A slew of stars flocked to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to pick up prizes in 6 film and 9 TV categories at the SAG Awards hosted by Kristen Bell on Jan. 21, 2018. This marked the 24th anniversary of a ceremony put on by the Screen Actors Guild that has a stellar reputation as a preview of the individual acting winners at the Oscars. Over the past 23 years, 67 of the 92 Oscar winners in the four acting races have first collected SAG Awards. This success rate of 73% breaks down as follows:
Best Actor: 18 of the SAG winners went on to win Oscars (plus Benicio del Toro who won in supporting at Oscars for “Traffic”). Denzel Washington ended a 12-year streak last year by winning at SAG for “Fences” but losing at the Oscars to Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”);
Best Actress: 17 of the SAG winners went on to victory at the Academy Awards, including the last five in a row;
Best Supporting Actor: 14 of the SAG champs also added an Oscar to their mantle, including last year’s double dipper Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”); and
Best Supporting Actress: 16 of the SAG choices were also those of the academy, including the last eight in a row (plus Kate Winslet who won in lead at Oscars for “The Reader”).
While there are 7,258 voting members of the motion picture academy who can cast ballots for the Academy Awards, there are 121,000 members of SAG. Rather than use the complicated counting methods employed by the Oscars to determine nominations and winners, the Screen Actors Guild Awards sticks to the first past the post method. The SAG Awards nominees were the top five vote-getters in each category while the winners were those who garnered the most tick marks in a second round of balloting.
Six years ago, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged with the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA). At the time of the merger, SAG had just under 100,000 members of whom approximately 40,000 were also AFTRA members and already eligible to vote on the SAG Awards. The AFTRA membership list totaled 60,000, so that meant 20,000 new voters were added to the ranks of SAG award voters.
Everyone in the combined union can vote for the winners of both the film and TV Screen Actors Guild Awards. Until last year, some of those one-time AFTRA folk — like the talking heads on CNN and Fox News — were eligible to take part in the nominating process to determine the best thespians on television. But the guild changed the rules so that both committees are composed of only those rank and film members over the age of 16 who are listed in the database as an actor/performer, dancer singer or stunt person.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.