2018 Precursor Predictions: Screen Actors Guild

With nary a consensus heading into Oscar voting, it will be interesting to see what SAG voters pick since actors makeup the largest portion of the Academy’s membership. Of course SAG also has AFTRA mixed in, which means a lot of television voters. While the massive SAG-AFTRA organization dwarfs the Academy, there’s no question there’s a bit of an influence with SAG winners going on to Academy wins more often than almost any other group. Their Best Cast award tends to favor Best Picture contenders.

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS

Introduction

Wesley Lovell: My introduction is the overall one, though I am hopeful that a lot of mistakes that have been made this precursor season by various bodies can be rectified here, though Supporting Actress is certainly not going to remedy the frustration with If Beale Street Could Talk being left off where it shouldn’t.
Peter J. Patrick: I think the big questions of the evening are whether Black Panther can win anything major this year and whether the A Star Is Born slide from grace will continue.
Tripp Burton: SAG is going to make things a lot clearer for the Oscars and also muddle it up quite a bit too. This is turning out to be quite a race, and I still have a lot of questions.
Thomas LaTourette: None provided.

Best Cast

Black Panther (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, RU:Thomas)
BlacKkKlansman (RU:Peter)
Bohemian Rhapsody
Crazy Rich Asians (RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
A Star Is Born (Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: The SAG version of Best Picture is one of their weaker comparisons to the Oscars since actors tend to favor big ensembles. Usually, the bigger the cast, the more likely this group is to pick them. In this case, Black Panther has by far the largest ensemble with 12. The nearest competition is Bohemian Rhapsody with 9. If you look at the cast list for Black Panther, it is a tremendous and familiar list of names, which will certainly bolster its potential. Strangely, I think that Bohemian Rhapsody is not runner-up. Crazy Rich Asians, although it has the second smallest cast list at 7 it is more likely voters will think of it has having a larger ensemble than it does.
Peter J. Patrick: Both a popularity contest as well as a possible indicator of the Best Picture Oscar, the award is for ensemble of which Black Panther has the strongest with surprise nominee Bohemian Rhapsody now not as seemingly as odd a choice as it might have been earlier.
Tripp Burton: This is a weird category. I’m guessing that the voters go for the size and diversity of Black Panther or Crazy Rich Asians, but wouldn’t be surprised to get BlacKkKlansman up there as a first step in making itself a Best Picture candidate.
Thomas LaTourette: With so many of the best picture nominees not crossing over with this ensemble cast award, I am not certain how much influence this will have on the eventual Oscar winner. I think A Star Is Born will win, and it will give them a chance to honor the cast here since they will not individually win. Black Panther could conceivably sneak in as it is having a banner year, but it is not the type of movie that usually wins which may hurt its chances. BlacKkKlansman stands a slight chance, but Crazy Rich Asians and Bohemian Rhapsody probably stand no chance of winning.

Best Actor

Christian Bale – Vice (Thomas, RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (RU:Peter)
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman

Wesley Lovell: Best Actor is one of their best predicting categories for the Oscars, which is why I feel a tough decision is to be made between Christian Bale and Rami Malek. Although I could see Bale triumphing at the Oscars, Malek gets the kind of show-boat role SAG voters dream of. That, accompanied by the fact that he’s a television actor as well while Bale has largely avoided the medium, might give Malek the leg-up. I could also see Bradley Cooper winning in a surprise.
Peter J. Patrick: Who knows what they’ll do with this one. Either Malek or Cooper seems like a good prospect here.
Tripp Burton: Voting went through all this week, which means that voters who feel sorry for Best Director nomination-less Bradley Cooper could throw a vote his way. I’m guessing that the populist choice, Rami Malek, wins, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Christian Bale start to sweep the televised awards.
Thomas LaTourette: This race probably comes down to the two men who won the Golden Globes, though for once the winner in the comedy/musical category looks to have the upper hand. Bale looks ready to claim this and probably then go on to the Oscar as well. If it goes to Malek, this will be a much closer race to watch come Oscar night.

