Tag Archives: SAG

SAG Awards Results and What They Mean for the Oscars

sag-awards-2016

This past weekend the Screen Actors Guild handed out their yearly awards for film and television acting. I have updated the Oscar Predictions page to reflect what we’ve learned.

But really, what have we learned? Well, Saturday’s winners went something like this:

Film
Ensemble – Spotlight
Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Actress – Brie Larson, Room
Supporting Actor – Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Stunt Ensemble – Mad Max: Fury Road

TV
Ensemble, Drama – Downton Abbey
Actress, Drama Series – Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Actor, Drama Series – Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Ensemble, Comedy Series – Orange is the New Black
Actress, Comedy Series – Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Actor, Comedy Series – Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Actress, TV Movie/Mini-Series – Queen Latifah, Bessie
Actor, TV Movie/Mini-Series – Idris Elba, Luther
Stunt Ensemble – Game of Thrones

This diverse list stands in stark – seemingly deliberate – contrast to the current list of Oscar nominees and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has surrounded them. Those who defend the nominations by arguing that “maybe all of the best performances actually just happened to be from white actors this year” – yes, some people actually said that – were answered by Idris Elba’s not one but TWO trophies.

As for those Oscars and their eventual outcome, that Supporting Actor win interestingly gives us our biggest clue, despite Elba not being nominated. Historically, even when the nominees don’t line up exactly, SAG has always given it’s trophies to actors who were also nominated for Oscar. In this case that should’ve been Mark Rylance or Christian Bale. The fact that they lost tells us that their candidacies are not a strong as we once thought. Had either of them won, they would’ve been a strong threat to the current Oscar frontrunner, Sylvester Stallone. But since he doesn’t have to worry about competition from Elba, Sly actually gets a boost from this win.

Supporting Actress has been a pretty close race between Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara. Both are actually lead roles relegated the supporting category, a fact that helps nominees more often than not. (There’s a slight threat from Golden Globe winner Kate Winslet, but while her presence is more likely to pull votes away from the two leads, it’s not clear who actually benefits more from this.) But Vikander’s win this weekend, combined with actually giving two awards-worthy performances this year, gives her a solid lead above the rest.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larsen have been frontrunners in the lead categories most of this race. While Saoirse Ronan may have had a little bit of heat from the early season, SAG essentially just gave our leads a platform to practice their Oscar speeches.

The most interesting result was Spotlight.

Spotlight

The Ensemble award is SAG’s equivalent to Best Picture. Spotlight was the presumed frontrunner until The Big Short took the PGA a couple weeks ago. The two had pretty much the same precursors leading up to that, except for Spotlight curiously missing out on an ACE Eddie nomination. Still, it’s a far more universally well-liked movie. It has no drawbacks and offends absolutely no one. That’s the kind of thing that usually does win with the preferential balloting system used by exactly two groups: the PGA and the Oscars’ Best Picture.

Since the Oscars started using the preferential ballot for Best Picture 6 years ago, they have matched the PGA every single year. Since The Big Short came out ahead with the PGA, it moved pretty solidly into the lead. It’s a very strong statistic, and one that may yet hold, despite the latest development.

But Spotlight‘s SAG win does make things interesting. It clearly has a great deal of support, and would make a great winner. Honestly either one could still take Best Picture. So now we look to next week’s Director’s Guild Awards for a little clarity. The DGA have been a very reliable stat for the Best Picture Oscar (even moreso than Best Director) for a much longer time than the recent PGA matchups.

But if the DGA goes as I suspect it might, things could remain just as up in the air as they are now.

In terms of shear numbers, this year is dominated by two major epic films: The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. With 12 and 10 nominations respectively, they are going head to head in every viable category, except the the former’s two acting nods. Both are serious threats. Well, for director anyway. They are both unlikely to win Best Picture because of a surprisingly important stat: Since the SAG awards have existed, no film has won the Oscar for BP without at least a SAG Ensemble nomination. That’s something neither of these epics has. In fact, The Big Short and Spotlight are the only movies this year with this qualification.

The closest we’ve come to breaking that is when Gravity tied for the PGA and won the DGA and the Oscar for Directing. But even that eventually lost Picture to it’s PGA co-champ 12 Years a Slave.

But while The Revenant and Mad Max are unlikely to win the big prize they are still major threats for directing and for DGA. Or at least one of them is. Unfortunately for The Revenant, that director’s last film, Birdman, just swept the entire awards season, including the Oscars last year. While there’s a lot of passion for his new film, it doesn’t have that kind of inevitability it would need for Alejandro G. Iñarritu to win two years in a row.

That leaves George Miller and Mad Max.

Mad Max Fury Road sniper

In recent years visual and technical marvels Gravity and Life of Pi have had success in directing awards despite not winning Best Picture. I believe George Miller is in this camp, and I believe he’s got enough precursor wins to prove it. That’s why I think Mad Max: Fury Road will win the DGA and eventually the Oscar for Best Director.

But if he does win the DGA, it will only confuse the Best Picture race even further. If the 3 biggest and most important precursors go to 3 different films, who has the edge?

Hard to say. But for now I’m going with that PGA stat and sticking with The Big Short.

