Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
- Cate Blanchett – Carol
- Brie Larson – Room
- Helen Mirren – Woman in Gold
- Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
- Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back
Finally we come to a category that seems to be all locked up. Brie Larson has been winning all over the place for her outstanding performance in Room, including the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and a multitude of other critics awards. If there’s a threat to be found in this category, I would say that it’s probably Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, who received a few awards herself, but quite frankly, if anyone other than Larson were to win it would be a gigantic surprise.
Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
- Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
- Johnny Depp – Black Mass
- Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
- Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
- Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Here we have another category that’s a done deal. Leonardo DiCaprio has been earning non-stop praise for his brilliant performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s outstanding survival epic The Revenant, which has included awards like the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and a vast majority of the other critics awards.
Just like with Best Actress, there isn’t really a whole lot to say here, but I would add that Michael Fassbender is in something of a distant second, having earned a few wins himself. That being said, if DiCaprio somehow loses this to anyone, it would be the single biggest shock of the night. It’s finally his turn to win here, and subsequently to get his long-deserved Oscar.
Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
- Beasts of No Nation
- The Big Short
- Straight Outta Compton
That brings us up to the biggest award of the night, Best Cast in a Motion Picture. Up until a few nights ago, it seemed to be a solid lock for Spotlight, whose cast has been earning endless praise, and a multitude of Best Cast/Ensemble awards right along with it. However, when The Big Short unexpectedly took the PGA, the pot got stirred a little, making it a little less certain than it was before. Because of this, The Big Short could indeed end up taking Best Cast away from Spotlight if the former is going to be the favorite film of the industry.
That being said, I’m still thinking that Spotlight has the most firm grasp on the award, not only because most groups have agreed that it’s the best cast of the year, but also because everyone’s performance in it is memorable, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schrieber, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, and John Slattery. When it comes to The Big Short, all of the talk seems to revolve around Christian Bale and Steve Carell.
It wouldn’t be the worst Best Cast choice in the world, but there are better choices here, including Trumbo, which had very memorable performances from Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, Alan Tudyk, and Diane Lane. I wouldn’t count it out entirely though given that SAG sometimes sends signals via surprise nominations, which all three of the film’s were. It would be the most deserving, but unfortunately there has only been one film in SAG history to win Best Cast while not getting a nod for Best Picture, that being 1996’s The Birdcage.
That being said, we are most likely faced with a Spotlight vs. The Big Short battle. If the latter wins, continuing its streak from the PGA awards, it would seem to be unstoppable, and would tragically go on to be the worst Best Picture choice in quite some time. In fact, when a film wins PGA and SAG’s Best Cast, most of the time the DGA follows right along, a choice that they would never be able to justify, not with Miller AND Inarritu in the running.
However, if Spotlight wins, it would show that the film’s chances are very much alive and that there’s still a battle to be had. As I said, I’m still predicting Spotlight to win this because it’s been the single most popular cast of the season, but whatever they do choose, it will be very telling as to what to expect from the rest of the award season.
So, there you have my choices for this year’s Screen Actors Guild awards. As I said at the beginning, don’t be surprised if a few of these are wrong, because unlike most years, there’s actually a lot of uncertainty circling these particular awards. In most cases there are at least two that could be victorious, and in the case of Supporting Actress, three or four. Regardless of what happens, it’s going to be a very exciting night that will not only reveal where we stand with the acting Oscars, but also with Best Picture.
Be sure to join us on Saturday evening for a live-blogging of the winners for film and television as they are announced. In the meantime, let us know what you think of these predictions and who you think will win in the comments below.