Until January 2018, the Screen Actors Guild Awards had a notorious lead actress curse: no one had ever won the category twice. Frances McDormand broke it, taking home a second statuette with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) to go with her first for “Fargo” (1996). And you know, when the dam breaks, it’s hard to stop the flood. Last season, “Judy’s'” Renee Zellweger won her second lead SAG Award, and now Viola Davis could be next with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Davis, who previously won for “The Help” (2011), currently tops our odds, holding a 10/3 lead over none other than McDormand (“Nomadland”), who’s at 39/10. Her lead here is actually larger than the one she has over McDormand in our Oscar odds, but that’s not surprising since the SAG Awards adores Davis, who has five wins across film and TV; the other four were for her supporting turn in “Fences” (2016), film ensemble for “The Help” and TV drama actress, where she scored back-to-back awards for “How to Get Away with Murder.”
The Oscar winner also boasts the type of performance in “Ma Rainey” that appeals to SAG voters, undergoing a physical transformation to play a real person, the titular blues legend — and she also does some of her own singing. McDormand delivers a far more internalized performance, but if she prevails, she’d become the first person to win the category three times. Only two other performers have three individual SAG Awards for film: Daniel Day-Lewis (all in lead) and Zellweger (two in lead, one in supporting).
McDormand was able to translate both of her lead actress SAG wins into Oscar victories. Zellweger nabbed her first statuette for “Chicago” (2002), but lost the Oscar to Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”). The following year, she cruised through the season for her supporting performance in “Cold Mountain” (2003) and just did the same in lead with “Judy.” Davis lost the Oscar for “The Help” to Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”), but got her little gold man for “Fences.”
Rounding out our predicted SAG top five are Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) and Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”).
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