By Amanda Spears
If you work in film or television as an actor, the SAG Awards matter. Your peers’ recognition can foretell whether or not you may go on to win the bigger and more illustrious prizes, the Oscars and Emmys. Keep in mind that the Screen Actors Guild includes not only film and television performers in their voting body but AFTRA as well, which gives news anchors, voice-over artists, and meteorologists the chance to vote.
While my fellow awards pundits and prognosticators may feel after the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards have announced their winners that a performer is 100% a lock to win an Oscar, I have adopted a “wait and see” mentality until their peers have also chimed in. Momentum can easily be lost or gained if your peers snub or award you.
With that said, here are my 2021 SAG Award Winner Predictions…
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
“Da 5 Bloods“
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“
“One Night In Miami“
“The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
Winner: “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
Runner Up: “Minari“
Most Likely To Upset: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“
Thoughts: While the cast may be almost entirely male, “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“ has a mixture of both television (Jeremy Strong and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), film (Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen), and theater stars (Mark Rylance and Frank Langella) necessary to win this award just like “Hidden Figures” did in 2016. But its ace in the hole has to be writer/director/producer Aaron Sorkin. Why? Because actors love Sorkin. Sorkin’s television series, “The West Wing,” received multiple nominations and won six SAG awards during its run. But look out for “Minari” and its Ensemble led by a former television star Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) to upset as the film has been gaining a ton of momentum in recent weeks.
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“
Gary Oldman – “Mank“
Steven Yeun – “Minari“
Winner: Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“
Runner Up: Anthony Hopkins – “The Father“
Most Likely To Upset: Riz Ahmed – “Sound Of Metal“
Thoughts: The inaugural SAG Awards did not take place until 1995, meaning they missed their chance to award Anthony Hopkins for his iconic performance in “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). Hopkins has never won a SAG Award either individually or as part of an ensemble. However, with four nominations, it’s unlikely that Chadwick Boseman will not be awarded. This remains a must-win for Boseman in the lead category as his chances of winning at BAFTA over British favorites Hopkins and Riz Ahmed are slim at best. An upset in this category could potentially lead to a change in the momentum of the race.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – “Hillbilly Elegy“
Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“
Vanessa Kirby – “Pieces Of A Woman“
Frances McDormand – “Nomadland“
Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman“
Winner: Frances McDormand – “Nomadland“
Runner Up: Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman“
Most Likely To Upset: Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“
Thoughts: Mulligan’s momentum hit a major speed-bump when she lost the Golden Globe, and without a BAFTA nomination from her fellow Brits, this is her last stop before Oscar Sunday and a must-win for her. Both McDormand and Davis are two favorites amongst their fellow actors, and a win for either would put them in the illusive three-time individual winner club. After picking up wins at the PGA, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Awards for Best Picture, “Nomadland” appears to have the lead in the race for Best Picture. A win at SAG, anywhere, would cement its standing, and this is the only place where it can happen. If you look back at the past decade of Oscar Best Picture winners, they all won at least one SAG award (except for “The Shape Of Water“). Like Mulligan, the SAG Awards is also Davis’s last stop before the Oscars. At the same time, McDormand and Vanessa Kirby will have one last chance to change the race for Best Actress at the BATFA’s.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods“
Daniel Kaluuya – “Judas And The Black Messiah“
Jared Leto – “The Little Things“
Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night In Miami“
Winner: Daniel Kaluuya – “Judas And The Black Messiah“
Runner Up: Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
Most Likely To Upset: Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods“
Thoughts: After picking up wins at both the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, Daniel Kaluuya appears to have this race all wrapped up. But Kaluuya will have to win at SAG to keep his place as the Oscar frontrunner. Enter Sacha Baron Cohen, who won two Golden Globes for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm“ and is riding the wave of success that movie has afforded him to a potential upset at SAG if voters really love him and “The Trial Of The Chicago 7.“ It is possible that the Hollywood Foreign Press decided to spread the wealth, and if this is the case, it is possible that Cohen, who stars in the frontrunner for Ensemble, could upset here. Speaking of spreading the wealth, if the actors are in the mood to spread the wealth, they could decide to award Boseman in the supporting race—leaving Lead Actor wide open.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm“
Glenn Close – “Hillbilly Elegy“
Olivia Colman – “The Father“
Youn Yuh-Jung – “Minari“
Helena Zengel – “News Of The World“
Winner: Glen Close – “Hillbilly Elegy“
Runner Up: Yuh-Jung Youn – “Minari”
Most Likely To Upset: Olivia Colman – “The Father“
Thoughts: Without a BAFTA nomination, this is the last stop for both Glenn Close and Olivia Colman. Sentiment and the overdue narrative may help Close win another SAG Award. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s one of her fellow actor’s favorites with multiple wins. Colman, who upset Close at the Oscars in 2018 for “The Favourite,” could win here as a makeup award. Colman is a real threat to upset as she has three nominations between her television series “The Crown” and “The Father.“ Momentum has been changing, and a win for Yuh-jung Youn could be where the Actors and the Oscars choose to award “Minari.” Youn and Maria Bakalova, will have one last chance at the BAFTA Awards to change this topsy-turvy race.
