Emily Blunt’s win as best supporting actress in the Screen Actors Guild Awards puts her in rare company with Idris Elba as the only SAG winners left off the Oscar ballot. Blunt won for her intense portrayal of a mom protecting her children against aliens in “A Quiet Place.” Elba won his supporting actor prize for playing the commandant of a tribal militia recruiting children as combat forces in “Beasts of No Nation.”
Elba’s omission in 2015 was part of the argument for #OscarsSoWhite. He’d been nominated for a Golden Globe and by BAFTA before winning the SAG and seemed destined for the finals at the Academy Awards.
Blunt had a second SAG nomination for best actress for “Mary Poppins Returns,” which also went unrecognized by the academy. Her place on the Oscar ballot for “A Quiet Place” was likely taken by Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) or Marina de Tavira (“Roma”) and it would be hard to argue that she deserved it more.
The SAG awards are strong indicators of Oscar success. In the 24 previous years of the awards, its winners have won both awards about 75% of the time.
In 16 of those years, at least three of the four SAG winners also won Oscars and on six occasions, all four SAG winners went on to win the Academy Awards in their categories. That won’t happen this year, obviously, but lead actor winners Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) could easily add trophies at the Academy Awards.
There has never been a year where all four SAG winners were shut out with the academy and only once was there just one. In 2001, Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”) won both SAG and Oscar awards while the other three SAG winners were left out of the big game.
Other oddities in the SAG/OSCAR relationship occurred in three back-to-back years at the turn of the millennium.
Benicio del Toro won the SAG award for leading actor for the 2000 “Traffic” and won the supporting actor award for the same role at the Oscars.
The next year, Jennifer Connelly’s SAG nomination as lead actress for “A Beautiful Mind” was downgraded to supporting actress with the academy and she won.
For 2002, the producers of “Chicago” got greedy and split their two leading ladies, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, into lead and supporting actress categories. It paid off at SAG where Zellweger won best actress and Zeta-Jones won for supporting. But only Zeta-Jones converted hers at the Oscars.
In 2008, Kate Winslet (“The Reader”) joined Del Toro as the only actors to win both awards for the same role, but hers were reversed from his. She won best supporting actress at SAG and the lead actress Oscar.
The omission of Blunt’s name from the supporting actress Oscar ballot this year, along with the omission of Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) from the SAG ballot, makes this the most interesting — at least the most open to speculation — acting category.
King looked like the one to beat until she hit the SAG snag. She was a critic’s favorite, winning supporting actress awards from the big three critics groups – the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. She also won the Golden Globe and gave a damn fine acceptance speech that academy members may remember.
How she was overlooked by SAG, and how “If Beale Street Could Talk” itself has been short-changed all season, is hard to understand. If King does win the Oscar, she’ll join Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”) and Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”) as the only actors to win the gold after being snubbed by SAG.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.