The SAG Awards are this Sunday, January 27.
Weirdly enough, there is only one movie with a SAG ensemble nomination, a DGA nomination, a PGA nomination, and Best Director, editing, writing, and acting nominations. Only one — BlacKkKlansman. As a friend told me last night, if BlacKkKlansman wins the SAG ensemble the race is over. Roma is not nominated for any SAG awards, though the actors at the Academy corrected that with two nominations for Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. The Favourite has three SAG nominations but no ensemble.
How many of the ensemble nominees have corresponding Best Picture nominations?
A Star Is Born
Crazy Rich Asians
From a stats perspective, the Spike Lee joint should have this. But let’s think about this for a minute.
SAG-AFTRA voters are by far the biggest voting bloc in the Oscar race. We saw this put to the test in a big way when it was Spotlight vs. The Big Short a few years back. Whatever movie came out the winner would have majority support. Turns out it was Spotlight, which then went on to win Best Picture. 150,000 people vote on these awards. They live everywhere in the country. They have a variety of jobs. You have a lot of popular movies in the race. Which of the popular movies is going to be most popular?
Black Panther has an A+ Cinemascore. It made $700 million domestic.
Bohemian Rhapsody — an A Cinemascore and worldwide phenom. Topped $200 mil domestic.
A Star Is Born — an A Cinemascore, around $204 mil domestic.
Of these three, only Black Panther doesn’t have other SAG nominations. How many ensemble winners in their history won without any other SAG nominations? Only two:
The Full Monty
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
One won Best Picture, the other didn’t.
Black Panther seems a really easy call for Best Ensemble, particularly since SAG is now no longer just SAG, but rather, SAG-AFTRA. They aren’t just actors anymore. That means, to a degree, all bets are off.
Still, digging in a wee bit deeper into those two SAG ensemble winners with no other actors nominated — both were nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, meaning they were strong contenders heading in. Black Panther, though we all must agree it’s a weird year and stats don’t matter, doesn’t have a Best Director nomination at the Oscars.
Now, let’s look at another aspect of these awards that might make a difference. The names above the title — the names people are voting for. Who they are, how famous they are:
Black Panther — Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Sterling K. Brown, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, Letitia Wright
BlacKkKlansman — Harry Belafonte, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Corey Hawkins, John David Washington
Bohemian Rhapsody — Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Ben Hardy, Tom Hollander, Gwilym Lee, Allen Leech, Rami Malek, Joe Mazzello, Mike Myers
Crazy Rich Asians — Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Henry Golding, Ken Jeong, Lisa Lu, Harry Shum Jr., Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh
A Star Is Born — Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Rafi Gavron, Lady Gaga, Anthony Ramos
This, to me, looks like a Black Panther vs. BlacKklansman showdown. Harry Belafonte is a big deal, but so are Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, and Forest Whitaker. Looking at the actors on Black Panther it makes sense that it wins, despite its weaknesses overall.
On the other hand, A Star Is Born gives voters a chance to see Lady Gaga go on stage, along with Bradley Cooper, as they might not be winning in their categories. That makes A Star Is Born also a very interesting potential winner, especially if you think Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman might be working against each other and potentially splitting the vote. It didn’t happen with Spike Lee vs. Ryan Coogler because Spike kept coming up the winner. That shows a wee bit of preference for Spike’s hard-hitting direct confrontation of the Trump era. He is, after all, Spike Lee. A living legend, to be sure.
And then we get down to Bohemian Rhapsody, the one that feels like a stealthy dark horse winner here. Why? Because it’s such a beloved film, so much so that Rami Malek could upset in Best Actor. However, if you’re just looking at the names on paper, if it’s me, I see Harry Belafonte and stop. On the other hand, do people vote for names or do they vote for what they love best? It’s the age old question, isn’t it.
We will be posting our predictions later this week for the SAG Awards. But here’s our contest form just for you. How do you think it will go?