Best Actress

Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns
Glenn Close – The Wife (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Olivia Colman – The Favourite (RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)
Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born (RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Wesley Lovell: Glenn Close will likely take this award the way Meryl Streep has done on several occasions. SAG didn’t exist when she won her first two Oscars, or even for most of her major roles of the 1980s. The same could be true of Close who has only had one nomination since the group’s inception in spite of her (now) seven total Oscar nominations, five of which she picked up prior to the first SAG awards in 1994. This is, however, her ninth overall SAG nomination and she’s won only once. That gives her an easy leg up over the competition. Sure, Lady Gaga has the Birth of Stardom concept running behind her, but Olivia Colman, who just took over the role of Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown, has serious visibility to this group and I think she might have an advantage over Gaga. Then again, Emily Blunt has had a strong year and Melissa McCarthy will have TV voters supporting her as well. This could end up a shocker, or it could be the next in a long line of televised victories leading up to the Oscar win for Close.
Peter J. Patrick: This could be a bigger test for Oscar than the Golden Globes. We’ll see if Glenn Close prevails or if she loses to Lady Gaga. No one else here seems likely.
Tripp Burton: Will the SAGs go with the mainstream choice of Gaga or the sentimental choice of Close? This could be a tight race!
Thomas LaTourette: A couple of fiery acceptance speeches, most notably at the Golden Globes, have put Glenn Close in the fast lane for the SAG and probably her first Oscar. She is ready for one and may have found the vehicle to finally get her there. Olivia Colman might sneak in, but I think Close has this sewn up. I do not think that Lady Gaga or any of the other nominees stands much of a chance against these two women.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Green Book (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Timothée Chalamet – Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born (RU:Tripp)
Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Although Richard E. Grant delivers a career-best performance, Mahershala Ali has momentum behind him. That said, Grant has worked with a ton of people and I could see SAG honoring the character actor for his long-distinguished career. Chalamet is out, as is likely Driver (unless there’s a flood of love for BlacKkKlansman), though Sam Elliott could also pull a career honor for likely his only SAG nomination ever. Then again, this will probably also be Grant’s only chance as well.
Peter J. Patrick: While I don’t rule out a surprise win for Sam Elliott, I think critics’ favorites Mahershala Ali and Richard E. Grant are more likely.
Tripp Burton: My guess is that if anyone can sweep the televised awards this year it is Ali, who is the only person coming out of the Green Book controversy unscathed. Or, maybe the SAGs will really like A Star is Born
Thomas LaTourette: I would not have guessed that Mahershala Ali would so quickly win the SAG which will put him on track to win an Oscar for the second time in three years. Both Richard E. Grant and Sam Elliott will give him strong competition, but I expect him to prevail.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Vice (Peter, Thomas, RU:Tripp)
Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place (Wesley, Tripp)
Margot Robbie – Mary Queen of Scots
Emma Stone – The Favourite (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite (RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: I think you could throw a dart blind at a wall of pictures and land on any one of four of these ladies. Sorry, Margot, you’re out. Stone and Weisz will likely pull in equivalent votes and while Amy Adams is a popular actress, I don’t think Vice is quite popular enough. I’m going with a surprise win for non-Oscar nominee Emily Blunt whose terrific year was capped by this tremendous performance. That said, this group may have been influenced by the Oscar nominations and could line up behind one of three Oscar nominees, or enough may have voted before, so there’s no way to tell if the influence will be there. Supporting Actress is one of the worst prediction categories for SAG and I could very much see them giving Blunt the award, though Stone is a young, very familiar face and I expect she’s running close behind, as are Weisz and Adams. It will be a nail-biter until the envelope is opened.
Peter J. Patrick: Amy Adams seems like a safe bit given the lack of strong competition with Emma Stone a possible spoiler.
Tripp Burton: Without perceived frontrunner Regina King here, this is a free-for-all. I have a strong hunch that Emily Blunt is a dark-horse here, and I’m going out on a limb that she wins. If not, Amy Adams seems like a safe bet.
Thomas LaTourette: Without Regina King in the mix, this feels like Amy Adams’ to lose, and I do not think she will. Rachel Weisz from The Favourite is her closest competition, but I do not see that happening. I wonder if this will help her finally win the Oscar, for which she is majorly overdue.

Best Stunt Ensemble

Ant-Man & The Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War (RU:Wesley)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Black Panther (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: It’s incredibly difficult to know how SAG voters will go here. Sometimes, they go with the larger stunt ensemble, sometimes with the one that has tons more stunts, but anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s. That said, I could see SAG voters picking Black Panther in both this and Best Cast, marking the first time in SAG history the two awards went to the same film. I could also see Avengers: Infinity War‘s massive ensemble winning or even Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘ tremendous stunts (though, that film might be hindered by Tom Cruise doing his own stunts instead of a professional).
Peter J. Patrick: I’m taking a wild guess on this one, but both Black Panther and Mission: Impossible had memorable stunts that required strong ensemble participation.
Tripp Burton: I’m not sure about this, but Black Panther seems like the most obvious choice.
Thomas LaTourette: Black Panther should easily prevail here, though the heavy duty stunts of Mission: Impossible might make it to the winner’s circle. The stunts of Mission: Impossible were flashier and perhaps done more without green screens, but I still think it will go to Black Panther.

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