‘Hidden Figures’ at SAG Awards: 4 reasons why it’s runnin’ toward a Best Film Ensemble victory

When “Hidden Figures” wins Best Film Ensemble at the SAG Awards on January 29 (yes, “when” it wins, not “if”), please don’t call it an upset victory, or a shocking triumph, or a jawdropper. I believe this is one of the easiest races to call at the SAG Awards, so why is it that not a single one of Gold Derby’s SAG experts is predicting it to win? Of our 15 SAG experts, three have “Hidden Figures” in their #2 positions (Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz and Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil & Paul Sheehan), but no one agrees with me that it’ll prevail. Below, see my four reasons why I’m so confident that “Hidden Figures” will win Best Film Ensemble, and then have your say by sounding off in the comments section.

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1. Every genre is represented.
The more than 100,000 members of SAG-AFTRA aren’t necessarily all actors, but they are all insiders who work in the various film/television/entertainment/media fields. That means a film like “Hidden Figures” that features TV stars (Taraji P. Henson and Jim Parsons), music artists (Janelle Monae), indie darlings (Octavia Spencer and Mahershala Ali) and movie legends (Kevin Costner) will tantalize every branch of the Screen Actors Guild. How appropriate that a film about inclusion and acceptance also has the most industry-wide appeal that encompasses all entertainment genres.

[WATCH] ‘Hidden Figures’ interviews: Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Pharrell Williams

2. The female contingent.
In recent years, the SAG ensemble winners on both the film and TV sides have notably honored large casts dominated by women. From “Chicago” (2002) and “The Help” (2011) claiming Best Film Ensemble, to “Desperate Housewives” (2004, 2005), “Downton Abbey” (2012, 2014, 2015), “Grey’s Anatomy” (2006) and “Orange is the New Black” (2014, 2015) winning the TV ensemble prizes, a female-driven project like “Hidden Figures” seems to fit the pattern perfectly. None of the other SAG ensemble nominees this year — “Captain Fantastic,” “Fences,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” — star a woman in the leading role, although Viola Davis is arguably a co-lead to Denzel Washington in “Fences.”

SAG Awards nominations 2017: Full list of nominees

3. Box office success story.
If the box office has any influence at all on the popular vote of the SAG Awards, “Hidden Figures” will run away with the top prize. As of this writing it’s earned $65 million domestically (and growing), compared to $47 million for “Fences,” $37 million for “Manchester by the Sea,” $15 million for “Moonlight” and $5 million for “Captain Fantastic.” While all nominees have been sent to SAG voters via DVDs or digital screeners, at the end of the day more people have already seen “Hidden Figures” where it was meant to be seen: on the big screen. That has to count for something.

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4. It’s the best cast. Period.
Taking all of the other reasons out of play for a moment, I believe “Hidden Figures” will win the SAG Award because it’s simply the best cast. Oftentimes awards prognosticators get caught up on tertiary things like patterns, rules and precedents and forget to take into consideration the quality of the contender, in this case the ensemble cast. The three leads (Henson, Spencer and Monae) are perfect in their scenes together, but they also have their own storylines that are all equally intriguing. To paraphrase from the film’s original song by Pharrell Williams, “Hidden Figures” is “runnin'” toward a Best Film Ensemble victory and nothing can stop it.

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

Make your SAG picks and tell industry insiders which shows, films and performers you have out front to win on January 29.  You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before the show time. Be sure to make your predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s nominees). Read our contest rules.

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