2020 Precursor Predictions: Screen Actors Guild

The last most important televised precursor prior to the Oscars (BAFTA doesn’t count this year due to its wonky rules in the top categories), the Screen Actors Guild can make or break a trend, or at least the conversation around such a trend. While Cast won’t be much help in the Best Picture race this year, some actors winning in an upset or staying the course will likely forecast the final Oscar result.


Best Cast

Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari (Tripp, RU:Thomas)
One Night in Miami (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Wesley, Peter, Thomas, RU:Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: While the diversity of four of the five casts is intriguing, The Trial of the Chicago 7 has a very large and prominent cast and has been recognized numerous times for its ensemble. That said, so too have the other four nominees. It’s hard to know for sure which one wins out, but I’m leaning towards the Best Picture nominee, but wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the other films win.
Peter J. Patrick: The Trial of the Chicago 7 has the largest cast, which probably makes it the front runner here. One Night in Miami and Minari have perfect smaller casts. I can see any one of these three winning.
Tripp Burton: It’s always a fun year when I won’t be surprised if anything wins here, and you could make a case for any winner. Like Parasite last year, though, the cast of Minari is so in tune with each other and work so well as a unit that I can’t see voters passing on them.
Thomas LaTourette: With probable Oscar winner Nomadland not nominated here, this becomes a different race. I expect the large and well-cast Trial of the Chicago 7 to prevail over the family drama Minari and more intimate Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The Trial was cast superbly across the board and in a different year might have had several supporting acting nominations. It deserves to win here.

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Anthony Hopkins – The Father (RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Wesley Lovell: The chances of anyone but Chadwick Boseman winning are slim, but if anyone can upset, it’s Anthony Hopkins is an incredibly popular actor and he’s never won a SAG prize. The organization started giving out accolades in the mid-90s after his Oscar win for The Silence of the Lambs. Could that be a benefit for him? He’s been nominated seven times so far for SAG in its 27-year history, so it’s possible that love of the actor wins out and he would be my top pick of Boseman weren’t in his way.
Peter J. Patrick: The late Chadwck Boseman has won most of the precursors thus far. I don’t think SAG will look elsewhere, but if they do, Riz Ahmed, who has won most of the precursors Boseman hasn’t, is the likeliest contender.
Tripp Burton: If anyone but Boseman wins here, I will be shocked: a chance to honor a huge movie star in his last (and probably best) role will be too much to pass on.
Thomas LaTourette: Chadwick Boseman will easily win for his final and career best performance in Ma Rainey. If he had not died, he would probably still be the frontrunner, though would be getting more competition from Riz Ahmed and Anthony Hopkins. They were both good and deserve to win, but stand no chance to upset Boseman.

Best Actress

Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: This category has yielded surprises all year, including the surprise exclusion of frontrunner Carey Mulligan at BAFTA. That said, BAFTA’s arcane rules for selecting nominees tilted that category in a strange direction and Mulligan has been trading back and forth with Frances McDormand all year, with each actor taking equivalent numbers of prizes. Mulligan barely leads with 22 to McDormand’s 21, but that dynamic may make this the only real nail-biter of the night. The only benefit for Mulligan is that McDormand has won four prizes from SAG already, one of them as part of an ensemble, and the most recent was only three years ago. Mulligan has four nominations, twice individually, but has not won the award. Based on trajectories and recent history, Mulligan should be leading, and most definitely will be at the Oscars, but for SAG voters, giving out multiple awards to the same person incessantly is the kind of thing they may be ok with, especially with the large number of TV voters in the mix who are absolutely used to such things.
Peter J. Patrick: Carey Mulligan should continue her dominance of this year’s best actress awards, but if there’s an upset, I’d expect it to go to Frances McDormand for the popular Nomadland as this is the only category in which it is nominated.
Tripp Burton: Carey Mulligan is probably set to win easily here — although I thought the same thing about the Golden Globe. Don’t forget how much SAG voters love Viola Davis, though.
Thomas LaTourette: Carey Mulligan should win here for her superb work in the thriller Promising Young Woman. Viola Davis and Frances McDormand anchored their films with strong performances, but are recent winners. Hopefully that paves the way for Mulligan to win.

