The 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards are this weekend. In fact by the time you are reading this, the winners have already pre-recorded their acceptance speeches for what will go down as the one of the shortest ceremonies of the modern era.
While a lot of focus has been put onto the wide-open film races, there isn’t a lot of buzz around the television categories. We’ve gotten to the point of awards season where we know what to expect. The Crown will sweep through the drama categories; Ted Lasso and Schitt’s Creek split the comedy races; and The Queen’s Gambit continues to be the runaway sensation of the limited series lineup.
While there is no doubt that these are the frontrunners heading into the night, this is also the SAG awards we are talking about. The giant body that isn’t afraid to toss all expectations out the window and honor what truly excites them without any outside influence. Is there a chance that the recent Royal Family drama will turn off voters and they will channel their passion for costume dramas instead towards Bridgerton? Are we underestimating the country’s obsession with Hamilton?
Catch up on our full preview of the television races below and click here for details on how to tune into this Sunday’s ceremony.
SAG voters notoriously love costume dramas in this category. In the past ten years alone they’ve awarded The Crown, Downton Abbey (three times!), and even Boardwalk Empire (twice!). So there’s no reason why the fourth season of The Crown should miss out here, especially after winning nearly everywhere else.
If there was any doubt heading into the nominations that The Crown was the unstoppable frontrunner, that was quickly squashed when four of the actors were individually nominated as well. The interesting side effect of that will be if they start to split the vote. Will voters want to celebrate a Diana & Charles-heavy season with awards for newcomers Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin? Or will they instead want to award the queen herself who risks splitting the vote between both of her nominated performances. Most of us at Awards Daily are banking on the larger than life portrayal of Margaret Thatcher and her TV icon status to carry Gillian Anderson all the way in a crowded field.
The male actor race is more wide-open. Jason Bateman, who has already won for the second season, is the early frontrunner. With four nominations, SAG voters clearly love Ozark and this is the obvious category to celebrate the show. Bateman also perfectly fits the bill of the type of actor that they love to reward; someone who has been working in Hollywood for decades and is now branching out into more creative roles.
But could someone like Regé-Jean Page pull off a major upset? Bridgerton peaked at just the right moment, he’s the breakout star of the first season, and he’s everywhere right now including a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Bridgerton (Netflix) – Jordan
The Crown (Netflix) – Clarence, Jalal, Shadan, Megan
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman (Ozark) – Jalal
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown) – Clarence, Shadan, Megan
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Rege-Jean Page (Bridgerton) – Jordan
OUTSTANDING PERFMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Gillian Anderson (The Crown) – Clarence, Jalal, Shadan, Megan
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown) – Jordan
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Laura Linney (Ozark)
The comedy races have essentially come down to Schitt’s Creek versus Ted Lasso. After years of being criminally ignored, Schitt’s Creek is being sent off with the bang it deserves winning the top prize from almost every group including the Emmys and Golden Globes. On top of nominating the ensemble, SAG voters love the show enough to nominate the entire Rose family with them representing 40% of the comedy nominees this year.
But SAG voters tend to stick with whatever is most fresh in their mind and over the past couple of months just about everyone has been falling in love with Ted Lasso. The underdog comedy features all the right elements to excite a large voting body like SAG, and Apple has done a great job at helping the show become the discovery of the year.
The acting winners will probably split between the comedy frontrunners as well. Jason Sudeikis will surely continue his winning streak after winning the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and even two WGA awards. While Catherine O’Hara will likely win the lead female actor race after winning the Emmy and Golden Globe.
