Oscar Experts Typing: Can ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ avoid going home empty-handed at the SAG Awards?

Welcome to Oscar Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Oscar race — via Slack, of course. This week, we consider upsets at the Producers Guild of America Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Christopher Rosen: Hello, Joyce! It feels like we’re in the home stretch: The DGA Awards and BAFTA Awards did the thing last weekend and by Sunday night, the PGA Awards and SAG Awards will have put their imprimatur on awards season’s best and brightest. We went over our picks for both ceremonies earlier this week, and I can’t say much has changed since we spoke via Zoom. I’m still pretty bullish on “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the PGA Awards, my love for “Top Gun: Maverick” notwithstanding. It is the Best Picture frontrunner until proven otherwise, and even with BAFTA breaking hard for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” it remains the most likely winner of Oscars’ ultimate prize. Besides, “All Quiet” isn’t even nominated here at the PGA Awards, making this choice even easier. But I’m still kind of wavering about all those actors. It feels like three of the four races are a coin flip at this point, and even the year’s biggest lock — Ke Huy Quan — has hit some potholes along the road to glory. We were in lockstep on our individual SAG picks: Cate Blanchett, Austin ButlerAngela Bassett and Quan. But I wouldn’t be shocked to get three of the four wrong. Butler is obviously up against a strong SAG competitor in Brendan Fraser, and A24 finally pulled out all the stops here in the last week of SAG voting — “The Whale” is out on VOD and the studio even put out a behind-the-scenes look at the makeup application process that turned Fraser into the 600-pound Charlie. If, like me, you think most SAG voters wait until the last possible second to actually vote, then this final push might be enough to get Fraser the victory in a close race. And if he wins, and gives another great speech in a room full of his peers, is that enough to get him the Oscar in two weeks? (I think no because “Elvis” is still stronger than “The Whale” as an overall movie, but your mileage may vary.) Over in the Best Actress race, it feels equally tight: Blanchett, Cate is a genius, of course, but most people have been with Michelle Yeoh from the start. It would be easy to imagine her winning on Sunday night and then just going ahead and taking the Oscar too. And then in Best Supporting Actress, Bassett has been pegged to win SAG since before we even took her seriously as an Oscar nominee. But Kerry Condon definitely has strong support — and is in the stronger movie, according to SAG voters, since “The Banshees of Inisherin” tied a SAG record with five nominations — and you could make the same argument for Jamie Lee Curtis. So, Joyce, will we go four for four in our SAG actor picks, one for four (I’m remain unconvinced Quan can get taken down) or something in between?

joyceeng: It’s funny how the odds favor a totally different quartet of winners at SAG than what we got at BAFTA. They all make sense and can absolutely win, but SAG and BAFTA have also never had zero overlap in acting winners in their 22 years of being Oscar precursors. We all expect the supporting categories to flip back to Bassett and Quan — their narratives and hit films play so much into SAG-AFTRA’s tastes — so that leaves the leads. Butler’s and Fraser’s type of roles are also up the group’s alley, but it feels like people are reluctant to disembark the Fraser train even though there have been lots of signs he’s not as strong as the online hype would lead you to believe. I also don’t think “The Whale” hitting VOD this week is a thing. It’s a thing for normies, who can finally watch the movie at home, but voters have screeners and A24 has been doing screenings with Q&As since early fall. Remember when we just had that one still of Fraser and no trailer? Those were the days. Fraser recently did a career retrospective with SAG-AFTRA and this would do more for his cause than a last-second VOD release. But Butler is also still out there shaking hands and taking selfies straight from BAFTA. Blanchett has proven tough to be taken down. Is this going to be like Critics Choice, where “Everything Everywhere” won multiple awards but Blanchett still prevailed? I have no idea how many people vote this way, but “Everything Everywhere” being in ensemble also gives people an out to honor Yeoh there since Blanchett is “TÁR’s” sole nomination. “Everything Everywhere” losing ensemble would be the biggest shocker to me, more so than if Bassett or Quan were to lose. In a different era, “Banshees” could win “Sideways”-style, but I fear it’ll go 0-5. But make the case for it to pull an upset in any race, even if it’s a write-in vote for Jenny.

