After the recent revelation that my SAG polling suggests an easy victory for Rami Malek as Best Actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I’ve been asked about results in other categories. Truth be told, I often have limited time when speaking to various SAG members in New York City. They’re often in a rush to get to the subway, an audition, or the next table at the restaurant in which they’re working. (You can imagine their confusion when I ask for the rigatoni with eggplant, followed by their thoughts on “A Star is Born.”)
Nonetheless, I’ve done my best to assess SAG votes in the Best Cast in a Motion Picture field. After reading off the names, there’s one response that comes up more than any other.
Can you repeat the choices?
Indeed, many SAG folks are a little baffled by the ensemble nominations. (It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.) They have to think long and hard before making their selection. This makes it pretty tricky to determine a front runner.
But based on my years of studying the SAG Awards plus my conversations with actual voters, I’m going to take a stab at it. I strongly suggest that you NOT make this your own prediction, as it probably is more than a little crazy.
For what it’s worth, here are five reasons why “Crazy Rich Asians” could pull off an upset for Best Cast at the SAG Awards.
1. It arguably has the strongest ensemble.
The key to victory is often a large cast with an assortment of colorful characters. No other film fits the bill like “Crazy Rich Asians.” While the story revolves around Constance Wu and Henry Golding, a number of golden scene-stealers are also on display. That includes everyone from an amusing Awkwafina and a monstrous Michelle Yeoh to the luminous Lisu Lu and the kooky Ken Jeong. “Crazy” further benefits from its heavy interplay between the assorted actors. If SAG voters are looking for the best chemistry, “Crazy Rich Asians” contains the essential elements.
2. It’s the only female-driven cast in the group.
In my conversations with SAG cardholders, I’ve noticed a clear pattern. Female actors seem especially fond of “Crazy Rich Asians.” It certainly makes sense, as it’s the ensemble nominee that features the most of them. I suspect that support from women helped carry 2011’s “The Help” and 2016’s “Hidden Figures” to SAG victory in pretty tight races. Go figure. Lady luck could lead “Crazy Rich Asians” to similar success.
3. It’s a comedy.
This is no joke. When we think of film award favorites, we generally discount those movies made to make us laugh. The SAG statuette might be one of the few exceptions. In its relatively short history, a number of pictures have laughed their way to the Best Cast prize. That includes 1996’s “The Birdcage,” 1997’s “The Full Monty,” 2004’s “Sideways” and 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” Other recipients may not have been classified strictly as comedies, but contained heaps of humor. Consider 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” 2001’s “Gosford Park,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” 2013’s “American Hustle” and 2014’s “Birdman or: (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.”) In short, it would be foolish to ignore the farce in this year’s lineup. “Crazy Rich Asians” really could get the last laugh.
4. The other contenders face disadvantages.
In my conversations with SAG members, they often share their thoughts about the different films. Some thespians seem reluctant to vote for a comic book movie, which doesn’t paint a good picture for “Black Panther.” A surprisingly large number haven’t seen “BlacKkKlansman,” making it a real dark horse. Since they’re already going with Malek for Best Actor, a vote for “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems a little redundant. As for “A Star Is Born,” they generally agree that it’s a star-driven project rather than a real ensemble. That leaves “Crazy Rich Asians” the most viable contender.
5. It will make a statement if it wins.
SAG voters aren’t necessarily the most political people, but they certainly pay attention. They’re especially sensitive when it comes to issues of inclusion and diversity. Much was made of the fact that “Crazy Rich Asians” was the first major studio release with an all-Asian cast in 25 years. Its critical and commercial success proved that Asian-American/Asian actors can deliver quality product as well as big box office. If the SAG society thinks outside the box and looks at the bigger picture, “Crazy Rich Asians” could be in for its craziest and richest reward yet come January 27.
Be sure to make your SAG Awards predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on Jan. 27. And join in the fierce debate over the 2019 SAG Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.