Although O’Hara is the clear frontrunner in the female actor race, we shouldn’t count out Kaley Cuoco for the first season of The Flight Attendant. The HBO Max series will be fresh in the minds of voters while all the other nominees aired in the first half of 2020. Cuoco is also a very well-known and well-like actress who has been working in television for decades.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
Dead to Me (Netflix)
The Flight Attendant (HBO MAX)
The Great (Hulu)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) – Clarence, Jalal, Jordan, Shadan, Megan
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) – Clarence, Jalal, Jordan, Shadan, Megan
Ramy Youssef (Ramy)
OUTSTANDING PERFMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)
Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant) – Megan
Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek) – Clarence, Jalal, Jordan, Shadan
Limited Series Categories
This year the limited series races are likely to go in a very different direction. In normal years these are categories that tend to award the biggest and most Oscary names. Last year Fosse/Verdon took home both prizes for Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell while in recent years winners have included Patricia Arquette, Nicole Kidman, and Frances McDormand.
What makes this year different is that there aren’t any clear frontrunners. Cate Blanchett and Kerry Washington are well-liked by SAG voters, but their shows have nearly been forgotten. The Undoing is a traditional HBO star vehicle that could push Kidman and Grant to become strong contenders but no one seemed to like the actual show.
The Queen’s Gambit has been on a winning streak winning everywhere from the Golden Globes to the Critics’ Choice Awards to PGA and WGA. It also quickly became Netflix’s most watched limited series of all time, and in recent years the streaming giant has had a huge advantage at the SAG awards. It’s safe to say it will win at least one of its nominations. SAG voters are also suckers for stories of addiction and substances abuse – an element that will only help the breakout star standout even more.
Anya Taylor-Joy perfectly fits the bill of a movie star taking on a complicated role and SAG voters notoriously love addiction arcs.
While most are looking towards the group of A-list actors for a possible female actor upset, no one is gaining momentum quite like Michaela Coel. The British auteur delivered the most personal work of her career with I May Destroy You and the industry instantly rallied behind Coel after the HFPA grossly overlooked her. On top of that her peers are sure to admire such groundbreaking work where she was able to maintain creative and personal control.
The male actor race is a lot more complicated. Bill Camp could ride the coattails of the success of The Queen’s Gambit even with a supporting role. Ethan Hawke has garnered a lot of buzz, but is The Good Lord Bird even on the radar of enough voters?
The obvious choice is Mark Ruffalo who we have time and time again underestimated throughout awards season. He’s a well-respected movie star and Oscar nominee taking on a very awards-baity HBO performance portraying polar opposite twins. He’s already won the Emmy and the Golden Globe and, in all likelihood, will win the SAG next (in a category he already won five years ago). But I Know This Much Is True premiered nearly a year ago and it might be a harder sell to SAG-AFTRA voters.
The more accessible alternative comes from surprise nominee Daveed Diggs for the filmed version of Hamilton. The Tony winning musical nearly broke the internet when it finally premiered on Disney+ and we know millions of people ended up watching, probably multiple times. And a guild of actors seems like the obvious body to gravitate towards a musical phenomenon like Hamilton.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Bill Camp (The Queen’s Gambit – Jordan
Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) – Jalal
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird)
Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) – Clarence, Shadan, Megan
OUTSTANDING PERFMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America)
Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) – Jordan
Nicole Kidman (The Undoing)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) – Clarence, Jalal, Shadan, Megan
Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere)
For the past ten years Game of Thrones has nearly swept the stunt category at the SAG Awards. The one year it wasn’t eligible GLOW was able to pull of well-deserved win for obvious reasons.
This year everyone is banking on The Mandalorian winning its first SAG award and without a doubt it is by far the most popular show in contention. The first season won the Emmy for stunt coordination and this is the only place for voters to award the massively popular Disney+ sensation.
However, it is worth pointing out that until now the Star Wars franchise has never even been nominated for a SAG award. All of the recent films were left out of the stunt conversation even though they were repeatedly the biggest films of the year. Does this leave room for a surprise winner?
If there’s a spoiler in the race it might come from Cobra Kai, the nostalgia comedy that has become a surprise hit for Netflix. The martial arts-heavy stunt coordination of the comedy is the clear alternative for any actor that doesn’t feel like voting for a giant CGI epic similar to when the wrestling-focused GLOW won just a couple of years ago.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A TELEVISION SERIES
The Boys (Amazon)
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+) – Clarence, Jalal, Jordan, Shadan, Megan