SAG Awards experts: ‘Birdman’ will win Best Ensemble

Among our 11 Oscarologists who have made predictions for the SAG Awards, eight of them are backing the bid by “Birdmanfor Best Ensemble at the 21st annual edition of these kudos on Jan. 25. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s sly satire of showbiz, which also reaped individual nominations for leading man Michael Keaton and supporting players Edward Norton and Emma Stone, boasts a cast that also includes Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan and Naomi Watts

But beware: Winning this precursor prize does not guarantee a repeat at the Oscars. Indeed, only nine of the 19 films that had the best cast according to the 100,000 plus members of the actors union have gone on to win over the 6,000 academy voters and claim Best Picture at the Oscars. Just last year, “American Hustle” won with SAG but lost the top Oscar to “12 Years a Slave.” (Scroll down to see the full list).

This year’s Oscars frontrunner, “Boyhood,” features only four credited actors (Patricia ArquetteEllar ColtraneEthan Hawke and Lorelai Linklater). Not surprisingly then, this film from writer/director Richard Linklater has just one Expert (Peter Travers of Rolling Stone) predicting it to prevail at the SAG Awards. That tepid support translates into odds of 8 to 1. 

Contrast that to the eight Experts backing “Birdman”: Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Thom GeierTom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Nicole Sperling (EW),  Susan Wloszczyna ( and me. Our endorsements give it leading odds of 4 to 9. 

Two of our Experts — Thelma Adams ( and Tariq Khan (Fox News) — like the looks of “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” This Wes Anderson charmer has a super-sized cast led by Ralph Fiennes and newcomer Tony Revolori in addition to supporting players Adrien BrodyF. Murray AbrahamWillem DafoeJeff GoldblumEdward Norton and Saoirse Ronan. It has odds of 9 to 2 to pull off an upset. 

Neither of the other two films in the running — “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” — has any first-place votes from our Experts. They are longshots at 50 to 1 and 100 to 1 respectively. 

UPDATED: Experts’ SAG Awards predictions in all categories

Below, a list of all the winners of the SAG Ensemble award with those that also won Best Picture at the Oscars noted in gold

2013 – “American Hustle” 
2012 – “Argo
2011 – “The Help”
2010 – “The King’s Speech
2009 – “Inglorious Basterds”
2008 – “Slumdog Millionaire
2007 – “No Country for Old Men
2006 – “Little Miss Sunshine”
2005 – “Crash
2004 – “Sideways”
2003 – “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2002 – “Chicago
2001 – “Gosford Park”
2000 – “Traffic”
1999 – “American Beauty
1998 – “Shakespeare in Love
1997 – “The Full Monty”
1996 – “The Birdcage”
1995 – “Apollo 13”

See latest SAG Awards rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

What cast do you think is going to win Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards this year? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

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