Sunday, May 19, 2024

My 2021 SAG Award Nomination predictions

By Amanda Spears 

While receiving a Golden Globe or Critics Choice nomination is nice, a Screen Actor’s Guild Award nomination is critical if you’re going to receive an Oscar nomination or eventually win. The acting branch is the largest branch of the Academy and only “Braveheart” (1995) was completely overlooked by SAG and still able to win the Oscar Best Picture, up until the back to back years of “The Shape Of Water” in 2017 and “Green Book” in 2018. Last year’s Best Film Ensemble winner “Parasite” went on to win Best Picture and all four individual acting winners followed up their SAG victories with an Oscar win. So where does that leave us for this year?

​Click below to see my predictions for this year’s SAG Award Nominations.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami
The Prom
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Most likely to surprise:Da 5 Bloods,” “Minari” or “Nomadland

Thoughts: The Screen Actors Guild includes not only film and television performers but AFTRA, which gives news anchors, voice-over artists and meteorologists the chance to vote. But even before the merger, the SAG Awards always have at least one spot in the Ensemble category for a more populous lighter-fare film, for example, past nominees; “Hairspray” or “Crazy Rich Asians” which weren’t in the Oscar hunt for Best Picture. This year, I think that film will be Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom.”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed – “Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – “The Father
Delroy Lindo – “Da 5 Bloods” 
Gary Oldman – “Mank

Most likely to surprise: Kingsley Ben-Adir – “One Night in Miami,” John David Washington – “Malcolm and Marie” or Steven Yuen – “Minari

Thoughts: Gary Oldman has an iffy past at best with the Golden Globes but his fellow actors should prove to be kinder. With the exception of Oldman, no one listed above has received an individual win before. Boseman did win as part of the Ensemble for “Black Panther” (2018). The SAG Awards may take this opportunity to award Hopkins for the first time and this could push him to frontrunner status. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – “Pieces of a Woman” 
Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman
Frances McDormand – “Nomadland
Meryl Streep – “The Prom

Most likely to surprise: Amy Adams – “Hillbilly Elegy,” Sophia Loren – “The Life Ahead” or Zendaya – “Malcolm and Marie

Thoughts: The fifth slot in this category is wide open and whoever can slip in may be able to translate a SAG Award nomination to an Oscar nod. Given how much they love Streep, this may help her hold off competition from Loren, who’s looking for her first individual nomination.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Ellen Burstyn – “Pieces of a Woman
Glenn Close – “Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman – “The Father
Saoirse Ronan – “Ammonite
Amanda Seyfried – “Mank

Most likely to surprise: Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,”  Jodie Foster – “The Mauritanian” or Yuh-Jung Youn – “Minari

Thoughts: This will be the first major test for Bakalova and given the raunchy nature of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” it could leave her on the sidelines. Should this take place, look for one of their recent favorites, Saoirse Ronan, to sneak in. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods” 
Daniell Kaluuya – “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami
Paul Raci – “Sound of Metal” 

Most likely to surprise: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Mark Rylance – “The Trial of the Chicago 7” or David Strathairn – “Nomadland

Thoughts: Again, the actors of “The Trial of the Chicago 7” loom large over this category. The acting branch may choose to nominate Boseman twice to show their love for the actor who passed away too soon.

Ugh, stupid COVID! If it wasn’t for this virus, the television side of the SAG Awards would be so easy to predict. It’s simple; just start with the performers and series that were nominated last year. Add in the performers and series that sat out the year before because of the cut off and you have your nominees. But with more than one or two spots available, this is trickier than usual. Keep in mind that since the SAG Awards honor Drama, Comedy and Limited Series, they combine lead and supporting performers into one battle to the death category.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul”
“The Crown”

“This Is Us”

Most likely to surprise: “Killing Eve,” “Lovecraft Country” or “The Mandalorian”

Thoughts: 2019 nominees “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” should easily make the shortlist after missing the eligibility cut off. Whether two-time winner “This Is Us” (201-2019) can make a comeback after being snubbed last year remains a big question mark. The “This Is Us” snub last year proved critical, as the series would go on to be snubbed at the Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman – “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown – “This Is Us”

Josh O’Connor – “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “Perry Mason”

Most likely to surprise: Tobias Menzies – “The Crown”, Pedro Pascal – “The Mandalorian” or Tom Pelphrey – “Ozark”

Thoughts: 2019 winner Bateman and nominee Odenkirk will re-join the category after sitting out last year. Joining them should be 2018 winner Brown. Two brits – Rhys and O’Connor, are hoping to receive their first respective individual nominations. This category proved to be an accurate bell-weather for the Emmys, as all four actors eligible reaped Emmy nominations. Will the same thing happen here?

