only missed a SAG Ensemble nomination twice in 26 years. So your big Oscar heavyweights, The Irishman, Marriage Story, and Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, should be your Ensemble frontrunners. And this makes sense – they are all actor-heavy pictures with vastly talented ensembles. After that, you’re just trying to figure out which ensembles will land big with voters across a spectrum of actors, journalists, and commercial stars. Usually, this means one or two surprises from big-budget commercial hits or smaller indies that need love. With this in mind, I would look for Knives Out and The Farewell to fill out the category thanks to their talented, beloved casts. Of course, don’t be surprised if 1917’s British-friendly ensemble sneaks in, or even for Joker to follow in Bohemian Rhapsody’s footsteps from last year. And if the usual rule surrounding foreign language films has been eschewed, then maybe, just maybe, Parasite could have a shot (don’t count on it, though.

The second tip for getting your predictions into B+ territory is to look at the Golden Globe nominees alongside your Best Picture predictions and figure out which three or four actors correlate. If an actor is a lock for an Oscar nomination, they are probably going to appear in all the major precursors. After all, you don’t get an Oscar nomination unless you have across the board support. So figure out your frontrunners and fill in the blanks from there. Obviously The Irishman and Marriage Story are about to earn three nominations apiece (De Niro is the only question mark in the tight Best Actor race, but SAG loves legends, so he should be safe). And you can pencil in DiCaprio and Pitt for Once Upon A Time. If you’re on the fence about one of your four, just ask yourself “Can I see the actors loving this performer/movie?” If the film is about an actor, a historical figure, or the actor is friends with a lot of people, the answer is “Yes” (See: Eddie Murphy, Saoirse Ronan, Anthony Hopkins). After you’ve got your four-per-field, you have one question left to complete your categories: are there any legends in contention? The SAG Awards love nominating living legends, and rewarding them for their hard work. After all, Betty White won four awards for a TV Land comedy. So when it comes to Charlize Theron, Anthony Hopkinks, Robert De Niro, and Maggie Smith, it’s easier to mark them down as your fifth slot than risking it on some unknown. They’ll have their day at the Oscars – SAG is about legends.

As we move into the TV side of things, the usual logic is to predict last year’s lineup with one or two new faces. After all, SAG loves what it loves, even if that means Kevin Sp*cey winning six years in a row. However, things are difficult this year as many long-running shows have come to an end. Sure, Veep and Game of Thrones still have one more chance to dominate their fields (see: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Peter Dinklage). But otherwise, we’re in a sea of Succession and Fleabag and so on. Hell, even their perennial favorite The Crown has an entirely new cast. So I’d say your best bet is to mix up safe selections (Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, etc.) with some fresh blood (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Brian Cox, Olivia Colman). That said, if I may offer a few suggestions? First, when predicting the Ensemble categories, always remember that Bigger Is Better. This group nominated The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family for almost every season (even the bad ones!) because they were consistently the biggest ensemble around. Next, remember who your biggest TV stars are. Even if it means throwing two of the same show into a category, don’t be afraid to choose Nicole Kidman AND Meryl Streep, or Olivia Colman AND Helena Bonham Carter. And third, never ignore a legend. While Grace and Frankie may not be the hottest show around anymore, Lily Tomlin just had a beloved theatre tour while Jane Fonda has been in the news for her weekly arrests and rallies for climate change. Voters will respect these living legends standing by their beliefs and still being wickedly talented. Never sleep on a legend.

Well, that wraps up my predictions for tomorrow’s nominations. I’ll be back tomorrow morning at 10:00 am (thank God it’s 10) with the nominations. You can see my full list of predictions below.

Film

Best Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Robert De Niro – The Irishman
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  • Adam Driver – Marriage Story
  • Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Best Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Awkwafina – The Farewell 
  • Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
  • Charlize Theron – Bombshell
  • Renée Zellweger – Judy

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes 
  • Al Pacino – The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci – The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Laura Dern – Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
  • Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
  • Margot Robbie – Bombshell
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey

Best Ensemble

  • The Farewell
  • The Irishman
  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood

Best Stunt Ensemble – Film

  • 1917
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Captain Marvel
  • Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum

Television 

Best Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie

  • Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice
  • Jared Harris – Chernobyl
  • Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us
  • Aaron Paul – El Camino
  • Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon

Best Actress in a Miniseries/TV Movie

  • Patricia Arquette – The Act
  • Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable
  • Helen Mirren – Catherine The Great 
  • Emily Watson – Chernobyl
  • Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon

Best Actor in a Drama Series

  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
  • Brian Cox – Succession
  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Tobias Menzies – The Crown
  • Billy Porter – POSE

Best Actress in a Drama Series

  • Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown
  • Olivia Colman – The Crown
  • Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
  • Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies
  • Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – Black-ish 
  • Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
  • Bill Hader – Barry
  • Tony Hale – Veep
  • Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Jane Fonda – Grace and Frankie
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag

Best Ensemble for a Drama Series

  • Big Little Lies 
  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • POSE
  • Succession

Best Ensemble for a Comedy Series

  • Barry
  • Fleabag 
  • GLOW
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Veep

Best Stunt Ensemble – Television

  • Barry
  • Chernobyl
  • Game of Thrones
  • GLOW
  • Outlander

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