Looking at the past ten years of the SAG awards and their winners, we see trends toward their alignment with Oscar. They haven’t had fewer than three winners carry over. 4 of the ten years saw 3 matches with Oscar, 4 saw 4 matches with Oscars, and the remaining 2 were perfect matches (2010 and 2014).
While Best Cast is ostensibly for the ensemble performance, that award has matched the Oscar 6 of the ten years, two of which foreshadowed the eventual Best Picture Oscar wins of Birdman and Spotlight.
In Best Actor, nine of the ten winners went on to Oscar wins and that outlier was last yaer when Denzel Washington, who didn’t have a SAG award yet, got one.
Best Actress has seen more fluctuation. Seven of the ten winners have gone on to Oscar. One of those cases was a situation where the SAG winner for Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet in The Reader) was bumped up to lead at the Academy and won over Streep (for Doubt) who had won the lead SAG award. Strangely enough, three years later, it would be Streep who knocked out the SAG winner at the Oscars beating her Doubt co-star Viola Davis at the Oscars. The first of those times in the ten years was a foreign actress (Marion Cotillard) winning over a screen legend (Julie Christie) at the Oscars.
In Supporting Actor, the count is eight matching SAG and Oscar. Those two instances were unique. The first involved an actor who were not nominated at SAG winning the Oscar: Christoph Waltz winning his second Oscar over SAG winner Tommy Lee Jones. The second was Mark Rylance, who got the SAG nomination, but lost to Idris Elba who was snubbed by the Academy thanks to the film industry’s dislike of the Netflix distribution model of Beasts of No Nation. So, without extenuating circumstances, Supporting Actor is a fairly strong corollary.
Finally, in Supporting Actress, there were eight matches. The first of those was acting legend Ruby Dee failing to overcome Tilda Swinton, whose win at BAFTA foreshadowed the Oscar win. The other was when Kate Winslet vacated support for lead at the Oscars allowing Penelope Cruz to win the Oscar.
Knowing these facts, it’s easy to show that SAG is a great precursor for all of the acting awards, but a mediocre one for Best Picture. Still, a win can presage an Oscar victory, especially when the PGA and SAG awards diverge, which has happened in each of the last three years with two of those years seeing the Oscar for Best Picture matching the SAG Cast award and the other being where neither PGA nor SAG matched. Could that happen again this year? We might konw by the end of the weekend, especially if both PGA and SAG match.