Based on Gold Derby predictions, I was the only website editor or film expert to predict that “ ” would win Best Film Ensemble at the SAG Awards. As I said back on January 18, I was confident that “Hidden Figures” would win based on the following four reasons. Did you end up agreeing with me? Have your say by sounding off in the comments section.
1. Every genre was represented.
The more than 100,000 members of SAG-AFTRA aren’t necessarily all actors, but they are all insiders who work in the various film/television/entertainment/media fields. That means a film like “Hidden Figures” that features TV stars (Taraji P. Henson and Jim Parsons), music artists (Janelle Monae), indie darlings (Octavia Spencer and Mahershala Ali) and movie legends (Kevin Costner) would tantalize every branch of the Screen Actors Guild. How appropriate that a film about inclusion and acceptance also had the most industry-wide appeal that encompassed all entertainment genres.
2. The female contingent.
In recent years, the SAG ensemble winners on both the film and TV sides have notably honored large casts dominated by women. From “Chicago” (2002) and “The Help” (2011) claiming Best Film Ensemble, to “Desperate Housewives” (2004, 2005), “Downton Abbey” (2012, 2014, 2015), “Grey’s Anatomy” (2006) and “Orange is the New Black” (2014, 2015) winning the TV ensemble prizes, a female-driven project like “Hidden Figures” seemed to fit the pattern perfectly. None of the other SAG ensemble nominees this year — “Captain Fantastic,” “Fences,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” — starred a woman in the leading role, although Viola Davis is arguably a co-lead to Denzel Washington in “Fences.”
3. Box office success story.
If the box office has any influence at all on the popular vote of the SAG Awards, “Hidden Figures” ran away with the top prize. As of this writing, it’s earned $104 million domestically (and growing). While the ensemble nominees were sent to SAG voters via either DVDs or digital screeners, at the end of the day more people saw “Hidden Figures” where it was meant to be seen: on the big screen. That had to count for something.
4. It’s the best cast. Period.
Taking all of the other reasons out of play for a moment, I believed “Hidden Figures” would win the SAG Award because it’s simply the best cast. Oftentimes awards prognosticators get caught up on tertiary things like patterns and precedents and forget to take into consideration the quality of the contender, in this case the ensemble cast. The three leads (Henson, Spencer and Monae) are perfect in their scenes together, but they also have their own storylines that are all equally intriguing. To paraphrase from the film’s original song by Pharrell Williams, “Hidden Figures” was “runnin'” toward a Best Film Ensemble victory and nothing could stop it.
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