[WATCH] SAG Awards film slugfest: What’s next for ‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight’ & ‘Manchester by the Sea’?

The big news when the Screen Actors Guild announced the 2017 SAG Award nominations on Wednesday, December 14, was the absence of “La La Land” from Best Film Ensemble. Coupled with the strong showings for “Manchester by the Sea” (four nominations) and “Moonlight” (three nominations), does that mean the Oscar race for Best Picture has a new frontrunner? I joined Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon and Zach Laws to discuss the implications of these nominations. Watch our video slugfest above or listen to the audio podcast below.

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Beachum still doesn’t think there’s any chance that “La La Land” will lose the top Oscar. It’s so far out front that even if it were mysteriously absent from the Best Picture lineup altogether he’d predict it to win as a write-in vote. No film since “Braveheart” (1995) has won the Oscar without at least a nomination for Best Ensemble at SAG, but Beachum notes that every year at least one seemingly reliable Oscar bellwether falls by the wayside, like “Argo” (2012) winning without a directing nomination; or “Birdman” (2014) winning without an editing bid; or “Spotlight” (2015) taking top honors without support from the Producers Guild, Directors Guild or BAFTA Awards. Besides, “La La Land” isn’t an ensemble piece; it’s predominantly driven by its two main actors — Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone — and they were both nominated, as expected.

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But Laws cautions that it’s still early enough in the Oscar race for another film to catch up in the Best Picture race, as happened in 2014 when “Boyhood” seemed to be the clear Oscar frontrunner until momentum abruptly shifted to “Birdman” upon the announcements of the industry guild awards. So perhaps the tide really is turning in favor of “Manchester by the Sea” or “Moonlight.” What do you think?

Make your SAG predictions now; change them till Jan. 29

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