SEE Experts slugfest: SAG and PGA Awards winner predictions — will ‘Everything Everywhere’ win everything?

Christopher Rosen: I’ll go ahead and make the case for Condon since we’ve kind of circled that race as more fluid than perhaps initially expected. “Banshees” is obviously well liked by SAG-AFTRA, and while she isn’t a household name in comparison to Bassett and Curtis, Condon has multiple showcase moments in the film opposite her fellow nominees. We’ve been conditioned to expect Bassett to be the frontrunner here because we were basically told she is the frontrunner: Pundits started the noise about her back in November, the Golden Globes confirmed our priors in January, and then the Critics Choice Awards followed suit. But the industry hasn’t necessarily warmed to Bassett or “Black Panther” in the way it has for “Banshees.” I still expect her to win because she’s Angela Bassett and SAG has an affection for veteran stars. But if Condon emerges victoriously on Sunday night, I wouldn’t be shocked — and I think it might be pretty obvious in hindsight that she was always the choice in this category, noisy prognosticators notwithstanding. What about you, Joyce? Do you think Condon can take the category by storm on Sunday night?

joyceeng: If Condon wins SAG, this is feckin’ over. Maybe Jonathan Banks‘ unexpected individual nom for “Better Call Saul” bodes well for his onscreen daughter-in-law. Bassett probably has too much going for her to fall at SAG, but as I’ve said, the BAFTA is enough for Condon to remain in play for the Oscar. Yesterday, the Aussies weighed in with their AACTA International Awards, where Bassett was not nominated, and Condon won — so did Butler, Blanchett (shocking), Brendan Gleeson (Barry Keoghan was not nominated), Baz Luhrmann and “Avatar: The Way of Water” for Best Picture, a wild choice I am not mad about that also continues our streak of different Best Picture winners everywhere. So that’s two industry prizes for Condon now. We’ve made comps to Lauren Bacall/Juliette Binoche and Sylvester Stallone/Mark Rylance, but this race is also serving Olivia Colman/Glenn Close. Neither Bassett nor Close were expected to win the Globe, but their victories teed them up for their Critics Choice triumphs (the latter in a trademark tie with Lady Gaga, of course). Close was also riding heavy on narrative and won SAG, but she lost BAFTA to Colman, which was dismissed as home-field advantage, and ultimately came up short at the Oscars to a critically acclaimed turn in a top three film. The only difference is that Colman also had the Globe in a different category. I guess if you wanna call the upset, you’re better off doing it at the Oscars than SAG? We’ve skimped on PGA so far, but I think nearly everyone has “Everything Everywhere” taking it with “Top Gun: Maverick” on its tail. I don’t really see anything else being super competitive, but will Tom Cruise having saved Hollywood’s ass materialize into a tangible honor? That’s not counting the David O. Selznick Achievement Award he’s already getting at the ceremony.

SEE Oscar Experts Typing: Will Kerry Condon have the luck of the Irish over Angela Bassett at BAFTA?

Christopher Rosen: I’ll paraphrase another PGA Award loser that should’ve won here: if “Top Gun” was going to be a legit Best Picture frontrunner, it would’ve been a legit Best Picture frontrunner. So, no, despite saving Hollywood’s bottom, Cruise won’t come out on top. But if he does, you know I’ll be first in line to switch my Best Picture pick. I’ll leave you with the last word, Joyce. Happy guilds weekend part two!

joyceeng: The honorary award very much feels like a preemptive prize to ensure he is recognized for “Top Gun: Maverick” printing money. Several categories can really get wrapped up this weekend, but you know I love maximum anarchy, so I want the guilds to come through with some surprises like BAFTA did. But what I really need on Sunday is more bars from Ariana DeBose.

SAG Awards odds for Best Supporting Actress
Who will win?

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