SAG Awards Best Actress Predictions: Lady Gaga’s Oscar snub burned all the tea leaves

Well, this year’s race for Best Actress is in complete disarray, and the SAG Awards are proving harder to predict than most years. The Best Actress lineup includes four women who are individually cited, but not included in the Best Ensemble category: Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”) and Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”). The only one to score bids in both categories is Lady Gaga for “House of Gucci.” Normally, this could be the key component that vaults Gaga into the pole position.

The reviews for “House of Gucci” have been mixed, but most critics and movie-goers alike could agree that Gaga’s performance was one of the year’s best. She won the New York Film Critics Circle Award, solidifying her foundation as a real contender. She is the only actress in this field who scored a BAFTA nomination, proving her performance was well-received internationally. If you based your predictions solely on statistics, Gaga was making a pretty good case for herself to pull off a win this Sunday.

SEE: How often does the film with the largest ensemble win?

However, Gaga ranks fourth in our odds, just ahead of Hudson, and there is a reason for that. Both of them were snubbed by the Oscars. There is a glaring statistic that can’t be ignored. Not one Best Actress winner in SAG Awards history has failed to earn a corresponding Oscar nomination. So any advantage Gaga had from that Best Ensemble bid (or even her BAFTA nod) has been wiped out. Alas, Gaga’s big snub burned all the tea leaves.

Looking back on past SAG Awards history, only 10 out of 27 Best Actress winners have also landed ensemble nominations. That’s a 37% success rate, which is solid but far from a strong overlap. Best Actress champs that scored that additional ensemble bid include Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love”), Annette Bening (“American Beauty”), Renée Zellweger (“Chicago”), Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”), Meryl Streep (“Doubt”), Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”), Viola Davis (“The Help”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) and Davis again for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

From that group, half would go on to also win the ensemble award with their respective casts: Paltrow, Bening, Zellweger, Davis (for “The Help”) and McDormand. All of this suggests a lack of overlap between Best Actress chances and ensemble nominations, but it certainly doesn’t impact chances in a negative way. The ensemble category is more or less equivalent to Best Picture at the Oscars, an indication of what films are being liked and supported by actors in the industry. “House of Gucci” making it into the top category when none of Gaga’s competitors’ films could was a positive for the Oscar-winning songwriter.

SEE: SAG Awards nominated lead actresses: Jessica Chastain, Olivia Colman, Lady Gaga…

Best Actress, even more so than Best Actor, tends to go to performers who completely dominate their film. The last three winners (Davis, Close and Zellweger) literally play title characters in their movies. Those kinds of films do not always showcase other actors enough to be considered worthy of Best Cast, and thus, do not have that overlap. This could be good news for Chastain and Colman, who are supported by good performances but are given so much screen time compared to everyone else that a Best Cast bid would have been unlikely anyway. As such, Kidman, Chastain and Colman, the Oscar nominees in this field, now seem to be in a tight three-way race to victory.

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