SAG Awards mystery: Is bigger always better in the movie cast category?

With the Screen Actors Guild Awards just around the corner, one has to wonder: Does more talent on screen automatically translate to more awards?

In the 27-year history of the ensemble film award (it was first awarded at the second ceremony), the movie with the largest cast has triumphed 11 times. The winning films are, in order, “Shakespeare in Love” (1998) with 12 eligible cast members, “Traffic” (2000) with 19, “Gosford Park” (2001) with 20, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) with 19, “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) with 11, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) with 16, “The King’s Speech” (2010) with nine, “The Help” (2011) with 12, “Argo” (2012) with 13, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) with 11 and “Black Panther” (2018) with 12.

This translates to the films with the largest ensembles winning approximately 40 percent of the time, so one could say that the odds are not in their favor, but it’s not unheard of for them to win either. This then raises the question: What are the chances that Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon,” which features this year’s biggest ensemble, will join this illustrious bunch? It’s certainly got some star power.

SEE Full list of SAG Awards nominations

The movie, which tells the story of Hollywood as it transitions from silent films to the sound era, features a total of 13 credited actors, including Brad Pitt, who has tied Cate Blanchett’s record of the most ensemble film nominations at seven. But because Screen Actors Guild Award rules stipulate that only those who have their own title cards are eligible for the award, not every actor in a film with a large ensemble is eligible to be included. So by these rules, the nominated ensemble includes Tobey Maguire and Margot Robbie, who each have three career ensemble nods, as well as Jovan Adepo, P.J. Byrne, Diego Calva, Lukas Haas, Olivia Hamilton, Li Jun Li, Max Minghella, Rory Scovel, Jean Smart and Katherine Waterston.

But although “Babylon” has the largest ensemble cast of all the films nominated, it failed to snag a single individual nomination for any of its stars. The only other nominated film to not earn an individual bid is Sarah Polley’s critically acclaimed “Women Talking,” which features 11 actors. Both films’ lack of recognition elsewhere could help explain why they currently sit in fifth and fourth place, respectively, in Gold Derby’s combined odds to win film ensemble. However, it should also be noted that four films have managed to eke out an ensemble win without any individual nominations. They are “The Full Monty” (1997), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Black Panther” and “Parasite” (2019).

Still, it will likely take a lot for any film to knock “Everything Everywhere All at Once” from first place. The movie, which earned five nominations, features seven credited cast members and has emerged as the undeniable frontrunner, boasting 82/25 odds with 11 Experts and 10 Editors predicting it to triumph. “The Banshees of Inisherin” — which features the smallest cast with just four eligible actors, all of whom scored individual bids as well — sits in second place with 19/5 odds, while “The Fabelmans” and its seven credited cast members sit in third at 9/2.

Should “Babylon” somehow manage to overcome the impossible and come out on top, it will be the second career ensemble win for Pitt after “Inglourious Basterds.”

SAG Awards odds for Best Film Ensemble
Who will win?

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