Last night’s SAG ensemble win proved that Slumdog Millionaire just can’t be beat. And in many ways it was a beautiful thing, and a huge surprise. This is looking like a clean sweep here, folks, like last year’s No Country for Old Men, or Return of the King except the only difference, I think, is that people are really voting with their hearts on this one. Slumdog tells a traditional yet satisfying story that rings especially poignant in the here and the now. It was odd that it won the ensemble only because they claim their ensemble prize isn’t their Best Picture prize but a true ensemble vote.
That’s not to say Slumdog didn’t deserve to win – this was a way the SAG could award Dev Patel and Heath Ledger and Sean Penn. Really, slumdog could not have succeeded as well without Patel in the lead. There is no question in my mind, though, that the SAG has now leaned back towards voting their ensemble as their Best Picture.
Though Penn takes the lead, Mickey Rourke is still very much in this race, and though Meryl Streep won the Critics Choice AND the SAG, Kate Winslet is still very much in this race. Heath Ledger, barring some infantile catastrophe, should still be considered the frontrunner for Supporting Actor. Supporting Actress is up for grabs. Though surprises could still be had in all of the acting categories, supporting actress is really going to be a headscratcher.
The Weinstein Co could get a double win with Kate and Penelope. Benjamin Button’s Taraji P. Henson could sneak in a take it. 13 Oscar nominations for Button tells you that the film is strong in their hearts. Marisa Tomei has already won, Amy Adams’ part is not quite enough, and anyway, she and Viola Davis could cancel each other out.¬† Viola Davis could win, especially since she’s really been out there during awards season – so have all of the other actresses, it’s worth noting.
The safe bets right now, though, are probably Sean Penn, Kate Winslet (because she’s not a double nominee at the Oscars), Heath Ledger and Penelope Cruz. Slumdog Millionaire will take the DGA and in one month, it will head into the Oscar race with an armful of awards. Not bad for a film no one was sure would even get a distributor.