At Sunday night’s Golden Globes “La La Land” swept its categories winning seven awards, while “Fences,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” each had to settle for one trophy. Lucky for them that the next stop on the road to the Oscars is the Screen Actors Guild Awards where “La La Land” was snubbed for Best Ensemble. If one of these three films should win three awards, not only will it be only the fourth film to do so it would also re-energize its Oscar prospects.
The Screen Actors Guild first began handing out awards in 1995 but did not give out the Ensemble prize until the following year when “Apollo 13” was the inaugural winner. No film has ever swept all six of the film categories: Ensemble, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Stunts. Currently the record for the most wins is three, held by “American Beauty” (2000), “Chicago” (2003) and “The Help” (2012). All three of these triple champs won Best Ensemble and two individual acting races.
“Moonlight” is like “American Beauty” in that it is hoping to recover after a so-so Golden Globes. They both won Best Film Drama, but lost their acting categories. According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds “Moonlight” is the frontrunner to win Best Ensemble with odds of 9/5. Supporting actor Mahershala Ali will need to regain momentum after his shocking Globe loss to Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”), but Johnson will not contend at the SAG Awards and as of this writing Ali remains the overwhelming favorite with odds of 1/10.
So “Moonlight’s” chances of making history hinge on Naomie Harris pulling off an upset victory for Best Supporting Actress. Her odds currently have her in third place at 40/1. Harris winning would be a major upset as her chief competitors come from “Manchester by the Sea” (Michelle Williams) and “Fences” (Viola Davis), films that have as just much or more overall support from the Screen Actors Guild.
“Manchester by the Sea” currently is in second place with odds of 27/10 to win Best Ensemble behind “Moonlight.” And recent Globe winner Casey Affleck looks to cement his place as Oscar frontrunner with a SAG Award victory for Best Actor and is currently expected to do so with odds of 4/9. Like Harris, Williams faces an uphill battle trying to overtake Davis for Best Supporting Actress. Even though the odds currently have her in second place, she has steep odds at 20/1.
But maybe newcomer Lucas Hedges is in a better position to get “Manchester” to victory number-three. Currently Hedges sits in fourth place for Best Supporting Actor with odds of 50/1, but remember that Taylor-Johnson was in fourth place at the Golden Globes when he turned this race upside down. Hedges was left out of that Globes contest, so we really don’t know how he will factor in. He could pull off another upset victory and make this the most topsy-turvy race of the year.
“Fences,” an adaptation of a Tony winning play, is hoping to join Tony-winning adaptation “Chicago” on the list of three-time winners. “Fences,” like “Chicago,” will need to win Ensemble and a lead (Renee Zellwegger) and supporting (Catherine Zeta-Jones) category. “Fences” is currently in third place in the Ensemble category, but it’s very much in the race with odds of 4/1. And Davis is the overwhelming favorite to win her fifth SAG Award with odds of 1/10.
In order for “Fences” to get to three lead Denzel Washington will need the help of his fellow actors as he currently sits behind Affleck with odds of 10/3 in a close race. Working in Washington’s favor is that he is one of the most respected members of the acting community giving a big showy self-directed performance, and he’s never won a SAG Award. His fellow actors might not want to let this opportunity slip through their fingers.
If “Fences,” “Manchester by the Sea” or “Moonlight” achieves that kind of rare SAG dominance, it will enjoy a boost to its Oscar prospects and could possibly slow down the “La La Land” bandwagon. With none of these three films having had a stellar Golden Globes it really is anyone’s game as to who will win and how many.
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