Austin Butler’s screen acting career began 16 years ago, but, in many ways, he’s still just getting started. His breakthrough role as Elvis Presley in 2022’s “Elvis” has brought him some of his best notices yet, and he may now be on the precipice of a film industry awards season winning streak. This could include a Best Film Actor victory at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which would be historic in that he would be the youngest man to ever take the prize.
At age 31, Butler is the youngest of Gold Derby’s five presently predicted Best Film Actor SAG Award nominees by a margin of 15 years. He ranks third on our list behind Brendan Fraser (54, “The Whale”) and Colin Farrell (46, “The Banshees of Inisherin”) and ahead of Bill Nighy (73, “Living”) and Tom Cruise (60, “Top Gun: Maverick”). The strongest contender who is younger than Butler is Jeremy Pope (30, “The Inspection”) in seventh place, while our top 20 includes five more actors who range in age from 20 to 30: Gabriel Labelle (“The Fabelmans”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”), Diego Calva (“Babylon”), Timothée Chalamet (“Bones and All”), and Felix Kammerer (“All Quiet on the Western Front”).
By winning this SAG Award, Butler would break an age record that has been held for 27 years by Nicolas Cage, who was 32 when he won for “Leaving Las Vegas” at the second annual ceremony. Also in 1996, 20-year-old supporting champ Kate Winslet (“Sense and Sensibility”) earned the still-intact distinction of being the youngest solo film SAG Award winner overall. The remaining two individual movie category titles belong to Jennifer Lawrence (Actress, 22, “Silver Linings Playbook,” 2013) and Heath Ledger (Supporting Actor, 28, “The Dark Knight,” 2009).
Butler, who could lower the age record bar in his category by 220 days, would be the 14th youngest man to ever compete for the award. Jamie Bell, who was 14 when he snagged a bid for “Billy Elliot” in 2001, remains the youngest lead film contender in SAG Awards history, given that Evan Rachel Wood (16, “Thirteen,” 2004) tops the female list. The corresponding supporting category record holders are Jacob Tremblay (9, “Room,” 2016) and Dakota Fanning (7, “I Am Sam,” 2002).
Those who would rank between Bell and Butler on the list of youngest Best Film Actor nominees are Chalamet (22, “Call Me Your Name,” 2018), Emile Hirsch (22, “Into the WIld,” 2008), Ryan Gosling (26, “Half Nelson,” 2007; 27, “Lars and the Real Girl,” 2008), Ledger (26, “Brokeback Mountain,” 2006), Jesse Eisenberg (27, “The Social Network,” 2011), Matt Damon (27, “Good Will Hunting,” 1998), Joseph Fiennes (28, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999), Daniel Kaluuya (28, “Get Out,” 2018), Adrien Brody (29, “The Pianist,” 2003), Taron Egerton (30, “Rocketman,” 2020), Leonardo DiCaprio (30, “The Aviator,” 2005), and Joaquin Phoenix (30, “Walk the Line,” 2006).
Nominations for the 29th SAG Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 11 with the ceremony following on Sunday, February 26.
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