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Da 5 Bloods“
“News of the World“
“The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
“Wonder Woman 1984“
Winner: “Da 5 Bloods“
Runner Up: “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“
Most Likely To Upset: “Mulan“
Thoughts: None of these films are heavy on stunts (Where is “Tenet?!”), but “Da 5 Bloods“ comes close. Look out for “The Trial Of The Chicago 7“ if they win here, it could also be winning Outstanding Ensemble later in the evening.
The TV SAG Awards typically are the easiest awards of the season to predict…just go with last year’s winners! Thanks to COVID, this is not the case this season. On the Comedy side, none of last year’s winners are eligible; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” (which took home Ensemble and Actor for Tony Shalhoub) fourth season has been delayed thanks to COVID. Last year’s Actress winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”), competed for her final season. On the Drama side: Actor winner Peter Dinklage won for the final season of “Game of Thrones” and Actress winner Jennifer Anniston (“The Morning Show”) hasn’t aired a second season. This leaves only the Drama Ensemble winner, “The Crown,” eligible to repeat.
When making your television predictions, keep in mind that if the Actors award you once, they typically will again. Also, for the recent Golden Globe winners, if you believe they will win the Emmy, you usually do not want them winning the Golden Globe and the SAG Award. Historically, that combo does not translate into an Emmy win.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul”
Winner: “The Crown”
Runner Up: “Bridgerton”
Most Likely To Upset: “Ozark”
Thoughts: Last year’s winner, “The Crown,” had an even better season and should be able to hold onto the title easily. But they’ll need to be on the lookout for fellow Netflix Series, the mega-popular “Bridgerton.” The new hit show could go the same route as other pop culture favorites that took home the trophy, such as “NYPD Blue,” “CSI,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Stranger Things.”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson – “The Crown”
Olivia Colman – “The Crown”
Emma Corrin – “The Crown”
Julia Garner – “Ozark”
Laura Linney – “Ozark”
Winner: Gillian Anderson – “The Crown”
Runner Up: Olivia Colman – “The Crown”
Most Likely To Upset: Laura Linney – “Ozark”
Thoughts: Both Julia Garner and Gillian Anderson have the same problem— SAG does not love to award supporting roles on the drama side. However, Anderson is a past winner for “The X-Files” (1996-1997), so that may help her here. Unlike Emma Corrin or Josh O’Connor, Anderson won’t have to worry about the curse of Globe + SAG winners when it comes to the Emmys, as she’s beaten it before. Anderson was the first actress to win all three awards in a single year. Come September, should she win at the Emmys, she’d be the first to sweep all three awards for two different continuing series. But with two co-stars in competition, this isn’t going to be easy. Colman has yet to win an individual SAG Award. Still, this year she’s double nominated, receiving a Supporting nomination for “The Father,” and her fellow actors may not want to send her home empty-handed. “The Crown” has three nominations, and should this trio of ladies split their support, look out for Laura Linney, who had her best season of “Ozark” to date for the upset.