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RU:Thomas)
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Jared Leto – The Little Things
Leslie Odom Jr – One Night in Miami (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: His film’s late release may have hindered its chances for an ensemble nomination, but Daniel Kaluuya is a potent force and his heavily praised performance in Judas and the Black Messiah is likely to cement his chances here again former frontrunner Leslie Odom Jr. who would have benefited from a calendar-year eligibility window.
Peter J. Patrick: Leslie Odom, Jr. was the early favorite in this category until the last-minute release of Judas and the Black Messiah, for which he has since dominated the precursors. I think he’ll repeat here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Odom win without the fallback of a chance to win a Best Song award.
Tripp Burton: Daniel Kaluuya is plowing through this season so far, and I doubt that stops here.
Thomas LaTourette: Daniel Kaluuya will win for his fiery performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Sacha Baron Cohen is the only one who could remotely pull off an upset for his work in The Trial of the Chicago 7, but that seems very unlikely.

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Wesley)
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (Tripp, RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)
Olivia Colman – The Father
Yuh-jung Youn – Minari (Peter, Thomas, RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
Helena Zengel – News of the World

Wesley Lovell: This is one of the tougher categories of the night. I could see Maria Bakalova, Glenn Close, and Yuh-jung Youn winning. Helena Zengel and Olivia Colman are too young and too recently honored, respectively, to really have much of a shot. I ultimately went with Maria Bakalova who is more likely to benefit from the massive membership numbers of SAG-AFTRA, which has a disproportionate number of television actors. Borat is a TV-kind of creation and comedy is hard, leading me to believe she has a stronger chance than the others. Youn benefits from the popularity of her film, but Glenn Close is a legend without an Oscar. Close has eight Oscar nominations, but ten SAG nominations thanks to her four nominations for the show Damages. She won the award in a shock upset in 2018 for her role in The Wife, which leads me to believe that her chances of winning for critically panned film far less likely.
Peter J. Patrick: Should be the wonderful South Korean actress, Yuh-jung Youn for Minarai unless they really want to show support for Glenn Close in her eighth and so-far-fruitless quest for an Oscar.
Tripp Burton: I have no idea how voters are looking at this category, but the Amy Adams nomination makes me think voters like Hillbilly Elegy and that should lead to a Glenn Close win here.
Thomas LaTourette: This is the one acting category that still seems undetermined. Yuh-jung Youn’s unconventional grandmother may have the edge over Glenn Close’s strong-willed grandma, but it could go to either. Another possibility would be Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova’s impressive English language debut in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. I do not think that the other two nominees stand a chance of winning. It may go to any of them, but Youn’s film is more beloved, which may help her win.

Best Stunt Ensemble

Da 5 Bloods (Peter, RU:Tripp)
Mulan (Wesley, Tripp, Thomas)
News of the World (RU:Peter)
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Wonder Woman 1984 (RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: The biggest omission here was the stunt ensemble for Birds of Prey, which most assumed would have won in a walk. That high profile rejection of a female-centric action film might give a boost to Mulan and Wonder Woman 1984, which have larger numbers of female stunt performances. That said, I could also see a case for Da 5 Bloods winning, though I’m sticking with Mulan, which is the most action heavy of the films, winning and Wonder Woman 1984 in runner-up position as none of the other films have the feel of action films, which have an advantage in this category. Of course, Wonder Woman won this award in 2017, so it’s entirely possible that it could win again.
Peter J. Patrick: Da 5 Bloods and News of the World had the best stunt coordination to me, so I would expect that one or the other will win here.
Tripp Burton: I have no idea how this is going to go, since most of the movies I thought would win here aren’t even nominated.
Thomas LaTourette: The battle and aerial scenes of Mulan are the most memorable of the nominees, so I will predict it to win, though either Wonder Woman 1984 or Da 5 Bloods could pull it off. I liked Mulan best of these three, so I will stick with it to win.

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