Every year, one of the most important precursor awards is the Screen Actors Guild Awards – the massive membership allows for a more accurate picture of the current Oscar race, and thus has correlated very closely with the eventual Academy Awards the following month. However, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, as accurate as they are, are not infallable, and there are a few times when they have failed considerably in predicting some of the winners. Hopefully this year isn’t like that, because all five of the hopeful winners are insanely deserving and I hope they can ride it out to the Academy Awards if they win. Without any further ado, here are my predictions
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
Dark Horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel
This one is a terrifying one to predict, because I can honestly see any of these three films winning. Birdman is my pick to win because it has a great cast playing actors and people in the industry, and there is nothing more that actors love more than seeing themselves and their craft on screen. Boyhood might have taken a knock last night at the Producer’s Guild of America Awards when Birdman won in an upset, but it seems clear that they could still go out on top, and a SAG Ensemble win for their four-person cast is entirely possible. The Grand Budapest Hotel arguably has the best cast, and being one of the most acclaimed films of the year, it could win here. I am terrified of this category because for once, this could reflect the Best Picture race. Whoever wins here will be a huge boost in the campaign for Best Picture.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Winner: Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson in Birdman
Runner-Up: Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything
Dark Horse: Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game
This is maybe the only acting race this season that is up for grabs, and that breaks me because I truly want Michael Keaton to go all the way to a win. I am hoping for him to win here, and it is very possible. He is the most recognizable of the three frontrunners here – maybe he isn’t as big of a star as Jake Gyllenhaal or Steve Carell, or as popular as Benedict Cumberbatch, but it is likely that many voters have either worked with Keaton or have had a deep admiration for him from his time as a 1980s comedic icon. Not only that, his character is the most showy and the fact is that his role is one that the voters will be hard-pressed not to award. It worries me, because Eddie Redmayne could easily snatch the award instead, and so could Benedict Cumberbatch for their excellent performances. It comes down the wire, but I am predicting Keaton to win.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Winner: Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland in Still Alice
Runner-Up: Jennifer Aniston as Claire Bennett in Cake
Dark Horse: Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed in Wild
No need for much commentary here. Moore is a beloved actress, and is winning awards all around for her heartbreaking performance in Still Alice. I doubt this award will go to anyone else other than Moore, but if it has to, I see it going to Jennifer Aniston or Reese Witherspoon – why? I couldn’t tell you, that is how sure I am in Moore and the other two locked contenders in this race.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Winner: J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher in Whiplash
Runner-Up: Edward Norton as Mike Shiner in Birdman
Dark Horse: Robert Duvall as Judge Joseph Palmer in The Judge
Being a beloved character actor and working with nearly every actor, even by mere proxy, can give you serious gravitas in an awards show like this. That is why I think J.K. Simmons is going to grab this award easily. If Birdman is REALLY loved by voters, Edward Norton could definitely win here, but I wouldn’t put money on it. Robert Duvall makes sense as a veteran winner that SAG likes to honor every now and then, so he could be the shocking upset of the night.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Winner: Patricia Arquette as Oliva Evans in Boyhood
Runner-Up: Emma Stone as Sam Thomson in Birdman
Dark Horse: Naomi Watts as Daka in St. Vincent
Also, not much to say here. Patricia Arquette is in a very strong film, and having won nearly every award up until now, I don’t see that train stopping here. Emma Stone could be dragged along with the Birdman love, if there is, but once again, I wouldn’t bet on it. For some reason, Naomi Watts got nominated, and for some reason, people are actually voting for her to win. It would be an enormous coup if it did, but sometimes awards are just damn unpredictable.