‘Downton Abbey’ will make history if it claims a spot in Screen Actors Guild film ensemble category

Fans of PBS’ “Masterpiece Classic” series “Downton Abbey” clearly missed the aristocratic Brits known as the Crawley family after the series set in the 1920s went off the air in 2015 after six seasons. They gladly flocked to movie theaters  in September to reunite with the likes of Hugh Bonneville as patriarch Robert,  Elizabeth McGovern as wife Cora and the irascible Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham as well as the earthier members of the downstairs serving staff who are all a-twitter when King George V and Queen Mary come for dinner.

Focus Features cashed in at the box office with a $31 million opening, a record for the studio. The movie has since grossed $90 million domestically and $165 million worldwide. The next step? Awards season, especially the Screen Actors Guild, which honored the TV series with its drama ensemble trophy three times, in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

But this time, the big-screen version is eligible to compete as a film ensemble — which is considered to be SAG’s equal to Oscar’s Best Picture. It would  be the first time that a TV-inspired feature with the same cast competed for the top movie prize. Steven Soderburgh’s 2000 crime drama”Traffic,” which won for its ensemble, was based on the British series “Traffick” but featured other performers.

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Currently, the combined SAG odds for best film ensemble places “Downton Abbey” at No. 4. In the lead is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” followed by “Marriage Story,” The Irishman” and “Little Women” in fifth place.

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