Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX
I’m still working the kinks out, flexing my muscles, easing myself back into this blog. As you are probably aware, tomorrow will see the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards telecast. Since giving my opinion on weighty matters such as who will win which of the many awards the film industry likes to hand out to themselves is one of my specialties, I’m back with my predictions.
The SAG Awards and their show are all about the actors. We don’t have to waste time on the “crafts” or below-the-line names that no one recognizes and who run the show well past midnight, no matter how many times the orchestra tries to “play off” a winner who may never have this moment in the spotlight again and their over-long speech. (That was sarcasm, by the way. I’m one of those people who always stays for the credits at the end of a film. It’s the least we can do for those “below-the-line” names, without whom the film we’ve just watched could not be made.) In any case, I like the SAG Awards show. Unlike the Oscars, where everyone sits in a theater counting the minutes before they can hit the bar or the snack table, but like The Golden Globes, everyone sits at tables with their respective casts, many of whom have not seen each other since their project wrapped – unless, like the casts of La La Land or Moonlight, for example, they’ve been hitting the “circuit” together for the past few months. Food is served, if you get there on time, and the champagne flows freely. So tipsy actors get to accept awards given to them by their fellow actors. The speeches are generally the best of the major televised shows. And the show ends on time.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences
I have to go with Casey Affleck. He’s been dominating awards season in this category. If he loses to anyone, it will be to Denzel Washington, who has never won a SAG Award. No, really.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams, Arrival
Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land *
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
If SAG voting hadn’t already been concluded by the time Oscar nominations were announced, I might have gone with Amy Adams here, just to right the incredible wrong done to her by the Academy. But as it is, this comes down to early favorites Natalie Portman and Emma Stone. Jackie’s star has faded and I think the buzz has gone off of Portman’s portrayal. Emma Stone won the Golden Globe for Musical/Comedy and here, awarding her is a way to award the movie, since it was not nominated in the Ensemble category (because really, La La Land is a two-person film. There is no real ensemble).
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight *
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Another actor dominating most of the guild and critics awards is Mahershala Ali. I can’t really even make a case for anyone else in this category. Ali’s not a newcomer, he’s an actor who’s paid his dues and earned this time in the spotlight. He’s been part of nominated ensembles before, namely “House of Cards” and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and is part of two nominated ensembles this year, one of which will undoubtedly win, Hidden Figures and Moonlight
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis, Fences *
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Again, I can’t even begin to make a case for anyone else in this category. If Viola Davis doesn’t win this, all bets are off and Chaos is driving the bus (to really mix my metaphors).
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Manchester by the Sea
This is the toughie. All of these ensembles are strong, but this award is the equivalent of a “Best Picture”. That said, the only one of these films that has not been nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award is Captain Fantastic. So on that basis, I’m eliminating it from contention here. Which still leaves four incredible films. I think the next to go has to be Manchester By the Sea (despite the fact that it is still my favorite from this group) because that movie rests on Casey Affleck’s shoulders (albeit with able assists from Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges) and he will be recognized.
So, now it comes down to Fences, Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Any one of these could easily be rewarded for a number of reasons. I feel like I’m blindly throwing at a dartboard here, but I’m going with Moonlight. *fingers crossed*
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Captain America: Civil War
Hacksaw Ridge *
Throwing another dart at the board, I’m going with Hacksaw Ridge, another film up for a Best Picture Oscar (the only movie in this category that is) and it’s a war movie. Hollywood loves a good war picture almost as much as they do movies about the movie business. Eh, but what do I know? Doctor Strange has a pretty good pedigree as well. (Who doesn’t love Benedict Cumberbatch?)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
This is a category packed with worthy performances. I would be thrilled if either Riz Ahmed or John Turturro walked off with this for the incredible “The Night Of”, but I picked Courtney B. Vance for the Golden Globe and while he may have lost, I’m sticking with him for the SAG. He’s already won an Emmy, so it makes sense (and usually, so does the Screen Actors Guild, even if the HFPA does not).
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bryce Dallas Howard, “Black Mirror”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” *
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”
Well, Sarah Paulson has an Emmy and the Golden Globe so there’s no reason to think that she won’t prevail here as well. (If anyone spoils, I hope it’s Kerry Washington.)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
John Lithgow, “The Crown” *
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
I adore Peter Dinklage and Tyrion Lannister just like everyone else, but I’m team #JohnLithgow all the way. Dinklage will be back. Lithgow’s character won’t. I’m also a huge Kevin Spacey fan, but I’ve thrown in the towel on “House of Cards” (don’t hate). “The Crown” was just that good. Lithgow’s incredible transformation into Winston Churchill deserves to be rewarded.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Claire Foy, “The Crown” *
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
I went with Thandie Newton for the Golden Globe and Claire Foy bested her. Others are opting for Millie Bobby Brown, a new name on this list. I think the cast of “Stranger Things” has a good shot at the Ensemble Award, but I’m going with Claire Foy here. (And for the record, my real pick – the actress who truly gave the best performance of the year, JMHO – wasn’t even nominated. Let’s hope SAG – and the Emmys – catches up with the Golden Globes and eventually nominates Caitriona Balfe. C’mon!)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
I am not an avid comedy watcher. I used to watch “Modern Family”, but got bored a long time ago. I think William H. Macy is an extremely talented actor, but I can’t speak to his work in “Shameless” this season. I’m going with Jeffrey Tambor, because – well – Jeffrey Tambor. Doesn’t he own this category?
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”*
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
If SAG does love its repeat winners, then Uzo Aduba should be a lock, but Emmy keeps awarding Julia Louis-Dreyfus and SAG overlooks her. How long will this stand? I’m going with JLD. She gives great speeches.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Game of Thrones”
Oy! This is another tough one. A strong case could be made for every one of these series. “Downton Abbey” is done. They’ve won this award the last two years, will it win for its swan song? But again, “The Crown” is just that good. Will it split the “prestigious British show” vote? “Westworld” was fantastic and one of two water-cooler shows of the year. The other? “Stranger Things”, which could easily swoop in here and scoop this award. Throwing yet another dart, I’m going with “Game of Thrones”, which, in its sixth season, had arguably its best.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Orange is the New Black”
I’m running out of darts. I’m going with “Veep” because it has been around for six years, consistently well-written and well-acted and hilarious. It could be overlooked because it hits a little too close to the bone right now, in which case repeat winner “Orange Is the New Black” could prevail again or a brand new winner, in “Black-ish”, one just as relevant, could be crowned.
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“Game of Thrones” *
“Marvel’s Luke Cage”
“The Walking Dead”
The shows on this list (and if you’ll notice none are comedies – are there ever comedies on this list?) owe a great deal to their stunt teams, but in my opinion, none more so than “Game of Thrones”. You did see “Battle of the Bastards”, right?
So there you have it, my picks for the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards. I’ll post an update on the JMHO Facebook page with my percentage. See you next month for the Academy Awards!
Edited to include actual winners. My picks in yellow. Winners in red. (If by some miracle they’re the same, I’ve indicated with a red *)