Oscars 2014: SAG Awards Predictions

Coming right on the heels of last night’s Birdman PGA win, we have the SAG Awards, which could provide a huge momentum swing in the favor of Birdman. If Birdman walks away with more than one statue tonight, then you need to really look out and see if it’s gonna take Best Director. (And more so, see which way the BAFTAs go next month. Because if they go Imitation Game, and go off the board entirely, then you’re looking at a really close race that’s firmly in the favor of Birdman.)

Anyway, the real factor tonight is going to be who wins the acting awards. As SAG has always been the best prognosticator for who is going to win the acting categories at the Oscar, since the Acting branch is the biggest branch of the Academy.

So, let’s take one last look at the categories and see who is most likely to win the awards in… oh, about thirty minutes.

Best Ensemble



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

This is their equivalent to Best Picture. Though not really, because it’s about ensemble acting. Honestly, Grand Budapest would probably take this in a regular year.

But this year, it seems like Birdman is destined to take it. Theory of Everything doesn’t make much sense, and Boyhood seems more about the overall product than the sum of the performances. Imitation Game seems somewhere lost in the void.

I expect Birdman or Grand Budapest to take this. A Birdman win here wouldn’t mean that much, seeing as how it’s nominated individually in three categories. Though coupled with one other win would mean a lot. A Grand Budapest win would simply mean that they went with the largest stable of actors in a film they really, really liked.

Last year, American Hustle won this. It was also nominated in all four acting categories. At the Oscars. SAG only nominated Jennifer Lawrence. But you can tell they really liked it. 2012, Argo won. 2011, The Help. 2010, The King’s Speech. 2009, Inglourious Basterds. 2008, Slumdog Millionaire. 2007, No Country for Old Men. From what I’m seeing here, either it’s the film that gets the most nominated performances overall, the film that’s going to win Best Picture, or the film that just has the largest stable of actors and was entertaining. And that last one really only applies to Basterds.

I’ve figured all along that Birdman was gonna take this. But watch out for Grand Budapest in the upset.

Though a this point, odds are that Birdman wins.

It should be one of the two for certain. I’d say 80% Birdman, 15% Grand Budapest, and the other 5% for the field.

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

This is really the biggest category of the night. Since the other categories seem so locked it will take a cataclysmic shift in them tonight to even think about altering their outcome. This one, though, is a two-horse race and could go either way.

Right off the bat, I think everyone in the world knows that Jake Gyllenhaal has absolutely no shot at this whatsoever. Even if he had been nominated for the Oscar, he would have had no shot.

Steve Carell would have fared much better if they pushed him Supporting. But he got the nomination, and that’s his reward.

Cumberbatch will catch some votes, but overall, he won’t be able to overcome the other two. If he wins tonight, everyone will be shocked, and everyone will be thrown for two loops. And that would make this the kind of interesting Oscar season we all hope for.

The real battle is gonna be between Keaton and Redmayne. Keaton has the nice story going for him, and the film that’s poised to win Best Ensemble and maybe even Best Picture and Best Director. Redmayne has the classic Oscar performance. He’s playing Stephen Hawking. A man synonymous with brilliance who has one of the most known disabilities in the world. This is normally a shoe in for a statue. But is Redmayne too new? Does it matter? Does he even need SAG in order to win the Oscar?

I could legitimately see a scenario where Michael Keaton wins this and Eddie Redmayne takes the Oscar, and the reason for that is BAFTA. If SAG and BAFTA go Michael Keaton (which would shock me, since BAFTA will always go for a Brit if they can. And they have two this year to vote for), then Keaton should be all of our guesses for the win. But if SAG goes Keaton and BAFTA goes Redmayne, I say it’s still very close and maybe 52/48 in favor of Keaton.

So, ultimately, I think I’m gonna predict Keaton to win this, with Redmayne the alternate. I feel like a Redmayne win here seals the deal for him with the Oscar, but a Keaton win would not.

