Imelda Staunton looks poised to do what Olivia Colman couldn’t: Win a solo SAG Award for ‘The Crown’

The fifth season premiere of Netflix’s “The Crown” is set for November 9, and the anticipation surrounding it couldn’t be higher. For two years, viewers have been eagerly awaiting the historical drama’s depiction of the British royal family’s lives during the 1990s, especially since the show’s cast has been completely overhauled for the second time. The starring role of the recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II has been passed from Olivia Colman to Imelda Staunton, who could soon emulate Colman’s predecessor, Claire Foy, by nabbing an individual SAG Award for the part. Although Colman was unable to win the guild’s favor during her regal tenure, Staunton appears to have a more than plausible path to victory.

According to Gold Derby’s SAG Awards predictions, Staunton is comfortably in first place in the Best Drama Actress race. Included among her challengers are “Ozark” castmates and perennial nominees Laura Linney (second place) and Julia Garner (fifth), the latter of whom just won her third supporting Emmy for the crime drama. Staunton’s own costar, Elizabeth Debicki (third), and reigning lead Emmy champ Zendaya (“Euphoria,” fourth) round out our current Top 5. The only actress who could pull off a repeat win in this category this year is 2019 victor Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”), who is 26th in our ranking.

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Before Jung Ho-yeon took this prize last year for “Squid Game,” Gillian Anderson won it in 2021 for playing Margaret Thatcher on “The Crown.” Colman was nominated alongside her for the show’s fourth season, as was Emma Corrin, who originated the role of Princess Diana that now belongs to Debicki.

Colman first came up short here in 2020 against Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”). Besides Anderson’s one and Foy’s two (2017 and 2018) individual wins, “The Crown” has received a pair of SAG Awards for Best Drama Ensemble (2020 and 2021) and one for Best Drama Actor (John Lithgow, 2017).

Staunton’s own SAG Awards history dates back to 1999, when she shared in a Best Film Ensemble victory for “Shakespeare in Love.” The fact that her husband, Jim Carter, was also part of the cast made them the first of only two married couples to win said award for a single project (the second being Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones for “Traffic” in 2001). In 2005, Staunton picked up her only solo SAG Award bid to date for “Vera Drake” but went on to lose that Best Film Actress contest to Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”).

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The newest season of “The Crown” will cover familiar ground by focusing on the queen’s relationships with Prime Ministers John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) and Tony Blair (Bertie Carvel) as well as the dissolution of Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana’s marriage. Staunton is under scrutiny since Helen Mirren already won a SAG Award for playing a ‘90s version of the same monarch (Best Film Actress, “The Queen,” 2007), but she certainly has the chops to make the part her own.

Nominations for the 29th SAG Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 11 with the ceremony following on Sunday, February 26. The awards are expected to be televised, although the organization has yet to partner with a new network after reaching the end of their decades-long deal with TNT and TBS.

PREDICT the 2023 SAG Awards nominees through January 10

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