The only film to win Best Picture at the Oscars without at least contending for Best Ensemble at SAG was “Braveheart” in 1995 (the first year for this guild award). Of the 16 SAG champs, eight went on to win the Oscar, including “The King’s Speech” last year. Among this year’s leading contenders, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Hugo” and “War Horse” were shut out by SAG. However, these late entries into the derby did all reap Best Picture bids from the Critics’ Choice Awards Tuesday and they are expected to do well with the Golden Globes nominations Thursday.
So what do the SAG bids mean for the Oscars? Sans of SAG nominee “Bridesmaids” may want to hold off on picking it to win the top Academy Award. A Best Ensemble nomination in no way assures academy glory. In 2007, while “No Country for Old Men” won at both SAG and the Oscars, none of its four SAG rivals — “3:10 to Yuma,” “American Gangster,” “Hairspray,” and “Into the Wild” — contended for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Demian Bichir (“A Better Life“) got a big boost for his Oscar hopes with his surprise Best Actor nomination from the SAG Awards Wednesday. He is only in 21st place on Gold Derby’s list of leading Oscar contenders as determined by the predictions of Experts, Editors and Users. Also reaping their first bids of the season were supporting players Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”) and Armie Hammer (“J. Edgar“), who are at ninth and 19th places respectively on our chart. And Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs“), who had seen her Oscar hopes waning after being overlooked by the Critics’ Choice Awards on Tuesday, is also back in the race now.
Veteran actress Ruby Dee is but one example of the powerful effect of recognition from the acting guild. She was overlooked by both the Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards for her supporting turn in “American Gangster” (2007), but SAG not only nominated her — she won. Without the support of any critics organizations, Dee reaped an Oscar bid, which she lost to Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”). This year Swinton is coming on strong with her SAG lead bid for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
Among the most notable SAG snubs is Best Actor contender Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy“) who was shut out for the second day in a row. While Michael Fassbender (“Shame“) was also overlooked, he did get a bid from the BFCA and won the L.A. film critics award. Critics’ Choice contenders Charlize Theron (“Young Adult“) and Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene“) were edged out of Best Actress by Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”) who also reaped a nod for her TV series “Damages.”
Albert Brooks (“Drive“) may have won over the New York film critics andhe ranks second on our Oscar chart, but he couldn’t cut it with SAG voters. LAFCA champ Christopher Plummer (“Beginners“) has solidifed his frontrunner status. Likewise, Octavia Spencer (“The Help“) is entrenched atop the supporting actress contenders. Vanessa Redgrave (“Coriolanus“) was snubbed by both BFCA and SAG while Critic’s Choice nominee Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants“) was left off the SAG roster.
Last year 17 out of 20 SAG contenders lined up with the Oscars — only Robert Duvall (“Get Low”), Hilary Swank (“Conviction”) and Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”) missed out on Oscar bids — while in 2009 all of the SAG nominees but Diana Kruger (“Inglorious Basterds”) vied for Oscars.
Those predicted to be surefire lead Oscar nominees this year — Viola Davis (“The Help“), Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady“), and Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) as well as George Clooney (“The Descendants“), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist“) and Brad Pitt (“Moneyball“) — have all but sealed the deal now. And with bids from both BFCA and SAG, Leonardo DiCaprio (“J. Edgar”) remains solidly in contention.
Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn“) and Nick Nolte (“Warrior“) who are at fourth and sixth place among predicted Oscar contenders got a boost. Likewise for similarly placed funny ladies Berenice Bejo (“The Artist“) and Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids“).
Any confusion regarding actors with multiple films in the running gets cleared up at the SAG Awards. Jessica Chastain‘s nomination for “The Help” makes it more likely Oscar voters will consider her for that ahead of “The Tree of Life” or “Take Shelter.” And dual Oscar nominations for Brad Pitt, who campaigned in supporting for “The Tree of Life,” now looks improbable.
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