SAG Awards predictions: Viola Davis (‘How to Get Away with Murder’) should watch out for Maggie Smith (‘Downton Abbey’)

viola davis how to get away with murder maggie smith downton abbey sag best tv drama actress

Viola Davis is the defending champion for Best TV Drama Actress at the SAG Awards for her role as a ruthless defense attorney on “How to Get Away with Murder.” She’s also the reigning Emmy champ, and on top of that she has two other past SAG wins for Best Film Actress and Best Film Ensemble for “The Help.” Her acting peers clearly admire her, so it’s no surprise that she’s the frontrunner to win again, but she should watch out for another awards darling: Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey“).

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Our Top 24 Users, who had the highest scores predicting last year’s SAG winners, overwhelming favor Davis to repeat. Twenty of them expect her to win, giving her 2/7 odds: Harley Diamond, TonyThomas, Draz, eastwest, Bird, dosmax, KingJay, Eng Keat, SenanL, MovieMania, bondzzz, JonathanMasongsong, GermnArturoCortsMatus, SupaDupa Fly, Noe, OberynShmartell, steo, Awardzilla, AayaanUpadhyaya and wienrdog0.

Last year there was a seven-way tie for best predictions at 88% (seven out of eight categories correct), and of those predicting Davis, Bird, bondzzz and steo all had that top score, and bondzzz also had the highest points total because of his smart use of his 500 and 200-point big bets, so it would be wise to heed their predictions.

But two more of our top users, FreemanGriffin and Nika Litt, are predicting Maggie Smith, giving her 9/1 odds. FreemanGriffin also had 88% accuracy last year, so maybe he actually has the right idea. Smith is even more of a SAG darling than Davis; she won this award in 2013 in addition to Best Drama Ensemble with the “Downton” cast in 2012 and 2014. Before that she claimed Best Film Ensemble in 2001 for “Gosford Park.” And that doesn’t even count her two Oscars and three Emmys. It would be foolish to rule her out of any awards contest.

One of our top users, smor, thinks Robin Wright (“House of Cards“) will prevail for the first time after five past nominations for her film and TV work, giving her 16/1 odds. And Chels725 is betting on Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“), who is tied with Alec Baldwin as the most honored actor in the history of the SAG Awards with eight victories, though she hasn’t won since 2010.

None of our Top 24 are predicting the last nominee Claire Danes (“Homeland“), who won this prize in 2012.

Our Editors, we who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, also forecast a repeat victory for Davis. Four out of six of us say she’ll win: Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Matt Noble and myself. The last two, Rob Licuria and Paul Sheehan, think Smith will win again.

Are we right? Is it between those two women, or is there a surprise in store?

Compare SAG odds: Experts vs. Editors vs. Top 24 Users vs. All Users

What do you think will win at the SAG Awards? Make your predictions beginning with Best TV Drama Actress to the right or at the bottom of this post.

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Photo credits: “How to Get Away with Murder” by ABC; “Downton Abbey” by PBS

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