Glenn Close is beloved by her fellow actors, with “Hillbilly Elegy” producing her 10th career nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She won her first SAG Award for film two years ago for “The Wife” in the lead category. Now, she has the potential to join a very elite group of only four actresses who have won at SAG for lead and supporting roles in film should she take home the Best Female Supporting Actor prize for “Hillbilly Elegy.”
Renée Zellweger was the first to do it, winning lead for “Chicago” (2002) and supporting the very next year for “Cold Mountain.” She won a second lead award last year for “Judy.” Helen Mirren joined Zellweger soon after, winning supporting for “Gosford Park” (2001) and lead for “The Queen” (2006). Cate Blanchett was next, taking supporting for “The Aviator” (2004) and lead for “Blue Jasmine” (2013), followed by Viola Davis, winning lead for “The Help” (2011) and supporting for “Fences” (2016). All four women went on to win Oscars for at least one of their SAG-winning performances: Zellweger for “Cold Mountain” and “Judy,” Mirren for “The Queen,” Blanchett for both films, and Davis for “Fences.”
Close has a pretty good chance of winning again this year — she’s in first in our odds — considering the amount of respect she has in the industry. Voters have likely only seen Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”), Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”) and Helena Zengel (“News of the World”) in those individual performances, and Olivia Colman (“The Father”) has only become a breakout star in America over the past few years. Awareness of Close’s lack of an Oscar has only increased after her loss two years ago to Colman, for “The Favourite,” and SAG voters might want to give her a boost as she gives it another go this year.
Additionally, “Hillbilly Elegy” appears to be more liked at SAG than anywhere else this awards season, with Close’s co-star Amy Adams landing a nomination in lead. While Close lost at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, neither was exactly friendly territory for “Hillbilly Elegy,” considering how thoroughly critics and journalists disliked the film. The industry could be a different matter, especially with how Close’s transformative turn as Mamaw fits the archetype of the traditional supporting actress winner that actors tend to love. A Close victory would somewhat mirror Zellweger’s own awards run in the early 2000s: winning lead at SAG but losing the Oscar, then taking supporting on her next nomination. The question is whether Close can translate a hypothetical supporting SAG victory into winning that elusive Oscar, as Zellweger did.
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