Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards is hit and miss when it comes to predicting the Oscar for Best Picture, since it specifically rewards actors and not overall films. But when it comes to predicting individual acting winners, SAG’s predictive value greatly improves. Consider Best Actress, where 81% of nominees (82 out of 101) and 70% of winners (14 out of 20) line up with Oscar.
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Only six times in SAG’s 20-year history has its Best Actress winner not gone on to win Oscar, but in every case, the eventual Oscar winner was at least nominated by SAG, so this is a crucial stop on the campaign trail for any leading lady.
In 2002, Renee Zellweger (“Chicago”) prevailed at SAG, but Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) won Oscar.
2008 was an unusual year. Meryl Streep (“Doubt”) won SAG, where Kate Winslet was nominated as a lead for “Revolutionary Road” and won the supporting race for “The Reader,” but the academy promoted her “Reader” performance to the lead race at the Oscars, where she defeated Streep.
Given SAG’s close relationship with Oscar, it’s no surprise that we find many of the same names among this year’s top contenders at both events, including Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“), who has been nominated 10 times before, though her only win to date was for her TV role as Sarah Palin in HBO’s telefilm “Game Change.”
Other major contenders include Amy Adams (“Big Eyes“), who shared the Ensemble award for “American Hustle” last year; Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“), who won SAG and Oscar for “Walk the Line”; Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl“), a past Ensemble nominee or “An Education”; Hilary Swank (“The Homesman“), SAG and Oscar champ for “Million Dollar Baby”; and Jessica Chastain (“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” “A Most Violent Year,” and/or “Miss Julie“), who won Best Ensemble with the cast of “The Help.”
Among top contenders, the top rookies may be Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything“) and Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods“), who have yet to be nominated at SAG either as individuals or members of an ensemble.