TV trophy magnets Jennifer Coolidge and Zendaya set for unprecedented SAG Awards showdown

The undefeated awards streak for either Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”) or Zendaya (“Euphoria”) is about to end.

In the seven years since the Critics Choice Television Awards were established as a winter tradition, an average of two small screen performers have steamrolled through each awards season by triumphing there as well as at the Emmys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The trend is practically guaranteed to continue this year, since three actresses are only missing SAG Awards after having collected the other three major prizes within the last five months. Limited series star Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”) is a shoo-in, but acting guild rules require her fellow juggernauts Coolidge and Zendaya to duke it out over the second potential new spot on the list.

Except for Coolidge’s Emmy, nearly all of the major trophies she and Zendaya have garnered since September have come for their work on their shows’ second seasons. Zendaya has exclusively been honored as a dramatic lead, but Coolidge has prevailed as both a featured player in a drama (Critics Choice) and a limited series (Emmy and Golden Globe). They are both nominated in the Best Drama Actress SAG Award category because the guild does not separate lead and supporting TV performances, and because Coolidge’s continued portrayal of her Season 1 character currently disqualifies “The White Lotus” from limited series classification.

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Gold Derby’s odds indicate that Coolidge, who holds 67% of our participating users’ top votes, is the one to beat in this SAG Award race. Her recent Emmy victory technically capped off her awards run for the first season of HBO’s “The White Lotus,” during which she picked up her first Critics Choice trophy but lost at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards to Sarah Snook of “Succession” and Kate Winslet of “Mare of Easttown,” respectively. This summer, her second-season portrayal of “White Lotus” character Tanya McQuoid will be eligible for TV academy recognition.

Zendaya is in second place on our Best Drama Actress predictions list with 28% of the top votes. Like Coolidge, her second awards season has been much more successful than her first. She was initially honored with an Emmy for her portrayal of Rue Bennett on HBO’s “Euphoria” in 2020, but lost the corresponding Critics Choice Award to Regina King (“Watchmen”) and failed to receive Golden Globe or SAG Award nominations that season.

The two frontrunners face competition from Julia Garner (“Ozark”), whose third place position is bolstered by her Emmy and Golden Globe wins for her show’s farewell season. She is up against her costar, Laura Linney, at the SAG Awards for the third time, while the last slot in the lineup is filled by Elizabeth Debicki (“The Crown”). The casts of “The White Lotus,” “The Crown” and “Ozark” are all currently competing in the Best Drama Ensemble SAG Award category, where the “Euphoria” team missed out after finishing 10th in our nominations predictions.

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The only precedent for the Coolidge-Zendaya showdown involved “Big Little Lies” cast mates Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern in 2018. After each winning an Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for the show (Kidman in lead and Dern in supporting), they faced off in the Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress SAG Award contest. Kidman ultimately emerged victorious, following Julianne Moore (“Game Change”) and Sarah Paulson (“American Crime Story”) as the third woman to rake in all four major accolades for a single non-continuing series performance.

Aside from Paulson, Kidman and Winslet, the list of actors who have swept single TV awards seasons within the last seven years includes limited series cast members Alexander Skarsgård (“Big Little Lies”), Darren Criss (“American Crime Story”) and Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”), dramatic performers Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”), and comedic stars Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”), Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”), Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”).

Interesting clashes will also occur outside of the Best Drama Actress category at this year’s SAG Awards, as Seyfried directly faces supporting Critics Choice Award winner Niecy Nash-Betts (“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”). The latter’s lead castmate, Golden Globe champ Evan Peters, is up against supporting Critics Choice Award and Golden Globe recipient Paul Walter Hauser (“Black Bird”), while Golden Globe victor Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”) and Emmy and Critics Choice Award winner Smart are involved in a heated Best Comedy Actress battle.

The winners in all 15 film and TV SAG Award races will be revealed during the 29th annual ceremony on Sunday, February 26. The live show will stream exclusively on Netflix’s YouTube channel.

PREDICT the 2023 SAG Awards winners

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