The 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were handed out on Sunday night, February 27, honoring the best acting achievements in film and television in 15 total categories (check out the complete list of winners here). Six of those categories award motion pictures and often represent a significant turning point in the race for Oscars. So what does it all mean? Follow along below as I break down the winners live throughout the night (times listed are Eastern).
Nominees for the 2022 SAG Awards were decided by a nominating committee, randomly selected from the 160,000 members of the SAG-AFTRA industry union. But voting for winners was open to all members. Since these awards are presented by industry peers rather than film journalists like the Critics Choice Awards and various regional critics’ organizations (New York, Los Angeles, National Society, etc.), they often give us a good idea of what films might succeed at the Oscars, which are also decided by industry professionals.
In the lead actor category, 22 out of the 27 previous SAG Award winners went on to win the Oscar (one of those, Benicio Del Toro from “Traffic,” won the SAG Award in lead, but the Oscar in supporting). The two groups have also agreed on 19 out of 27 lead actresses, 18 out of 27 supporting actors, and 20 out of 27 supporting actresses (one of those, Kate Winslet from “The Reader” won the SAG Award in supporting, but the Oscar in lead).
But only 12 out of 26 ensemble cast winners at the SAG Awards have ended up winning Best Picture at the Oscars, likely because these awards specifically honor acting and not the overall quality of a film. For instance, last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, “Nomadland,” which was a character study focused mostly around Frances McDormand‘s central performance, wasn’t even nominated for its ensemble cast at the SAG Awards. But the Oscars aren’t all that matter here. For an actor, being nominated and awarded by your fellow card-carrying union members makes this one of the most meaningful prizes you can get.
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6:12pm — STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE — In one of the two stunt awards handed out before the prime time ceremony, “No Time to Die” was awarded for film (“Squid Game” won the TV stunts award). “No Time To Die’s” victory comes nine years after this award went to another James Bond film, “Skyfall” (2012), and it breaks a four-year winning streak for superhero films: “Wonder Woman” (2017), “Black Panther” (2018), “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), and “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020). “No Time” had to beat two superhero movies to pull off its victory: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Black Widow.” It also had a formidable challenger in “Dune,” which had the advantage of being one of Hollywood’s favorite films this year, earning 10 Oscar nominations including Best Picture.
8:08pm — MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE — Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) wins in an upset against Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”). Smit-McPhee has been sweeping critics left and right and “Power of the Dog” is the current front-runner to win the Best Picture Oscar, but this is the first major award voted on by members of the industry, which could put Kotsur ahead of Smit-McPhee in the Oscar race similar to how last year’s SAG Awards accelerated the momentum for Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”) on her way to winning the Best Supporting Actress race.
8:17pm — FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE — Ariana DeBose wins on the only nomination for her film “West Side Story” in a category where the only other nominee who made the cut at the Oscars was Kirsten Dunst (“Power of the Dog”). This category has the second most overlap with the motion picture academy, with 20 out of the 27 winners of this category going on to win Oscars, so DeBose is looking stronger and stronger there, and she’d be the second to win an Oscar for playing Anita in the musical, following Rita Moreno. Both film supporting winners were first-time SAG Award nominees this year.
9:45pm — FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE — After presenting the television categories for the past 90 minutes, the lead actress prize was awarded to Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”). This is her first individual acting win after previously winning with the cast of “The Help.” It’s a bit of an upset since Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) led our odds, but this was a wide-open race. Three of these nominees were also nominated at the Oscars. Only Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) is nominated at the BAFTAs, and she was snubbed by the Oscars. So this could tip the scales to Chastain since three of her competitors at the Oscars already have Oscars, and Chastain has had an IOU since “Zero Dark Thirty.”
9:55pm — MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE — Will Smith (“King Richard”) wins for his role as Venus Williams and Serena Williams‘s father and coach. Like Chastain, he has an overdue narrative this awards season having been nominated twice before for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” and making Hollywood billions of dollars over the course of his career. He’s been the front-runner for most of this awards season, and he’s holding steady at the top of the Oscar race with this win.
10:01pm — CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE — “CODA” wins the top award of the night for the best ensemble cast. The SAG Awards often go for casts with a lot of close interactions between cast members like the tight-knit family in this film, and honoring a rare film to center deaf characters and deaf actors is a groundbreaking moment that would’ve been hard for voters to resist. This also makes “CODA” the biggest film winner of the night with its pair of victories. No other film won more than one prize tonight. So will this be like the 12 past SAG Award winners that went on to take Best Picture at the Oscars, or like the 14 SAG Award winners that didn’t?