The Screen Actors Guild first began handing out awards in 1995 with Best Actress going to Jodie Foster (“Nell”), but in the 22-year history of these kudos no actress has won Best Actress twice. So if either Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) or Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) does so this year she would make history as the first at the SAG Awards.
To date Daniel Day-Lewis is the only performer to win more than one SAG Award in the lead race, winning Best Actor for “Gangs of New York” (2003), “There Will Be Blood” (2008) and “Lincoln” (2013). Four women have won two individual SAG Awards, but never twice as leads: Kate Winslet won Best Supporting Actress for “Sense and Sensibility” (1996) and “The Reader” (2009); Helen Mirren won Best Supporting Actress for “Gosford Park” (2002) and Best Actress for “The Queen” (2007); Renee Zellweger won Best Actress for “Chicago” (2003) and Best Supporting Actress for “Cold Mountain” (2004); and Cate Blanchett won Best Supporting Actress for “The Aviator” (2005) and Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” (2014).
Along with Streep four other women have tried but fallen short of winning two Best Actress SAG Awards. After Mirren won for “The Queen” in 2007 she attempted a second win for “The Last Station” (2010) and “Hitchcock” (2013). Hilary Swank boxed her way to a SAG Award for “Million Dollar Baby” (2005) but was an also-ran for “Conviction” (2011). Reese Witherspoon played June Carter Cash and took home the SAG Award for “Walk the Line” (2006) but came up empty-handed for “Wild” (2015). Sandra Bullock took home a SAG Award for her role as an adoptive football mom in “The Blind Side” (2010) but couldn’t float away with another for “Gravity” (2014).
Streep won her Best Actress SAG Award on the film side for the adaptation of the play “Doubt” (2009). The next year she was nominated for playing Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” (2010) but was bested by Bullock (“The Blind Side”). Two years later Streep returned to the Best Actress SAG Award race for playing the first female prime minster of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, in “The Iron Lady” (2012) but in one of the closest races in recent years lost to Viola Davis (“The Help”). Streep returned again two years after that in another adaptation of a play, “August: Osage County,” (2014) but came up short to Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”).
Portman won her only prior individual SAG Award nomination for “Black Swan” (2011). Now Portman is hoping to get her Oscar campaign back on track after her surprise Golden Globe loss to Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), who is not nominated here. Meanwhile, Streep is looking to capitalize on her powerful acceptance speech for the Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille Award and the Twitter backlash she faced from President Donald Trump.
According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds as of this writing Emma Stone (“La La Land”) is expected to win the SAG Award for Best Actress with odds of 4/5. Portman is poised to upset in second place with odds of 8/5. Streep currently appears out of the hunt in fourth place with odds of 50/1. But those odds may be deceiving as she is behind Amy Adams (“Arrival”), also with odds of 50/1, who was just snubbed by the Oscars.
If either Streep or Portman should win their second Best Actress trophy this weekend it would not only be a SAG Awards first, it might also drastically improve their odds at the last precursor, BAFTA, and then for the big prize, the Oscar.
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