Helen Mirren (‘Eye in the Sky’): SAG Awards could boost her Oscar odds

Helen Mirren is one of the most beloved actresses working today. She stars in “Eye In The Sky,” one of the most critically-acclaimed films of both the year and her career, as a British colonel in charge of a drone operation. So why is she at only 100/1 odds in our SAG Awards prediction center?

Remember, no awards group loves Dame Helen more than the Screen Actors Guild. She has won five of her 13 nominations: twice in 2001 for “Gosford Park” (Supporting Actress and as part of the Ensemble), twice again in 2006 for her performances as the title characters in the miniseries “Elizabeth I” and the film “The Queen” and most recently in a 2013 upset in TV Movie Actress for “Phil Spector” over frontrunner Elizabeth Moss (“Top of the Lake”).

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Even when her movies haven’t overwhelmed critics, she still manages to get nominated by the guild as she did with both “Hitchcock” in 2012 and “The Woman In Gold” last year. Indeed, last year she reaped a whopping three nominations, with two more for “Trumbo” as both Supporting Actress and as part of the Ensemble.

So, as guild members have nominated her for work in movies that weren’t lauded, why wouldn’t they nominate her for a film that was: “Eye in the Sky” sits at a jaw-dropping 95% approval on Rotten Tomatoes? Directed by Gavin Hood who helmed “Tsotsi,” the 2005 Foreign-Language Film Oscar winner, “Eye in the Sky” boasts a wonderful cast led by Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”) and the late, great Alan Rickman in his final live-action film role, that is sure to make actors want to watch it.

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And “Eye in the Sky” may be more of a contender than we are expecting due to its topical subject matter. It deftly explores the shades-of-grey morality of our new, technology-based age of modern warfare. The movie never chooses sides on the issue of drone warfare, simply and admirably portraying it as is. As such, it could resonate with both anti-war liberal voters and the more conservative ones who (SPOILER ALERT) agree with the film’s heartbreaking ending.

This thrilling drama earned the praise of many leading critics, including those excerpted below:

Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Gate): “’Eye in the Sky’ deals with the ethical questions surrounding the use of drones. At least half of the film depicts people staring at screens and arguing about what to do, and somehow this makes for intense drama. Add into that it features Helen Mirren at her icy best and Alan Rickman, who is outstanding in his last screen performance, and that should be enough to recommend it.

Lou Lumineck (New York Post): “Helen Mirren is terrific as Col. Powell, the tough commander of a multinational anti-terrorist task force that, after six years of searching, has finally located a radicalized Englishwoman (Lex King) most recently responsible for a horrific shopping-mall bombing in Nairobi.”

Linda Barnard (Toronto Star): “This riveting drone thriller is contemporary edge-of-your seat stuff, propelled by a crack cast led by Helen Mirren as single-minded British Col. Katherine Powell.”

Predict the SAG nominations now; change them till Dec. 14

Be sure to make your SAG Awards predictions. How do you think Helen Mirren will do with guild voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our SAG Awards odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on December 14 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the SAG Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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