2018 SAG Awards predictions: Experts & Editors jump ship to Sam Rockwell, but top users still say Willem Dafoe will win

Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) is the SAG Awards frontrunner to win for his role as a violent, racist cop after winning at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, but not everyone thinks so. There still a strong chance Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) will emerge victorious for playing an empathetic motel manager.

As of this writing Rockwell gets leading odds of 4/5 based on the combined predictions of nearly 2,000 users who have entered their picks at Gold Derby thus far. That includes 15 Expert film journalists we’ve polled, 12 of whom are backing Rockwell: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Erik Davis (Fandango), Edward Douglas, Grae Drake (Rotten Tomaroes), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).

Five out of eight Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby also think Rockwell has the advantage: Chris Beachum, Eng, Marcus James Dixon, O’Neil, and myself.

But that’s not the whole story. Dafoe ranks a close second in our predictions with 13/8 odds. Three Experts think he’s still ahead: Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Brian Truitt (USA Today), and Adnan Virk (ESPN). And so do three of our Editors: Rob Licuria, Matt Noble, and Paul Sheehan. Perhaps even more significantly, a lot of our top users are still on Dafoe’s side. Twelve of our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s SAG Awards, think the veteran actor will prevail, compared to 11 who are forecasting Rockwell. And our All-Star Top 24, who got the highest scores when you combine the last two years predictions, are split right down the middle with 11 picking Rockwell and 11 picking Dafoe.

Dafoe has been a favorite of critics all season, but “The Florida Project” hasn’t been widely embraced apart from Dafoe’s performance. Sometimes an overdue actor doesn’t need broader support for their film to win; consider Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) and Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), who swept their awards seasons despite being the only nomination for their respective films at most events. But Rockwell nevertheless has the benefit of the film with the most SAG Award nominations (four) and which is a likelier contender for the Best Picture Oscar. Will that be enough to overcome sentiment for Dafoe playing a more sympathetic role?

Be sure to make your SAG predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 21. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 SAG Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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