What will SAG Awards mean for Oscars?

Not surprisingly, the Screen Actors Guild Awards is one of the best precursors as to who will win the four acting categories at the Oscars. Over the past two decades, these kudos have previewed 57 of the 80 Oscar winners for acting (if you count Benicio del Toro, who won in lead at SAG in 2000 for “Traffic” and supporting at the Oscars and Kate Winslet who did the reverse, winning supporting at SAG in 2008 for “The Reader” and lead at the Oscars). 

All four of last year’s Oscar acting champs first prevailed here. However, that marked only the fifth time in 20 years that the guild hit a home run. In both 2012 and in 2011, SAG winners went three for four at the Oscars. 

The guild is far less reliable when predicting Best Picture. In the 19-year history of the Best Ensemble award, that winner went on to take Oscar’s top prize only nine times. Last year, “American Hustle” won this honor but “12 Years a Slave” claimed the top Academy Award. In 2012,  “Argo” won here first before triumphing at the Oscars. And SAG presaged two of Oscar’s biggest upsets: “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998, and “Crash” over “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. 

Below, an analysis of this year’s SAG nominations, including handicapping the likelihood of these prizes previewing the eventual winners slate at the Oscars. (Oscar nominees are in gold)

BEST FILM ENSEMBLE (previewed Oscar winner 9/19 years)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

The SAG lineup includes five of the eight Oscar nominees for Best Picture. The other contenders for the top Academy Award are: “American Sniper,” Selma” and “Whiplash.” While we expect the union to embrace the actor-centric “Birdman,” we are predicting “Boyhood,” a film with just four actors in the nominated ensemble, to win Best Picture.

Last year, SAG went just three for five, nominating eventual Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave” as well as “American Hustle,” which won here, and “Dallas Buyers Club.” The other two SAG nominees –“August: Osage County” and “The Butler” — were snubbed by the Oscars in favor of “Captain Phillips,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” as well as the two-handed “Gravity.” 

In 2012, SAG foresaw four of the the nine Best Picture nominees: “Argo,” “Les Miserables,”  “Lincoln,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” They opted for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” over eventual Oscar contenders “Django Unchained,” “Life of Pi,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” The other two Oscar nominees — “Amour” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” — were ineligible with SAG. Both SAG and the Oscars went with “Argo.” 

SAG Awards predictions:
‘Birdman’ will soar above film rivals

BEST FILM ACTOR (previewed Oscar winner 16/20 years)
Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitaton Game”)
Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler“)
Michael Keaton (“Birdman”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”)

All but Gyllenhaal contend at the Oscars; he got bumped by Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper“). We  are predicting Keaton will win here before repeating at the Oscars. 

Last year, the guild previewed academy nominations for Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) but preferred Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillps) and Forest Whitaker (“The Butler”) over eventual Oscar contenders Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) who may have been hurt here by their films opening late in the season.  McConaughey won both awards. 

In 2012, SAG foresaw four of the five eventual Best Actor Oscar nominees: Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”),  and Denzel Washington (“Flight”). The guild opted for John Hawkes (“The Sessions”) over Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”). Day-Lewis won both awards. 

SAG Awards TV predictions:
‘House of Cards,’ ‘Orange is the New Black’ 

BEST FILM ACTRESS (previewed Oscar winner 14/20 years)
Jennifer Aniston (“Cake“)
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”)
Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“)
Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl“)
Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“) 

The Oscars endorsed four of the five SAG nominees, substituting past champ Marion Cotillard (“Two Days, One Night”) for Anistion. Moore is the clear frontrunner for both awards. 

Last year, SAG included four of the five women — Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Judi Dench (“Philomena”) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”) — that reaped Oscar bids with the academy snubbing Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”) in favor of Amy Adams (“American Hustle”). Blanchett won both awards. 

In 2012, SAG presaged just three of the nominees for Best Actress at the Oscars — Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook) and Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) — as eventual Oscar nominees Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour) and Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild) were ineligible for these kudos. Lawrence won with SAG before claiming the Oscar. 

SAG Awards predictions slugfests:
Our editors battle over Film & TV races (Videos)

BEST FILM SUPPORTING ACTOR (previewed Oscar winner 12/20 years)
Robert Duvall (“The Judge“)
Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”)
Edward Norton (“Birdman”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”)
J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”)

SAG nailed the eventual Oscar lineup. Simmons, a veteran character actor, is tipped to take both races. 

Last year, the guild tipped just three of the Oscar nominees: Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips), Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”). As in the lead acting race, late arrivals “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” reaped Oscar bids for Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill respectively over SAG nominees Daniel Bruhl (“Rush”) and James Gandolfini (“Enough Said”). Leto won both races. 

In 2012, SAG foresaw four Oscar nominees — Alan Arkin (“Argo”), Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”) and Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) — but cited Javier Bardem (“Skyfall”) over eventual Oscar champ Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained“). The SAG winner was Jones. 

PGA Awards film predictions:
‘Boyhood’ will win, as will Oscar-snubbed ‘Lego’ and ‘Life Itself’

BEST FILM SUPPORTING ACTRESS (previewed Oscar winner 14/20 years)
Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”)
Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”)
Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods“)
Emma Stone (“Birdman”)
Naomi Watts (“St. Vincent”)

SAG had four of the Oscar contenders, opting for Watts over Laura Dern (“Wild”). Arquette is expected to add both awards to her already crowded mantle. 

Last year, the guild got four Oscar nominees — Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”), Lupita Nyongo (“12 Years a Slave”), Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”) and June Squibb (“Nebraska”) — but went for Oprah Winfrey (“The Butler”) instead of Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”). Nyongo won both awards.

In 2012, SAG had three of the eventual Oscar nominees — Amy Adams (“The Master”);  Sally Field (“Lincoln”); Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”); Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”) — but opted for Nicole Kidman (“The Paperboy”) and Maggie Smith (“Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) over eventual Oscar nominees Amy Adams (“The Master”) and Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”). Hathway won over both the guild and the academy. 

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

If you haven’t made your SAG Awards predictions yet, there’s still time. Click here to visit our predictions center, where you can enter your picks in each category listed below, or use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to get started and be in with a chance to win $100 if you get the highest score. 

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