“Stranger Things” is so popular with the Screen Actors Guild that, in addition to a bid for Best Drama Ensemble, it received two nominations for Best Drama Actress: Millie Bobby Brown and Winona Ryder. The irony of that popularity is that it introduces vote-splitting to the race, likely costing “Stranger Things” a victory in the Drama Actress race. But how often does vote-spitting really happen to TV stars at the SAG Awards?
In the four individual SAG TV categories, there have been 23 instances of two co-stars being nominated against each other and the remainder of the nominees coming from different series. Not one of these resulted in a win for the double-nominated series. This pattern also bodes poorly for this year’s Best Comedy Actress nominees Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin from “Grace and Frankie.”
A recent example of this phenomenon came in the Best Comedy Actor race. Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) lost to Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) three times before defeating him on his fourth bid — for the final year of “30 Rock,” no less. The difference was that Burrell had always been nominated opposite a co-star before that. The year following Burrell’s victory, Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) was again nominated, but he and Burrell both lost to William H. Macy (“Shameless”).
Vote-splitting notably does not yield such adverse results when multiple sets of co-stars are nominated against each other. For example, Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) won nominated opposite her co-star Debra Messing for 2003 when fellow nominees Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts were splitting the “Everybody Loves Raymond” vote; Mullaly lost the other year that Messing was nominated when they were the only vote-split in the category.
Splitting the vote also doesn’t seem to prevent a win when three co-stars are nominated against each other, like when Edie Falco defeated her “The Sopranos” co-stars Lorraine Bracco and Nancy Marchand for 1999 Best Drama Actress. Finally, vote-splitting has not seemed to affect the Movie/Limited Series acting races, where co-stars frequently prevail over one another.
Here are the 23 times in the 22 ceremonies before this year in which a single pair of co-stars lost after being nominated together:
Best Drama Actress
2012: Michelle Dockery & Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”) lost to Claire Danes (“Homeland”)
2004: Drea de Matteo & Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”) lost to Jennifer Garner (“Alias”)
2003: Stockard Channing & Allison Janney (“The West Wing”) lost to Frances Conroy (“Six Feet Under”)
Best Drama Actor
2014: Woody Harrelson & Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective”) lost to Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)
2008: William Shatner & James Spader (“Boston Legal”) lost to Hugh Laurie (“House”)
1999: Dennis Franz & Rick Schroeder (“NYPD Blue”) lost to James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”)
1998: Dennis Franz & Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue”) lost to Sam Waterston (“Law & Order”)
1997: Dennis Franz & Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue”) lost to Anthony Edwards (“ER”)
1994: Hector Elizondo & Mandy Patinkin (“Chicago Hope”) lost to Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue”)
Best Comedy Actress
2011: Julie Bowen & Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) lost to Betty White (“Hot in Cleveland”)
2007: America Ferrara & Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”) lost to Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)
2004: Patricia Heaton & Doris Roberts (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) lost to Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”)
2001: Kim Cattrall & Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”) lost to Megan Mullaly (“Will & Grace”)
2000: Debra Messing & Megan Mullaly (“Will & Grace”) lost to Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”)
1999: Calista Flockhart & Lucy Liu (“Ally McBeal”) lost to Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”)
Best Comedy Actor
2014: Ty Burrell & Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) lost to William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
2012: Ty Burrell & Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) lost to Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
2011: Ty Burrell & Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) lost to Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
2010: Ty Burrell & Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) lost to Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
2005: William Shatner & James Spader (“Boston Legal”) lost to Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”)
1999: Kelsey Grammer & David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) lost to Michael J. Fox (“Spin City”)
1998: Kelsey Grammer & David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) lost to Michael J. Fox (“Spin City”)
1994: Kelsey Grammer & David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) lost to Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld”)
Do you think that “Stranger Things” can defy the odds to win Best Drama Actress for either Millie Bobby Brown or Winona Ryder? Make your predictions before it is too late! You can change your predictions up until the ceremony on January 29. Also log your picks for the Oscars, Grammys and other awards shows.