Sunday 29, 2017 will mark the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards. The ceremony is one of the many guild precursors to the Academy Awards. Many film pundits look at the SAGs to determine which actors and actresses will likely win the Oscars in the acting categories. The award show also features the closest thing to an Oscar for Best Acting Ensemble.
Speaking of this, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture is the biggest award of the night at the SAGs, the closest thing the guild has to a Best Picture award.
This year, we have five great ensemble performances. Captain Fantastic features not only Viggo Mortensen’s great turn, but also many strong performances from children of various ages. Now, the film is not likely to take the award; don’t count on that.
Acting is the strongest aspect of Hidden Figures, but it too is not likely to win. No, the Performance by a Cast award will go to the veterans on the screen in Fences or to the relative newcomers of Moonlight. I think Moonlight deserves the award, and it has a good shot. But it is no shoo-in.
The male acting categories—lead and supporting. One is in the bag, the other is not. Casey Affleck will take home the lead actor SAG award. Even Denzel Washington would be an upset.
The supporting actor award could conceivably go anywhere but to Grant. The field is wide open. Give Mahershala Ali an edge if you dare, but Dev Patel and Jeff Bridges are not far behind. And Lucas Hedges could receive a symbolic “breakout star” win.
Supporting Actress is similarly open. Viola Davis is the likely candidate to take home the victory, but there is also Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams in the hunt. Octavia Spencer is a dark horse pick on top of that.
Perhaps the most interesting category of the night is Best Actress. Without Isabelle Huppert (recent Golden Globe winner) in the running, Emma Stone is the clear favorite. But some will say SAG is snubbing La La Land for not giving it an ensemble nomination (the film is really two performances, after all). Don’t let that persuade you, Stone is the frontrunner. But it is Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep that have the chance to give Stone a run for her money.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)