A Star is Born Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, and Sam Elliott

With the 91st Academy Award nominations announced Tuesday morning, everyone is still reeling from the news, excitement, snubs and many of the groundbreaking stats. Another group is also paying attention, The Screen Actors Guild, because their big award show is this Sunday, and they still have ballots in hand. The SAG awards are in their 25th year, and it’s the award show often described, where actors vote for actors, and nothing else.

The nominations get more interesting with each SAG announcement, especially since they merged with AFTRA; an organization compiled of TV News Broadcasters on screen, radio DJ’s, internet personalities, etc. Typically what you look for in SAG is a crossover between the Oscar nominees, and now that we have those, it’s a bit easier to narrow down who might win on Sunday and proceed down the long winding red carpet to the Academy Award finish line.

Dustin Chase with SAG nominee Timothee Chalamet (right) at the 2019 Critics Choice Awards

While SAG doesn’t give out an award for best picture, their Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture category is the big honor of the evening. Crazy Rich Asians is the only nominee among the five that isn’t nominated for best picture. Black Panther, A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and BlackKklansman all received best picture nominations this week from the Academy. So who wins? “I loved BlackKklansman and hope to see that win performance by a cast,” said one SAG voter I interviewed. This particular voter is under the age of 35, male and has worked in both indie films and big budget superhero movies.

BlackKklansman has both actors nominated at SAG, but John David Washington wasn’t included in the Oscars line up this week. Despite its backlash, low critical support and the association with ousted director/producer Bryan Singer, box office smash Bohemian Rhapsody seems to be in a good position, despite only really having one cast member than anyone is talking about. A Star is Born, also a big box office winner, would seem like the frontrunner. All three of its main cast members received Oscar nominations and match the individual SAG acting categories. Black Panther got zero individual acting nominations, only one for ensemble from SAG and technical nods from the Academy. I think this is between the two musical films, with the Lady Gaga love pushing A Star is Born to its first major victory of the season.

Emily Blunt (left) with Dustin Chase (right) at the 2019 Critic’s Choice Awards

The individual acting races are a bit easier to predict. Aside from Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins), the other four best actress contenders match, with veteran Glenn Close (The Wife) expected to take SAG. Those two acceptance speeches from Globes and Critics Choice certainly boosted her to frontrunner status. That being said, all those radio DJ voters might prefer Lady Gaga, which is why awarding her in ensemble means both women get a trophy. “I would love to see Olivia Coleman win for best actress,” the voter I spoke to said. “The Favourite was hands down my favorite film of the year.”

Before the Oscar nominations came out, the SAG award seemed to be Rami Malek’s to lose, with Christian Bale (Vice) a close second. However, Bradley Cooper’s director snub from the Academy puts him in sympathy territory and might encourage SAG voters to single out the actor who also directed, produced, wrote, learned to play the guitar and sing for the film. Things get worse for Malek and Bohemian Rhapsody with the long awaited article on Singer hitting mid week. Malek also forced to respond, says he knew nothing about Singer before starting to production. If Cooper can pull an upset here, the best actor race is going to get very exciting. If Bale wins, the trifecta of Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG, this race is over.

“I don’t think Cooper’s performance can outshine Malek or Bale”, a SAG voter said. “As much as I would like to see Bale win, I think the edit for Vice killed the performances.” He said as of now, he was still undecided on who would get his best actor vote.

Dustin Chase chatting with SAG nominee Viggo Mortensen (left) at the 2019 Critics Choice Awards

The SAG awards snubbed supporting actress frontrunner Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), which means Sunday a new supporting actress face will take the stage. Will it be Amy Adams (Vice) or Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)? What happens at SAG’s and then at the BAFTA awards could shift momentum away from King and onto someone else. “I would say Weisz takes the cake for me,” the SAG voter said. “She has this amazing poker face you just can’t crack it.” Weisz is already an Oscar winner, but her performance is the juiciest among all five nominees. Adams is long overdue, despite this being one of her weaker performances. Emma Stone (The Favourite) and Blunt (A Quiet Place) don’t have a shot.

Supporting actor is the easiest award of the night to call, Mahershala Ali (Green Book) will repeat his winning streak which might end up being the only thing Green Book wins come Oscar night.

Mahershala Ali

The SAG Awards will be air live on TNT Sunday Evening 7 pm CST


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