Did the SAG Awards Just Throw the Oscars Into Chaos?
With less than a month to go before the Oscars, the various Hollywood guilds have finally started giving out their own awards. These are the voting bodies that also nominate and award the Academy’s top honors (or at least, there’s a lot of overlap), so the Oscar prognosticators were looking to groups like the Producer’s Guild and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to reveal which films the Academy truly supports in an otherwise eclectic year.
In turn, the guilds have decide to spread their votes so far and wide that no clear frontrunners are visible. Last weekend the Producers Guild, whose awards synch up with the Best Picture Oscar an astounding amount of the time, declared The Big Short to be the big winner. It was a film that nobody expected to be a major contender outside of (maybe) the Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay categories, but some immediately bumped it to “frontrunner” status just to be on the safe side.
This weekend, the SAG Awards were announced and were of no help whatsoever to Oscar predictors (although certainly the recipients were honored and pleased). Spotlight, which dominated the critics awards but seemed to have lost steam ever since the Golden Globes, took home the Best Ensemble Cast award, which is SAG’s equivalent of Best Picture.
Throw in the major visibility of The Revenant and the underdog “cool kids vote” for Mad Max: Fury Road and you’ve got a Best Picture race that seems wide open for the first time in many, many years. Usually the race comes down to just one or two major contenders. Right now, just about anything except Brooklyn and Room could win the top honors and nobody would bat an eye.
Other SAG Awards winners include Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor (The Revenant) and Brie Larson (The Room), since it’s finally DiCaprio’s year whether or not it’s actually his best performance, and since Larson is just plain great in Room (and besides, the voters really seem to love an ingenue). They’re definitely the frontrunners in the lead acting categories, but at least one of the Best Supporting categories is still up in the air.
Idris Elba, snubbed by the Academy Awards for his impressive performance in Beasts of No Nation, took home the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor, making it very difficult to predict where the Academy is leaning. If Spotlight has any momentum the award could go to Mark Ruffalo, snubbed in the past and amazing in Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama. But if the Academy is feeling sentimental then Sylvester Stallone still has a short for Creed, in which he revived his iconic Rocky Balboa character for (maybe) the last time. And don’t rule out Tom Hardy, who is devastating in The Revenant and who might have the Academy’s favor after he was snubbed for both Locke (last year) and Legend (this year).
Best Supporting Actress went to Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl, a lead performance that got bumped down to “Best Supporting Actress” for no particularly good reason. Her biggest competition in the category, Rooney Mara in Carol, suffered the same fate. Vikander is incredible in the film, which doesn’t have a lot of buzz otherwise (even Eddie Redmayne’s performance seems to have earned only a token nomination, since no one is talking about his work anywhere).
I suspect she has the slight edge now. Carol didn’t perform terribly well in the Oscar nominations, which probably has less to do with lesbian subject matter and more to do with its relatively subdued emotional drama. The Academy loves their big weepy moments, and The Danish Girl has a lot more of them, but this could still go either way and it would be foolish to rule out Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance in The Hateful Eight as a potential dark horse winner, a la Christoph Waltz’s unexpected second win for Django Unchained.
The final SAG Award for motion pictures, for Best Stunt Ensemble, went to Mad Max: Fury Road and as well it should have. Unfortunately, the category has no equivalent at the Oscars… yet.
The complete list of motion pictures winners are below:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / Hugh Glass – The Revenant (20th Century Fox)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
BRIE LARSON / Ma – Room (A24)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant – Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
ALICIA VIKANDER / Gerda Wegener – The Danish Girl (Focus Features)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Spotlight (Open Road Films)
BILLY CRUDUP / Eric MacLeish
BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES / Matty Carroll
MICHAEL KEATON / Walter “Robby” Robinson
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer
MARK RUFFALO / Michael Rezendes
LIEV SCHREIBER / Marty Baron
JOHN SLATTERY / Ben Bradlee, Jr.
STANLEY TUCCI / Mitchell Garabedian
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Top Photo: Photo Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.