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson – “The Crown”
Helena Bonham Carter – “The Crown”
Olivia Colman – “The Crown”
Julia Garner – “Ozark”

Laura Linney – “Ozark”

Most likely to surprise: Emma Corrin – “The Crown”, Sandra Oh – “Killing Eve” or Sarah Paulson – “Ratched”

Thoughts: 2019 nominees and co-stars Laura Linney and Julia Garner (“Ozark”) should once again contend. But whether the 2019 winner, Sandra Oh, will join her co-star that replaced her last year remains to be seen. Also, on the bubble is Carter, trying to hold off her co-star Corrin and her buzzed-about performance as Princess Diana. This one is more competitive than people think.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me”
“The Good Place”
“Schitt’s Creek”

“Ted Lasso”
“What We Do in the Shadows”

Most likely to surprise: “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Great,” “Modern Family” or “Ramy”

Thoughts: “Schitt’s Creek” should easily win this category for its final season. The race to fill the final four spots is wide open. Considering the SAG Awards do like populous series and films, “What We Do in the Shadows” could sneak into the category. “The Good Place” is barely eligible but will try and receive a goodbye Ensemble nomination. But if the SAG Award voters aren’t up to date on their television watching, then look out for past five-time winner “Modern Family” to compete for the final time.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ted Danson – “The Good Place”
Dan Levy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Eugene Levy – “Schitt’s Creek”

Jason Sudekis – “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef – “Ramy”

Most likely to surprise: Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish,” Larry David – “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or Nicolas Holt – “The Great”

Thoughts: With the category completely wiped clean, it’s really anyone’s guess who will make the cut. Look for last year’s unofficial hosts, the father-son duo the Levy’s, to fight this out amongst one another. But if the vote should split, Sudekis could sneak off with the prize. However, with the category completely gutted, do not be surprised if former nominees Anderson or David make a comeback.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate – “Dead to Me” 
Kaley Cuoco – “The Flight Attendant”
Catherine O’Hara – “Schitt’s Creek”

Annie Murphy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”

Most likely to surprise: Linda Cardellini – “Dead to Me,” D’Arcy Carden – “The Good Place,” Elle Fanning – “The Great,” Lily Tomlin – “Grace and Frankie” or Hannah Waddingham – “Ted Lasso”

Thoughts: With three open spots, this is going to be ultra-competitive. Look for Emmy-winner Murphy to join her onscreen mom and frontrunner O’Hara. Cuoco is hoping to score her first individual nomination. But with the category wide open, look out for Tomlin to re-appear after being snubbed last year.

And now we come to the only two categories without repeat nominees. But the Movie/Mini categories have their own unique challenges. Yes, these categories also combine both lead and supporting. But the 2020 Emmy winners/nominees will overlap with potential 2021 winners/nominees, making these the two juiciest races. When they say “it’s an honor to be nominated,” they mean it the most when it comes to these races.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bryan Cranston – “Your Honor”
Hugh Grant – “The Undoing”

Ethan Hawke – “The Good Lord Bird”
Hugh Jackman – “Bad Education”

Mark Ruffalo – “I Know This Much Is True”

Most likely to surprise: Jeff Daniels – “The Comey Rule,” Paul Mescal – “Normal People” or Chris Rock – “Fargo”

Thoughts: Jackman could face difficulty making the cut as he competes for a TV Movie. 2020 Emmy winner Ruffalo will try and hold off a strong list of potential 2021 Emmy nominees. A win could push someone to frontrunner status before the spring Limited Series debut.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Uzo Aduba – “Mrs. America”
Cate Blanchett – “Mrs. America”

Nicole Kidman – “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor- Joy – “The Queen’s Gambit”
Kerry Washington – “Little Fires Everywhere”

Most likely to surprise: Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You,” Daisy Edgar-Jones – “Normal People” or Octavia Spencer – “Self Made”

Thoughts: Aduba and her socially relevant role as Shirley Chisholm should help a supporting performance make the list. A win for Taylor-Joy would firmly cement her status as Emmy frontrunner – throwing down the gauntlet to the upcoming Limited Series and TV Movie race. Catch her if you can!

​What do you think of my predictions? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account. Be sure to listen to our latest episode of Next Best Series here where we talked about our television predictions and listen to Episode 230 of the Next Best Picture Podcast to hear the rest of the team’s predictions for the SAG Award Nominations. tuned for the Next Best Picture Podcast episode detailing their film predictions later.

You can follow Amanda and hear more of her thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @msamandaspears

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