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”
Rege- Jean Page – “Bridgerton”
Winner: Jason Bateman – “Ozark”
Runner Up: Josh O’Connor – “The Crown”
Most Likely To Upset: Rege-Jean Page – “Bridgerton”
Thoughts: Jason Bateman, the 2019 winner, should once again prevail here. But this will not be as easy with recent Golden Globe winner Josh O’Connor right on his heels. O’Connor may not want to receive this trophy via mail as Globe + SAG winners typically do not win at the Emmys in September, and he is currently favored to win there. But this all depends on whether or not the Actors are voting with their libidos. If they are, Rege-Jean Page, who surprised most with just earning a nomination, might be the one to surprise yet again here with a win. Regardless of a win, he’s now on the Emmy shortlist to receive a nomination.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me”
“The Flight Attendant”
Winner: “Schitt’s Creek”
Runner Up: “Ted Lasso”
Most Likely To Upset: “Dead to Me”
Thoughts: When “Fleabag” lost this award last year, it was for one simple reason – the show wasn’t an ensemble. For many, it was the Phoebe Waller-Bridge show. “Schitt’s Creek” and its merry band of misfits should easily take this trophy home to Canada. If the actors are looking towards shows that haven’t aired their final season, watch out for “Ted Lasso” to win here.
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”
Ramy Youssef – “Ramy”
Winner: Eugene Levy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Runner Up: Jason Sudeikis – “Ted Lasso”
Most Likely To Upset: Dan Levy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Thoughts: Like their Drama counterparts, the individual Comedy categories prefer lead performances over supporting ones, which puts Dan Levy at a disadvantage. Should Ramy Yousef pull off a win, he would be the first person of color to win this category in SAG history. Unfortunately, Youssef will have to get past comedic legend Eugene Levy looking for his first SAG Award. Jason Sudekis, like his fellow Globe winners on the Drama side, should also be rooting for one of the Levy’s so he can remain the Emmy frontrunner. Sometimes losing has a silver lining.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate – “Dead to Me”
Linda Cardellini – “Dead to Me”
Kaley Cuoco – “The Flight Attendant”
Annie Murphy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Catherine O’Hara – “Schitt’s Creek”
Winner: Catherine O’Hara – “Schitt’s Creek”
Runner Up: Christina Applegate – “Dead to Me”
Most Likely To Upset: Kaley Cuoco – “The Flight Attendant”
Thoughts: This is an easy win for Catherine O’Hara and her masterful performance as Moira Rose. She will win one final award for her masterful run on “Schitt’s Creek.” Should or when O’Hara finally wins her first SAG Award, she’ll make history as only the fourth woman to win all five major awards for a single season: Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG Award, TCA, and Critics Choice Award. For Kaley Cuoco, she will be the frontrunner heading into the Emmys in September regardless of a win or loss.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bill Camp – “The Queen’s Gambit”
Daveed Diggs – “Hamilton”
Hugh Grant – “The Undoing”
Ethan Hawke – “The Good Lord Bird”
Mark Ruffalo – “I Know This Much Is True”
Winner: Mark Ruffalo – “I Know This Much Is True”
Runner up: Hugh Grant – “The Undoing”
Most Likely To Upset: Ethan Hawke – “The Good Lord Bird”
Thoughts: This was the one category Mark Ruffalo won for “The Normal Heart” (2014), although he was double nominated at the time for his performance in “Foxcatcher” on the film side. There’s a chance for both Ethan Hawke and Hugh Grant, though, at the Emmys. Like Riz Ahmed, who lost at Globe and SAG for “The Night Of,” either one of them may go on to win the Emmy.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Cate Blanchett – “Mrs. America”
Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You”
Nicole Kidman – “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy – “The Queen’s Gambit”
Kerry Washington – “Little Fires Everywhere”
Winner: Anya Taylor-Joy – “The Queen’s Gambit”
Runner Up: Cate Blanchett – “Mrs. America”
Most Likely To Upset: Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You”
Thoughts: Anya Taylor-Joy needs this win (and will probably get it) as she plays the waiting game to see if anyone will emerge to unseat her as the Emmy frontrunner.
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in Television
Winner: “The Mandalorian”
Runner Up: “The Boys”
Most Likely To Upset: “Cobra Kai”
Thoughts: Why beat around the bush? We all know how this will end. Audiences and critics went crazy for “The Mandalorian’s” second season, and I expect that will be rewarded here.
Who do you think will win at the SAG Awards this Sunday? Let us know in the comments section below and let us know on our Twitter account. Look out for the rest of the NBP Team’s predictions tomorrow.
You can follow Amanda and hear more of her thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @msamandaspears