Once again, check the Oscar Predictions page for the most recent updates. You can also click the Oscar 2016 menu link at the top of the page for more Oscar information.

Oscar statues

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Weekend Wrap-up: The Producers Keep It Interesting

Gravity-debris-2

This weekend the first two all-important film industry guilds announced their winners: the actors (SAG) and the producers (PGA). Next weekend the directors (DGA) will follow suit. Usually between these three a frontrunner emerges which goes on to take the top prize at the Oscars.

This race is one of the tightest in years, with essentially three frontrunners. Last week I predicted that each of those three would take one of the three main guild awards: American Hustle – SAG (ensemble), 12 Years a Slave – PGA, Gravity – DGA. It was a fairly wild guess, since that kind of thing never happens. One film always takes two, if not or all three, and then goes on to win Best Picture

On Saturday night SAG Awards (scroll to the bottom to see the complete list of winners) appeared to stick to the script. All their film winners were pretty well expected. Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto continued their respective steamrolls through Best Actress and Supporting Actor. They are the 2 surest bets for winning gold on Oscar night, as nobody has been able to beat them in any of the precursors. Matthew McConaughey continued to strengthen his frontrunner status for Best Actor. The biggest excitement was Lupita Nyong’o winner for her supporting performance in 12 Years over Jennifer Lawrence. But even that wasn’t really a surprise – the two have been neck and neck all season, and many pundits (not yours truly, though) think Lawrence will have a hard time winning back to back Oscars.

Hustle took Best Ensemble, as I and many others predicted. 12 Years surely provided stiff competition, but the former was the more obvious acting showcase. And in a very tight race, that was all that was needed to pull ahead for an award that honors the actors rather than the movie itself.

Still, the SAG ensemble very often goes to the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner, so without word yet from any one else in the industry, Hustle essentially took the lead. But in a race so tight anything could happen, literally that – “anything” – was about to.

The PGA awarded an unprecedented 2-film tie! If Hustle had been one of those two films it might have held onto its frontrunner status, but it wasn’t. Gravity and 12 Years split the prize. In a sense my prediction was correct that all three films would win a major guild award, but there was no way I could’ve imagined that would happen a week before the third would even announce.

Over the last 4 years the PGA (for comparison: the Best Picture Oscar is also awarded to a film’s producers) has become THE most predictive of the guilds, since they are the only ones besides the Academy to use a complex “preferential balloting system” (as opposed to a simple weighted ballot) to determine their winners. In this system getting 1st place votes is important, but so is getting 2nd and 3rd. So a winning film has to evoke passion in a much broader cross-section of voters. “Love-it-or-hate-it” films don’t weather this process well.

Given that complex process and the PGA’s 4,700 voting members, one would think a tie is statistically impossible to come by. Yet that’s what happened, and suddenly our best predictor is useless. (Ok, not useless, but you know…)

Of course now the DGA is the key. Whoever wins that will have 2 to everyone else’s 1, and will become considered the frontrunner. I still suspect that’s going to be Gravity. Alfonso Cuaron has been picking up director prizes more consistently than other film, making his film the safest bet. But at this point the race is so convoluted that even that safest bet wouldn’t necessarily be a safe bet.

That said, Oscar voting hasn’t even started yet. By the time they do, that frontrunner, however tenuous, will be known. AMPAS, just like everyone else, likes to rally behind a winner. Chances are the majority of voters will get behind the perceived leader, making it the de facto leader, and the eventual winner.

So, while it’s still early and I reserved the right to change my mind several times in light of new information, I am now prepared to make my first official Oscar Prediction of the season:

Gravity will win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Still, it could easily go any direction, and that’s what’s so exciting. That’s why I may be having the most fun I’ve had since I started paying attention to awards season more than 15 years ago. This is fantastic!

Here is the complete list of SAG and PGA winners. (Check them against my predictions here.)

SAG

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Actor – Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Actress – Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Supporting Actor – Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Ensemble – American Hustle

TELEVISION PROGRAMS
Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries – Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Actress, TV Movie or Miniseries – Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Actor, Drama – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad”
Actress, Drama – Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Actor, Comedy – Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Actress, Comedy – Julia Louis-Drefus, “Veep”
Ensemble, Drama – Breaking Bad
Ensemble, Comedy – Modern Family

STUNT ENSEMBLES
Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture – Lone Survivor
Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series – Game of Thrones

 

PGA

Theatrical Motion Pictures -TIE- Gravity and 12 Years a Slave
Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures – Frozen
Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures – We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
Long-Form Television – Behind the Candelabra
Episodic Television, Drama – Breaking Bad
Episodic Television, Comedy – Modern Family
Non-Fiction Television – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Competition Television – The Voice
Live Entertainment & Talk Television – The Colbert Report
Sports Program – SportsCenter
Children’s Program – Sesame Street
Digital Series – “Wired: What’s Inside” (http://video.wired.com/series/what-s-inside)
The Davie O. Selznick Achievement Award – Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
The Norman Lear Achievement Award – Chuck Lorre
The Stanley Kramer Award – Fruitvale Station
Milestone Award – Bob Iger
Vanguard Award – Peter Jackson, Joe Letteri and Weta Digital
Visionary Award – Chris Meledandri

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