How will the SAG Awards keep the winners from leaking out before Sunday?

This year results from the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be known before the ceremony even broadcasts on television. In an attempt to reframe the glitzy awards show amid the coronavirus pandemic, SAG Awards producers decided earlier this month to pre-tape the normally live event in the days before the Sunday, April 4 television broadcast. The hour-long ceremony air on TBS and TNT beginning at 8 p.m. ET, before a rebroadcast at 11 p.m. ET.

“We’re looking at trying to do a unique award ceremony in an hour and leave people saying, which they very rarely do [with an awards show], ‘Man, I wish we had more,’” executive producer Todd Milliner told Variety in early March.

Of course, the decision to pre-tape the awards show is not without risks. It’s extremely rare that such a high-profile competitive event would allow its nominees to know the results before the general viewing public. According to Deadline, SAG Awards organizers plan to split the television and film categories across two days — on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively — where nominees will congregate via videoconference to find out the results. The hope, executive producers claim, is that nominees (and presumably their friends, families, and representatives) will respect fellow actors enough to keep the outcomes secret until Sunday night.

“The actors have a tremendous amount of respect for the other folks in their union,” Milliner said to The Hollywood Reporter this week. “So we’re hoping that it’s a mix of honor and respect and then trying not to let a secret burn a hole in your pocket for a couple of days. We feel pretty confident that everybody’s going to play along.”

According to TheWrap, however, the confidence expressed by SAG Awards producers extends beyond just good sportsmanship: the publication reported all nominees and representatives will also sign nondisclosure agreements to keep the winners quiet. 

But assuming that all goes off without a hitch, the SAG Awards viewers on Sunday night won’t even have very much time to process the results. The 2021 SAG Awards will hand out 13 awards over the course of the hour-long broadcast, which is expected to last for roughly 46 minutes without commercials. In addition to the awards, the SAG Awards will feature pre-taped comedy sketches (like one with the cast of “Ted Lasso” that will open the show) as well as an in memoriam segment and the ceremony’s “I Am An Actor” testimonials.

“Doing all the pretaping allows us to shape the narrative and really get to the best stuff that the actors say, and the most interesting interviews,” Milliner said of the broadcast plans to THR. “And it’s packed full. We were just talking last night about how we wished we had 75 more minutes.”

“There’s going to be a lot on the cutting-room floor, I’m afraid,” executive producer Kathy Connell told the trade. “We’re leaning into the humor. We want to entertain.”

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