SAG and Best Actor haven’t differed since 2003, when Johnny Depp won SAG for Pirates. Since then, they’ve nailed it every single time. So this is a big deal. Whoever wins this has to be considered the de facto favorite to win it all.

Best Actress

Jennifer Aniston, Cake

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

The beauty of this is that I won’t have to spend any time on it.

There is no way in any universe that Julianne Moore loses this award.

Jennifer Aniston wasn’t nominated for an Oscar and looked so desperate along the way it was embarrassing. No one is voting for her.

Felicity Jones isn’t going to win because she had the thankless role and the film isn’t in position to sweep everything. The Brits could sweep them both (and even that’s doubtful), but SAG most assuredly will not.

Reese Witherspoon is only there for the nomination and won’t contend. A win from her would shock everybody.

Rosamund Pike is an interesting wild card, but even then, the film has no momentum, and she isn’t beloved among SAG as Julianne Moore is. I’d love to see the upset, just because everyone would wonder what that means, but she won’t win.

Julianne Moore is gonna win in a landslide. And this will finally end the constant, “When will she win an Oscar?” speculation. We’re coming off a landslide victory last year, and another one this year.

This is the easiest category in the bunch. She’s not losing.

Which is good, since Best Actress has the highest incorrect ratio of all four categories, I’m pretty sure. They’ve been wrong six times in 20 years. Best Actor has only been wrong four times (and one of those four, the person who won ended up winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor).

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

This category has been the same everywhere throughout the entirety of the race. It’s pretty solid, but actually kind of boring.

Duvall isn’t winning. We know this.

Hawke could win, but with the momentum hit for Boyhood, it’s not looking likely.

Norton could ride a Birdman wave to a win. I wouldn’t rule it out, though I’d consider it unlikely and a surprise.

Ruffalo is beloved and could sneak a win here. But it’s hard to imagine anyone beating J.K. Simmons.

J.K. Simmons seems like a sure thing, but I’m not considering him a sure thing until he wins this.

This is the one that will solidify him as the person who’s gonna win the Oscar or completely blow the race wide open and make us have to look at BAFTA to see if they follow suit. This is a big one.

Though I fully expect J.K. Simmons to take it.

Honestly, the only person I can see even making a play for it is Mark Ruffalo. Which, even when I say it sounds improbable.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, Birdman

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Naomi Watts, St. Vincent

All four Birdman leads were nominated. Watts just got it for a different film. (She won’t win, by the way. I don’t even have to look to know that SAG has never gone with anyone who wasn’t nominated at the Oscars. So Watts has no chance.

They’re not gonna give it to Meryl, because — they’re just not. She won recently, and this isn’t the type of performance that wins. (It’s probably not even the type of performance that gets nominated.)

Emma Stone remains a factor for sure, and could ride the Birdman love.

Keira doesn’t seem like she’s gonna win because I don’t see anyone really singling her out for her performance.

Arquette should take this easily en route to an easy Oscar win in a weak category.

Stone seems like her only contender, and Stone needs this win to even be considered a contender for it. Arquette has all the makings of a winner, and that should be confirmed tonight.

Oh, and just to let you guys know… Best Supporting Actor differed 8 times. So that’s the biggest one of the lot that differs from the Oscars. Best Supporting Actress differed 7 times, but one of those was Kate Winslet winning for The Reader… which she won Best Actress for. They’ve also been right every time since then.

– – – – –

And now the TV awards, just to fill up space, even though I don’t care.

Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Modern Family

Orange Is the New Black


Modern Family won this the last four years. Are the finally over it? That’s the biggest streak in the history of the category? What will they vote for instead? Not Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Not Big Bang Theory. Veep?

If anything is winning over Modern Family, it’s Orange Is the New Black. So let’s say they go for that, since that hasn’t been nominated before.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Louis C.K., Louie

William H. Macy, Shameless

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Ty Burrell won this last year. Before that, Alec Baldwin won seven times in a row for 30 Rock. SEVEN TIMES. So it’s all fair game now.

