What the SAG Awards Means For The Oscar Race


With the Academy Awards now less than four weeks away, the race for Oscar gold has certainly heated up, with this past weekend’s Screen Actors Guild awards pointing towards how the acting categories might play out at the Oscar ceremony. Although the final round of voting for the Academy Awards is done by members of all the branches, the individual guild awards handed out in the weeks leading to the Oscars often serves as an indicator as to how Academy membership overall is inclined to vote.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s win of Best Actor at the SAGs for his work in The Revenant sure does look like he is a lock for an Oscar. This only reinforces the common chatter among analysts that after five nominations, four of which have been in the last ten years, DiCaprio is due a win. DiCaprio’s SAG win comes after five nominations for his individual work and four times being included in an “Outstanding Performance by a Cast” nomination.

Although considered a dark horse up against the likes of Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling and Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, Brie Larson’s Best Actress win at the SAG’s for the drama Room suddenly puts her in the front-runner position.

The amazing year that Alicia Vikander has been having continues with the actress taking the SAG award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Danish Girl. Does she stand a chance against the heavily favored Rooney Mara? That will depend on whether Academy voters will feel that Mara’s role in Carol was more of a lead performance than a supporting one and vote accordingly. Another scenario could be Vikander and Mara splitting the vote to an extent where Kate Winslett (Steve Jobs) or Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) could sneak in and steal the Oscar out from under them.

Unfortunately, Idris Elba will not be parlaying his SAG Best Supporting Actor win into an Oscar statuette as he does not have an Academy Award nomination for Beasts Of No Nation. Which brings up an interesting question in relationship to this years #oscarssowhite controversy. The Academy Award nominations are determined by the members of each respective branch of the Academy, so in this case, actors were nominating actors. It should safe to assume that all members of the acting branch of the Academy are probably in the Screen Actors Guild as well. So, why did Elba get an SAG nomination but not an Oscar nomination? Since not all SAG members are also Academy members, I dare say we can deduce where the problem lies.

And what does its win for Best Ensemble Cast say about Spotlight‘s chances? Sure there is no directly corresponding category at the Academy Awards, but in the last twenty years, ten of the films that won Best Ensemble Cast at the SAGs also won Oscar’s Best Picture, including last year’s Birdman. The win does put Spotlight neck-and-neck with The Big Short as the most likely winners of the top prize at the Academy Awards. Both films are also nominated in the Best Editing category and in years past, it was rare for a film to win Best Picture and not have at least an editing nomination as well. The Big Short has this year’s Producers Guild Award under its belt, and that award usually translates to an Oscar statue 88% of the time.

The Academy Awards will be handed out on February 28.

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About Rich Drees 7001 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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