“The Crown” is on an awards roll. It just won Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes and also picked up Best Drama Actress for Claire Foy. The series has also scored three SAG Award nominations: Best Drama Ensemble, Best Drama Actor (John Lithgow) and Best Drama Actress (Foy). Typically, SAG prefers familiar faces so most new shows have to wait a year or more to get recognized by their fellow actors, which proves just how strong and popular the show already is. If “The Crown” should sweep all three of its SAG categories, it will be only the fourth drama ever to do so.
“The Crown” is Netflix’s most ambitious production to date, costing $125 million. It tells the story of the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and has a pedigree that’s hard to ignore. All 10 episodes for season one were written by Peter Morgan, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated at the Oscars for his original screenplay for “The Queen” (2006), also about Elizabeth II. He received another Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay for “Frost/Nixon” (2008). Morgan is an expert at portraying Her Majesty, having also penned the original play “The Audience,” which won Helen Mirren a Tony (2015) to match her Oscar for “The Queen.”
“ER” in 1998 was the first show to accomplish a SAG sweep, winning Drama Ensemble with Anthony Edwards and Julianna Margulies taking home individual prizes. Then “The Sopranos” accomplished this twice (2000 and 2008) when it took home Drama Ensemble with Edie Falco and her onscreen husband James Gandolfini recognized for their individual contributions. “The West Wing” also did it twice, and has additional bragging rights in that it’s currently the only show to pull it off twice in a row (2001-2002), winning Drama Ensemble and individual honors for Martin Sheen and Allison Janney.
According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds as of this writing, “The Crown” is in second place with odds of 3/1. It’s currently behind “Game of Thrones,” which is the all-time biggest Emmy champ but is aiming for its first SAG Ensemble victory with leading odds of 7/5. And right behind “The Crown” is the three-time champ and fellow British production “Downton Abbey” with odds of 4/1. Both productions will be each other’s biggest hurdle since they risk cancelling each other out with their similar styles and subject matter.
Foy looks to add a SAG Award to her quickly expanding trophy case but will need to pull off an upset this time as she is currently in second place with odds of 2/1. Foy will have to overcome the frontrunner, “Westworld” scene-stealer Thandie Newton, who currently has odds of 21/20, but in a close race anything could happen. Remember that SAG has already awarded Mirren in “The Queen” for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in 2007, so Foy could easily be next.
Looking to recover after losing unexpectedly at the Golden Globes is John Lithgow who would be the first actor to win SAG on both the comedy and drama side. Lithgow currently sits in first place with odds of 2/3. But this is not a sure thing as he will have to get past a trio of Emmy winners: Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”). Also standing in Lithgow’s way is SAG’s two-time reigning champion Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”).
If “The Crown” should pull off three wins it will solidify its standing as the show to beat going into the Emmys. The show and stars Lithgow and Foy are already strong Emmy contenders, but perhaps a SAG Ensemble victory could boost the profiles of Matt Smith, who plays Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, and Vanessa Kirby, who portrays Elizabeth’s younger sister Princess Margaret. It will also validate the show as the new premier drama on Netflix, perhaps usurping “House of Cards.”
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