SAG Awards predictions: ‘Spotlight’ far in front for Best Film Ensemble

spotlight cast

Spotlight” is the early frontrunner to win Best Film Ensemble at the SAG Awards according to the combined predictions of Expert film journalists we’ve polled, along with Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the top scores predicting last year’s SAG nominations and hundreds of Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors. Almost all of them back its bid and that support translates into overwhelming odds of 1/10 to win.

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Singled out for a SAG nomination from the “Spotlight” cast is featured actress Rachel McAdams

Three of the other four contenders also reaped individual acting bids.

From “The Big Short” cast, Christian Bale is up for Supporting Actor as is Idris Elba from “Beasts of No Nation.” 

Among McAdams rivals for Best Supporting Actress is “Trumbo” scene-stealer Helen Mirren while Bryan Cranston contends for Best Actor for the title role. 

The fifth nominee is “Straight Outta Compton.” 

If, as we expect, “Spotlight” wins Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards does that give it the advantage in the Best Picture race at the Oscars? 

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The SAG Awards, decided by the industry actors who make up the recently merged SAG-AFTRA union, has been a fairly reliable predictor of the winners of the four acting races at the Oscars. However these kudos are nowhere near as accurate when it comes to forecasting the Best Picture champ. Only half of the 20 SAG’s winners for Best Ensemble have taken the academy’s top prize.

That’s because SAG’s Ensemble award emphasizes the performances rather than the overall quality of the films.

Thus the category tends to honor character-driven films with large casts, including “Shakespeare in Love,” “Traffic,” “Gosford Park,” “Crash,” “The Help” and last year’s champ “Birdman.”

Only rarely do films with small casts prevail: “Sideways” won with only four main cast members, and “Little Miss Sunshine” won with six, though both films were road movies featuring a number of group scenes, highlighting the chemistry among their stars.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” won in 2003 despite SAG’s usual bias against sci-fi and fantasy films, but that was an anomaly: capping one of the most successful franchises in recent film history, “Return of the King” was virtually unbeatable throughout awards season.

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“Spotlight” photo credit: Open Road Films

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