Rooney Mara (‘Carol’) ahead in SAG Supporting Actress race, but will Oscars promote her to lead?

carol rooney mara

Rooney Mara (“Carol“) leads our SAG predictions for Best Supporting Actress 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 the more than 1000 total Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors. Do you agree she’ll prevail?

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sag oddsMara gets leading odds of 15/8. There has been debate over whether Mara is really a supporting player in “Carol” (the Golden Globes ruled her a leading actress), but there is no ambiguity at the SAG Awards, where actors are officially entered into specific categories. This would be Mara’s first SAG nom, but if the academy disagrees with her category placement, they could upgrade her to the lead race as they previously did with supporting SAG contenders Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Whale Rider,” 2003) and Kate Winslet (“The Reader,” 2008).

Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl“) was also ruled a lead actress at the Golden Globes, but like Mara completes as a supporting player at SAG and ranks second with odds of 7/2. Also like Mara, this would be her first SAG nomination.

Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs“) ranks third with 5/1 odds, and she has much more experience at the SAG Awards. In addition to her win for the aforementioned “The Reader,” she also won Best Supporting Actress for “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and Best TV Movie/Miniseries Actress for “Mildred Pierce” (2011). In all, she has been nominated 11 times.

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Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight“) is another potential SAG rookie. The veteran actress’s career dates back years before the inception of the SAG Awards in the 1990s, but she’ll finally get her first chance at the prize according to our predictors. She ranks fourth with odds of odds of 15/2.

Speaking of veterans, the legendary Jane Fonda (“Youth“) is expected to round out the category, getting odds of 14/1. But even though she has won two Oscars out of seven nominations in her career, she only has one past SAG nom: Best Ensemble for “The Butler” (2013).

So what does this award mean for Oscar? No SAG category has a more complicated history with Oscar than Best Supporting Actress. While neither SAG supporting category is as reliable at predicting the academy’s choices as the lead races, Supporting Actress has the lowest rate of overlap for nominees of any of the acting categories. As for the rate of winners, that’s a longer story.

Only two-thirds of the SAG winners in this category (14 out of 21) went on to claim Oscars, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The first anomaly came in 1997, when there was a tie for the SAG Award: Kim Basinger (“L.A. Confidential”) and Gloria Stuart (“Titanic”) shared the Supporting Actress prize, but Basinger was the lone winner at the Oscars.

Then in 2000, Judi Dench (“Chocolat”) won SAG, but the Oscar went to Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”), who wasn’t even nominated by SAG. That marked the first time in history that the Oscar winner failed to even receive a SAG nomination. Since then, Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained“) staged this same comeback from a SAG snub in the 2012 race for Best Supporting Actor.

In 2001, Helen Mirren (“Gosford Park”) won SAG while Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”) won Oscar, but that’s because of a disagreement in category placement. SAG had nominated Connelly in the lead race.

The opposite happened in 2008. As mentioned above, Kate Winslet won SAG’s supporting race for “The Reader,” but the Oscars promoted her to the lead category and awarded her there. The Supporting Actress Oscar that year went to one of Winslet’s SAG rivals, Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), who must have been relieve to have Winslet out of the way.

Since then, however, SAG and Oscar have been in lockstep. They have agreed on the last six winners in a row, and all but six of the last 30 nominees. Is the category due another major surprise? That’s possible, depending on whether the Oscars decide Mara and Vikander are really leading ladies.

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Who do you think will win at the SAG Awards? Make your predictions beginning with Best Supporting Actress to the right or at the bottom of this post and you could earn a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who did the best predicting last year’s SAG nominations).

As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you log in and give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

“Carol” photo credit: Moviestore/REX

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