Final predictions for the 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards

It’s time to hear what the actors have to say about this year’s awards race, and it could be the turning point, for many different reasons. The Screen Actors Guild Awards are often the most accurate precursor awards for the acting categories. But, every now and then, they go off on their own tangent, like we saw last year with Denzel Washington taking home Best Actor, but losing to Casey Affleck at the Oscars.

The actors ultimately make up the largest group of Academy voters, so their opinion is generally the one that really counts for the Oscar race. There’s still plenty of time for the tide to change, but a win here often puts one hand on that Oscar statuette. They may not have a Best Picture race, but, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, their category of Best Ensemble has included a nomination for the film that ultimately wins Best Picture for the last 25 years. It’s one of the last remaining “rules” we Oscar watchers have to cling to. That does not bode well for yesterday’s Producers Guild winner, The Shape of Water, which failed to receive this all-important nomination. Time will tell if that will be its downfall.

Let’s break down the nominees, and see who I’m picking to take home this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Mudbound
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

So what could happen from here, without our possible new frontrunner, The Shape of Water? Well, if Three Billboards takes it, as I’m predicting, we could be looking at a two-horse race for the Oscars. If Lady Bird or Get Out score a somewhat-surprise win, they’re back in the hunt and get some much-needed press. And if The Big Sick or Mudbound win, we can safely assume they’ve locked up a nomination for Best Picture, but that’s about all. It seems fairly likely Three Billboards wins, but I could see a Get Out surprise here.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE IN A LEADING ROLE
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, Esq

Chalamet’s campaign essentially died at the Golden Globes, so it’s really the Oldman show from here on in. If he wins here, he’s a total lock for the Oscar. If Chalamet pulls an upset, it’s game on.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE IN A LEADING ROLE
Judi Dench – Victoria and Abdul
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

This category has been difficult all season. Any of the four main contenders (sorry, Judi, but your nomination is your prize) could win here. My heart wants to say Ronan, but I’m going with my gut and sticking with McDormand. In all honesty, a surprise Robbie or Hawkins win wouldn’t totally shock me though.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Steve Carell – Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It was all about Dafoe in the critics awards season…and now suddenly, it’s become all about Rockwell. It’s still definitely a two-horse race between the pair, but Rockwell is probably more liked by his fellow actors, so that gives him the edge. I’m still desperately hoping for a Dafoe steal to get him back into contention.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Hong Chau – Downsizing
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

Another race that seems to have flipped somewhat. It was all about Metcalf for the critics season, but the tide certainly seems to be turning Janney’s way. My head is saying to go with Janney, especially given her standing in the acting community, but I’m going with my heart on this one and sticking with Metcalf.

There also happens to be a bunch of TV categories too, but that’s not really my shtick so I won’t go into great detail. On the Drama side, I’m going with The Handmaid’s Tale for Ensemble, and Elisabeth Moss and Sterling K. Brown for the acting categories. On the Comedy side, I’m going with GLOW for Ensemble, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Sean Hayes for the acting categories. Oh, and Robert De Niro and Nicole Kidman for the Television Movie/Miniseries acting categories, even though we now know Kidman’s performance did not come from a television movie or miniseries…

Let the fun begin! Be sure to follow @itsdougjam on Twitter for live and snarky SAG Awards coverage.