Predicting The Screen Actors Guild Awards (Film)

sag awards 2009 539x360 Predicting The Screen Actors Guild Awards (Film)

Later this evening, the Screen Actors Guild will present their awards for excellence in acting for 2013. Just like with the Golden Globes, I thought it would be fun to throw together my predictions for who is most likely to be victorious in the five film categories. As you probably know, these are different from the previous awards in that they are voted on by the actors themselves as opposed to critics, so we’re not necessarily going to be seeing the same results that we have been. Then again, it’s also a strong possibility that we will be seeing exactly that. So let’s dive right into it with the first category.


Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Who should win: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Who will win: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

My opinion has not been changed since I predicted Lupita Nyong’o for the Golden Globe win. While she didn’t take home the prize there, she did take the Critics’ Choice award, reaffirming her as the popular pick. With that in mind, I believe that she will continue on and take the same honor from SAG. That being said, it’s quite possible that Jennifer Lawrence could pull an upset victory here as well, though I like to think the HFPA only honored her for her American Hustle performance because they tend to favor big movie stars over the lesser-known actors.


Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Who should win:  Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Who will win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Once again, Jared Leto seems to have this category all sewn up. He’s won this award from the vast majority of groups throughout awards season, including the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice, and he should have no problem taking this category from SAG tonight.


Gravity Review 579x360 Predicting The Screen Actors Guild Awards (Film)


Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Who should win: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Who will win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Here’s another category where my opinion hasn’t changed in regards to who should or will win. I think that Bullock is very deserving of this award for her incredible portrayal of a woman trying to cope with unspeakable tragedy and in doing so, trying to find a reason to continue on with her life in the face of disaster during a space mission. However, as I said before, Cate Blanchett has been unstoppable throughout awards season for her 90-minute nervous breakdown in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, so you can fully expect her to win here. Anyone else winning would be a huge upset.


Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwitel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Who should win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Who will win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Among the four individual acting categories, this is the only place where my expected winner has changed. While Chiwetel Ejiofor has been the favorite throughout award season with the critics, it appears as though there is a little shift going on. Matthew McConaughey unexpectedly won the Golden Globe, followed by the Critics’ Choice award, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that his streak will continue. However, it would not be surprising to see SAG fall back on Ejiofor given that he has been the most popular choice since the start.


12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Dallas Buyers Club

Now we come to the Screen Actors Guild’s biggest award of the evening: Best Ensemble. This is a very important award because in all the years that they’ve been giving it out, there has only been one instance where the eventual Best Picture winner has not been included among its nominees. Before we come to my final prediction though, let’s take a look at each nominee individually.

Dallas Buyers Club – This was a rather inexplicable inclusion this year given that it’s not really much of an ensemble film (just like Argo from last year). You have a great lead from McConaughey, a stellar supporting performance from Leto, and a rather forgettable supporting performance from Jennifer Garner. Put them all together and you don’t really have a film that screams “Best Ensemble.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie. It just doesn’t belong in this category.

August: Osage County – A fantastic ensemble is buried in a film that is basically two hours of people arguing and venting. Streep and Roberts (both nominated individually) are the standouts here, while Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, and several others aren’t given much to do. It’s hard to object to the nomination, but given the fact that much of the ensemble is underused, it doesn’t stand much of a chance here.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler – A fantastic ensemble that include Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave, and many more. The film itself is a little long at two hours, tapering off a bit in the second half, but it’s the ensemble that keeps it going strong. That being said, this is another example of the performances getting buried under the weight of the film. It fairs much better than August: Osage County, but the chances of it winning here are rather slim due to the film not being over-enthusiastically received.

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American Hustle Review 540x360 Predicting The Screen Actors Guild Awards (Film)

American Hustle – Here we have a great ensemble featuring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, and yet, the only individual acting nomination the film could muster up goes to the one in the group that doesn’t really deserve it. Lawrence was fully deserving of her awards last year for her tremendous performance in Silver Linings Playbook, but as I’ve said before, her performance in American Hustle is not very memorable, leading to complete puzzlement as to why she has been the focus of many of the film’s acting awards.

That being said, it’s interesting to note that all four of them received Oscar nominations the other day. Does that mean something special? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It terms of it winning the Best Picture Oscar, it should be noted that only two films out of 14 that have received all four acting nominations have won the top prize, but in terms of it winning Best Ensemble from SAG, I think it’s a little telling that it only got one individual acting nomination.

At this point, you might be saying, “Hey wait, didn’t Argo only get one individual acting nomination?” Well, you’d be right. Alan Arkin was the only one nominated for that film, and he didn’t win. Yet, the film went on to win Best Ensemble. The explanation for this is simple: last year, SAG used the category as a Best Picture award instead of a Best Ensemble award. If they had used it as it was meant to be used, we would have seen Les Miserables or Lincoln take it easily over Argo, a film that, as I’ve already pointed out, doesn’t have much of an ensemble.

Coming back around to American Hustle, the film does have a very good chance of taking Best Ensemble because most of the performance are very good. There’s also the fact that it won the Critics’ Choice award for Best Ensemble, which has matched SAG’s 8/12 times. Gold Derby is even currently predicting that Russell’s film will emerge as the winner, but I find it very hard to stray away from the last of the nominees, the one that seems the most likely to be victorious at the end of the night.

12 Years a Slave – No other ensemble has impressed me as much this year as that of 12 Years a Slave, which features compelling performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, and Brad Pitt. Granted, I thought the film was decent (I don’t think it’s really deserving of Best Picture), but the reason why it gets up to the level it does is because of this phenomenal cast. I don’t want you to think I’m just basing my guess on personal feelings though, so let’s look at the evidence to support 12 Years a Slave taking their big prize.

It’s no secret that SAG was quite taken with the film as well, nominating it for three individual performances (there’s no lead actress in the film), in addition to Best Ensemble. You may recall from last year that Lincoln had the same number of nominations, and in the same categories too, but failed to win. However, as I’ve already explained, last year was a bit of an anomaly that led to a film winning that shouldn’t even have been in the category in the first place. That being said, should they choose to use the category as a Best Picture award again, that would more than likely lead them straight to 12 Years a Slave, which has been far and away the most popular choice throughout awards season, including recent Best Picture wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice. Therefore, my simple prediction comes down to this: 12 Years a Slave will most likely win because of its incredible cast, multiple nominations, and the fact that it’s heavily favored for Best Picture, but beware of American Hustle, for it may just be able to pull an upset.

So, there you have my best predictions as to who will win later tonight at the Screen Actors Guild awards. I’ll be live-blogging the winners as the ceremony airs, so be sure to check back here for an up to date list of who’s taking home the awards for film and TV. As always, feel free to let us know who you think should/will win each of the categories in the comments section.

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  • Bruno.

    Sandra should win? Please! The performance of Cate Blanchett is infinitely more complex! In Blue Jasmine just her performance nuanced maintains throughout the film. Sandra has a touching and honest performance, but all the awesome effects of gravity to help much. Out your character awakens sympathy precisely because they fight for survival. It is a performance that follows a steady flow of tension and despair without the complexity and nuances developed brilliantly by Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Excuse me, but I totally disagree with you.

    • Irina

      To each their own. I think Sandra should win – and it’s not because of effects. Her performance was brilliant.

  • Roy_Munson

    Did you do a Should win/Will win for the last category? I got distracted

    • Jeff Beck

      Sort of. Not up front, but at the end.