SAG Awards: ‘Stranger Things’ defies the odds, wins stunt TV ensemble trophy

Heading into the 2023 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors, Top 24 Users and All-Star Users collectively had “Stranger Things” in fourth place to win Best TV Stunt Ensemble. In fact, only 56 people worldwide (out of 2,507 total predictors) forecasted it would prevail here tonight. However, the Netflix sci-fi show defied the odds on Sunday, February 26 by claiming the trophy over co-nominees “House of the Dragon,” “Andor,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “The Boys.” (See the complete SAG winners list.)

The 1980s nostalgic show was up for its third stunt bid after losing to “Game of Thrones” in both 2017 and 2019. It prevailed this year for its well-reviewed fourth season in which our heroes travel back and forth between our world and the Upside Down, where they interact with the villainous Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). Something tells us SAG Awards voters weren’t able to stop humming Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill” as they marked their ballots.

First place in Gold Derby’s SAG Awards odds was “House of the Dragon.” HBO’s red-hot prequel series takes place about 200 years before the events of awards juggernaut “Game of Thrones.” “Dragon” was hoping to emulate “GoT’s” history in this specific stunt category, where it went eight-for-eight at the SAG Awards. It boasts a sprawling cast (led by Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as the adult Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen) and is filled with immaculate stunt work including sword fighting and dragon riding.

“Andor” was second place in our rankings. The latest “Star Wars” offshoot from Disney+ hoped to follow in the footsteps of “The Mandalorian,” which won the stunt race in 2020 (the first year after “Game of Thrones” ended). “Andor” stars Diego Luna as his character Cassian Andor from the feature film “Rogue One” (2016), a thief who will one day join the Rebel Alliance that opposes the Galactic Empire. Viewers also see flashbacks to when he was a child and became an orphan on his home planet, Kenari.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” came in third place for the win. Amazon Prime Video delves into the rich world of J. R. R. Tolkien with this prequel series that takes place thousands of years before “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Robert Aramayo and Morfydd Clark lead the show as Elrond (a half-Elven architect and politician who uses his friendship with the Dwarves to better the lives of his people) and Galadriel (an Elven warrior who tries to warn others about the villain Sauron potentially returning to Middle-earth), respectively.

“The Boys” rounded out our predictions. This marked the second stunt citation for “The Boys” after its initial bid in 2020. Season 3 of the Amazon Prime Video comic-book series aired last summer and introduced a brand new superhero, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), who may have a special connection with the flawed Homelander (Antony Starr). Notable stunt work this year includes flying, fighting and one very memorable superhero orgy.

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