SAG Awards: Are we underestimating Jeff Bridges (‘Hell or High Water’) for Best Supporting Actor?

Are we underestimating Jeff Bridges at the SAG Awards? The industry legend is nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Marcus Hamilton, a Texas Ranger on the trail of two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) roaming the land robbing banks, in “Hell or High Water.” Should he prevail on Sunday night, it could dramatically shake up that race at the Oscars.

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Bridges won the SAG award as Best Actor for “Crazy Heart” (2009), leading to his first Academy Award victory. He has contended three additional times at the guild:

Best Supporting Actor for “The Contender” (2000); lost to Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich”)

Best Film Ensemble for “Seabiscuit” (2003); lost to “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Best Actor for “True Grit” (2010); lost to Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”)

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This year, he competes at the guild against Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”), Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”), and Dev Patel (“Lion”). Right now, the odds-on favorite is Ali, who also took the Critics Choice Award. Yet the “Moonlight” star hit a stumbling block when he lost the Golden Globe to Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”), who failed to receive an Oscar or SAG nomination.

That leaves the door wide open for a new frontrunner to emerge on Sunday. Other veteran film stars to win this category at SAG: Martin Landau (“Ed Wood,” 1994), Ed Harris (“Apollo 13,” 1995), Robert Duvall (“A Civil Action,” 1998), Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules,” 1999), Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich,” 2000), Ian McKellen (“The Lord of the Rings,” 2001), Christopher Walken (“Catch Me If You Can,” 2002), Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby,” 2004), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners,” 2011), and Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln,” 2012).

Bridges, a beloved Hollywood staple of nearly 50 years who until “Crazy Heart” was widely overlooked by the Academy, with four unsuccessful bids to his credit (Best Actor for “Starman” [1984] and Best Supporting Actor for “The Last Picture Show” [1971], “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” [1974], and “The Contender” [2000]). Since winning, he competed once more for Best Actor (“True Grit” in 2010), and there may be many within the industry who’d love to see him have a second statuette to keep the other one company. As well, it would be a great way to reward a film that received four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

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Will Bridges win the SAG Award on Sunday? Make your predictions before it is too late! You can change your predictions up until just before the ceremony starts at 8:00 p.m. ET; 5:00 p.m. PT on January 29. Also log your picks for the Oscars, Grammys and other awards shows.

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