SAG, PGA This Weekend – What to Expect


The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Producers Guild of America (PGA) will both present their winners this weekend (tonight and tomorrow night, respectively). This usually marks the beginning of the end of the awards race: The guilds are the most predictive factor in the Oscars, and these two, plus the Directors Guild next weekend are the most important guilds of all.

The Actors are the largest voting block in the Academy, so they carry the most weight. Almost every Best Picture Oscar winner has come with a corresponding DGA win for the director. And perhaps most importantly, since a crucial rule change in 2009 every film that has won the PGA has gone on to win Best Picture.

In 2009 the Academy began using a complex preferential balloting system in their top category (and only the top category). The only other group to use this system is the PGA. The PGA is also has a large crossover membership with AMPAS, and their tastes are very similar. It’s the perfect Oscar practice run.

“But This Year’s Different!”

It’s always easy to say this year is unique. Every year is unique. Last year was insanely unique, in which the front runner winning everything didn’t even have a director nomination from the Academy, and in fact only 2 of the DGA nominees matched Oscar. Yet even then, the same film took SAG, PGA, DGA, and Best Picture. “Different” is a question of degree.

Still, I actually do think this year is different, because for the first time there is no clear frontrunner yet. We may have one in 3 days, but as of right now, it’s completely up in the air. I am going out on a limb and predicting all three to split up each of the main guilds. It’s a gutsy choice, if I do say so myself – most pundits would call me crazy. But I think each one has a specific angle for a particular guild.

  • American Hustle will win the SAG ensemble. This is the easiest call. This is an ensemble acting award, not overall film, so they do occasionally stray from the frontrunner. Gravity isn’t nominated here, and wouldn’t win even if it were because it’s “ensemble” is mostly just one person. 12 Years has a great ensemble, and three of them have gotten every nomination possible. But Hustle is the showier acting showcase. Plus, despite only one individual nomination in their own awards, the actors branch gave the film nominations in all 4 acting categories at the Oscars. (If 12 Years somehow pulls off the upset, then that it. The race would be just about over.)
  • 12 Years a Slave will win the PGA. This is the hardest call. This is the one that could really conceivably go any direction. The only thing we have to go on is other precursor awards. Gravity has won it’s share, and Hustle is the new upstart that’s been making it’s way steadily up the ranks as of late. But 12 Years has the majority of wins under it’s belt. I think that gives it the edge. (If Hustle wins this, the others are done for. It will have pulled it’s way comfortable out front.)
  • Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) will win the DGA. There’s a narrative for each: David O. Russell (Hustle) is just about due after his 3rd major player in as many years, and Steve McQueen (12 Years) may be considered infinitely more overdue, as no black director has ever won. But Cuarón has been the most consistent winner so far this season. There have been more splits in precursor awards than ever, and he’s been cleaning up even when the other two are winning various Best Picture awards. His achievement is just too big to ignore. (If either of the others win, look for that film to take the lead at the Oscars.)

So that’s the way I see it playing out. I hope I’m right, because if I am it means the race will keep on being exciting and unexpected far longer than usual. (It already lasted longer than usual!) If I’m wrong, I expect we’ll know by Monday who our frontrunner will be, and for that frontrunner to be confirmed next weekend at the DGA.

Oh, before I forget, The Critics Choice Awards happened this past Thursday, in case you cared to know. They’re about as important as the Globes (practice for speeches and that’s about it), and a fraction as fun. I pretty much ignored them. But they did give the same split between Picture and Director, which only serves to reinforce my point.

Here’s the rest of my predictions for this weekend’s shows – SAG first, then PGA – with the predicted winners in bold. (As with the Golden Globes, my guesses on most of the TV categories were basically pulled out of my ass.)




  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • August: Osage County
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • The Butler


  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (alternate)
  • Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
  • Matthew McConaghey, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Forest Whitaker, The Butler


  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Daniel Bruhl, Rush
  • James Gandolfini, Enough Said
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Supporting Actress

  • Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
  • June Squibb, Nebraska

Stunt Ensemble

  • All is Lost
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • Lone Survivor
  • Rush
  • The Wolverine



Ensemble, Drama

  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland

Ensemble, Comedy

  • 30 Rock
  • Arrested Development
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Modern Family
  • Veep

Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie

  • Angela Bassett, Betty & Coretta
  • Helena Bonham Carter, Taylor & Burton
  • Holly Hunter, Top of the Lake
  • Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
  • Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie

  • Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra (alternate)
  • Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
  • Jeremy Irons, The Hollow Crown
  • Rob Lowe, Killing Kennedy
  • Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Actress, Drama

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Kerry Washington, Scandal

Actor, Drama

  • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Actress, Comedy

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Actor, Comedy

  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Stunt Ensemble, Comedy or Drama

  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • The Walking Dead


Theatrical Motion Picture

  • American Hustle
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Animated Theatrical Motion Picture

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Epic
  • Frozen
  • Monsters University


  • Far Out Isn’t Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
  • Life According to Sam
  • A Place at the Table
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
  • Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

Long-Form Television

  • American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
  • Behind the Candelabra (HBO)
  • Killing Kennedy (National Geographic Channel)
  • Phil Spector (HBO)
  • Top of the Lake (Sundance Channel)

One thought on “SAG, PGA This Weekend – What to Expect

  1. […] PGA tie was basically a microcosm for the entire season. The PGA is the only other award besides the this one to use a preferential balloting system, which makes […]

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