With the Screen Actors Guild Awards coming up this Sunday, I figured it was time to lay out my predictions as to which contenders I feel have the best chance of winning. Without further ado, let's dive right in.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
SALLY FIELD / Mary Todd Lincoln – “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine – “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)
HELEN HUNT / Cheryl – “THE SESSIONS” (Fox Searchlight)
NICOLE KIDMAN / Charlotte Bless – “THE PAPERBOY” (Millennium Entertainment)
MAGGIE SMITH / Muriel Donnelly – “THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL” (Fox Searchlight)
This category seems like it's pretty much locked up tight for Anne Hathaway, who gave a brilliant performance in Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables." As I said back in my review of the film, her performance is heartbreaking, especially as she makes you feel every bit of her pain during her beautiful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." She's won the category nearly everywhere, which would make it a major upset should anyone else end up taking it.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel – “ARGO” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JAVIER BARDEM / Silva – “SKYFALL” (Columbia Pictures)
ROBERT DE NIRO / Pat, Sr. – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN / Lancaster Dodd – “THE MASTER” (The Weinstein Company)
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens – “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
My best guess for this category would be Tommy Lee Jones for his outstanding performance in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." His character is one who has to compromise his own beliefs in order to help the President get his amendment passed, but he also does it with the grand touch of being a pretty good insult comic. While Jones seems like the strongest choice of the bunch, it's not a lock. I wouldn't be surprised if Philip Seymour Hoffman snuck in to take the win for his fascinating performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." It's a pretty good bet that the award will go to one of the two, but again, I'm leaning toward Jones to take it.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Maya – “ZERO DARK THIRTY” (Columbia Pictures)
MARION COTILLARD / Stephanie – “RUST AND BONE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Tiffany – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
HELEN MIRREN / Alma Reville – “HITCHCOCK” (Fox Searchlight)
NAOMI WATTS / Maria – “THE IMPOSSIBLE” (Summit Entertainment)
The race for Best Actress is a very close one this year between Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. Lawrence gives a touching and funny performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" while Jessica Chastain gives a determined and confident performance in "Zero Dark Thirty." Between the two, I would have to lean towards Lawrence to take it, simply because her performance was more memorable than Chastain's, whose performance kind of gets drowned out and put in the background of an overly-long film. However, this is another one that's by no means a lock as both actresses have won this award in several places.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRADLEY COOPER / Pat – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln – “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
JOHN HAWKES / Mark – “THE SESSIONS” (Fox Searchlight)
HUGH JACKMAN / Jean Valjean – “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Whip Whitaker – “FLIGHT” (Paramount Pictures)
Now we come to another category that's pretty much a lock, this time for Daniel Day-Lewis and his brilliant performance as President Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln." I can't imagine anyone being able to take this or the Oscar away from him at this point. However, imagine how interesting a Hugh Jackman upset would be? If SAG's biggest honor goes the way I think it is, then it could possible happen. Remember last year when everyone thought that George Clooney has this category in the bag, that is, right up until Jean Dujardin won it (and eventually the Oscar) unexpectedly. Just goes to show that you can never be too sure. But seriously though, they probably already have Day-Lewis' name engraved on the award (and the Oscar as well).
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
"THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL"
"SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK"
We come to it at last, the Screen Actors Guild's top honor. This is an award that means quite a lot, particularly because there has only been one instance where an eventual Best Picture winner has not gotten a nomination in this category. However, it's also been shown that a win here can turn the tide of the Oscars (Remember when "Crash" won here and eventually took Best Picture despite "Brokeback Mountain" having all the momentum from the Producers Guild and Directors Guild?)
There have already been several people with their own theories as to who will win this award, but it seems to be down to two top contenders. There is by no means a lock here, but if I had to predict which film I think will win the award, I would have to go with "Les Misérables," not only because it's got a fantastic cast and is the very definition of a great ensemble, but also because it is the exact kind of film that SAG loves to honor in this category (it also doesn't hurt that it's won a few Best Ensemble awards already).
Looking back at the past few winners, we have films like "The Help" (which has very strong performances from Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, with a solid foundation of support from Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Jessica Chastain, and more), "Inglourious Basterds" (which has strong performances from Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent, with a solid foundation of performances from Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, and more), and even "Slumdog Millionaire" (which has pretty good lead performances from Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, with a decent supporting base of several performers).
This is the exact kind of film that "Les Misérables" is. It features amazing performances from Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway and has a very strong supporting foundation of Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samantha Barks, and more. Basically, SAG tends to go for films with a couple of great performances at the top with a large, strong base of support.
However, I can't discount "Lincoln." It's basically the "The King's Speech" of this year (You may recall that TKS won Best Ensemble two years ago). "Lincoln" has a strong trio of brilliant performances at the top (Day-Lewis, Jones, and Field) with a couple of really good supporting performances (Strathairn and Spader). "The King's Speech" was the same, but with Firth, Rush, and Carter as the brilliant leads, and Pearce and Gambon as the really good supporting performances. Basically, these are films that have more great performances at the top with smaller bases of support.
There are those that think that "Silver Linings Playbook" has a chance, and it does, albeit a small one. It's depending most on the strong performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who don't have much of a supporting base with the forgettable performances of Jackie Weaver and Robert De Niro. The film's best chance at winning this award is for the vote to be split among "Les Misérables" and "Lincoln" so much that it sneaks in to take the victory.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a great example of an ensemble film and features some wonderful performances, but it just doesn't have the awards oomph to give it a victory. Simple as that.
"Argo" is a rather strange inclusion here. It isn't really an ensemble film, nor does it have any performances that stand out from the rest, making it a rather big mystery as to how it ended up in the category. It doesn't fit into either category I've described, which pretty much gives it little to no chance of winning.
So there you have my best guesses as to what will win this Sunday night. A couple of them are pretty sure bets, while a few of them are a little up in the air, which will no doubt make it interesting to watch the results. You can watch the awards ceremony live when it airs on Sunday night at 8 EST.
Feel free to leave comments with your picks and why you think they will or should win.