I don’t think Burell wins two years running, though it’s possible.

I always root for Louis, though I know it’ll never happen.

William H. Macy is beloved, but do they love the show?

Parsons — ehh, do they take that show seriously enough to vote for it?

I’m gonna say Stonestreet wins.

No idea why.

Macy seems like the obvious choice.

Actually, Macy hasn’t been nominated before in the category. He might win this.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Tina Fey won three years running for 30 Rock, then it became the Betty White appreciation award for two years, then Tina Fey won again, and last year was Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Julie Bowen has been nominated twice but never won. She’s a threat.

Edie Falco is 0-4 in this category. No reason to think she randomly breaks that streak now.

Amy Poehler could take this.

Orange Is the New Black actress could take it too.

I’m gonna say Julia repeats.

I don’t know. And who cares, really? It’s TV.

Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones


House of Cards

Since The Sopranos went off the air, Mad Men won twice, Boardwalk won twice, Downton one once and Breaking Bad won in its final season.

Homeland is 0-2 here, and I can’t imagine that show is getting better over time, so let’s say no on that.

Game of Thrones I always feel has a shot, but they’ve only been nominated two out of a potential three times and never won. They seem like filler.

Boardwalk is on its final season, but I think people are over it. I don’t think it has that kind of “send-off” love going for it.

It’s either Downton or House of Cards.

I’m gonna say House of Cards. They didn’t nominate it last year, and the actors are a pretty reactionary bunch. They’re gonna try to make up for past mistakes this year. I truly believe that.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes, Homeland

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Robin Wright, House of Cards

I root for Tatiana Maslany every time, and she’s my vote. Don’t care. She should win.

That aside… last year Maggie Smith won this and wasn’t even there to accept. I feel like they’re gonna not to that again.

Marguiles won in 2009 and 2010, but they’ve gotta be over that by now.

Claire Danes won for Season 1 of Homeland, but didn’t win last year. She could come back.

Robin Wright seems like a likely winner here.

Viola Davis — probably not. But you never know. They love Viola Davis.

I’m still rooting for Maslany.

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Woody Harrelson, True Detective

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Boardwalk is going off the air, and Buscemi has won this twice.

Dinklage is in his second year of nominations, but I think they missed the boat on that one and won’t vote for him.

Harrelson has no shot against McConaughey.

This is either Spacey or McConaughey. True Detective feels like so long ago.

I think Spacey wins this. But McConaughey seems like the obvious choice. We’ll see.

Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Adrien Brody, Houdini

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge

Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo


Though honestly, pretty much anyone but Adrien Brody seems like they can win. I doubt Richard Jenkins holds enough sway to beat the others. Cumberbatch is double dipping, which might help his chances. He’s never actually been nominated before here. Ruffalo is also double dipping, and is beloved.

But Thornton is my pick, because he’s the man.

And if he wins — that’s aces.

Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman

Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge

Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

You know what’s great about this? Ellen Burstyn will be nominated even if she only has twelve seconds of screen time. (Remember when the Emmys nominated her even though she literally only appears in the movie for like a minute?)

Maggie Gyllenhaal won the Globe, but we all know that means nothing.

Typically, it seems the obvious choice wins this.

Last year was Helen Mirren for Phil Spector. She was the splashy choice, among the requisite black nomination, the big actress playing a big part (Helena Bonham Carter playing Liz Taylor), and the classy ones that would never win (the two Top of the Lake) nominees.

Before that was Julianne Moore for Sarah Palin, then Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce. Temple Grandin, Grey Gardens, John Adams… big actresses in big parts.

Which leads me to believe that Frances McDormand or Julia Roberts are most likely to win.

But I don’t fucking know, and I don’t care.

Let’s say Cicely Tyson wins.

No fucking idea.

This is the last category I would ever care about on this show.

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are the SAG Awards. I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap.

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