Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Endgame: How Will The SAG, PGA & DGA Award Winners Affect The Oscar Race?

We’re getting close now, folks! With the significant guild awards wrapped up, the Oscars are less than two short weeks away. While “Oppenheimer” has steamrolled this entire season, many other categories remained in question deep into awards season. The BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards, and Golden Globes helped clarify many of the races, but few voting bodies correlate more with the Oscars than SAG, PGA, and DGA. Oscar voting closes this week, with no more major shows that could impact votes. Let’s dive into the winners and see how the race has shifted after the guild awards.

As if no suspense existed about which film would take home the Oscar for Best Picture, “Oppenheimer” sealed the deal with the guilds. After winning the majority of critics prizes, Critics’ Choice, the Golden Globe for Best Drama, and BAFTA, Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed drama picked up the DGA for Outstanding Directing, the PGA Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture, and the SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble. It’s a clean sweep for “Oppenheimer.” Since the SAG Ensemble began back in 1995, only one film won that, PGA and DGA, and still lost Best Picture: “Apollo 13.” There’s just no room for debate at this point. “Oppenheimer” is winning Best Picture, and that’s that.

Shall I repeat myself here? In the same way that “Oppenheimer” has dominated the Best Picture race, Nolan himself has won nearly every Best Director prize in his path. The Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and now DGA have all gone his way. After years of directing massive, acclaimed blockbusters and being largely snubbed by awards bodies, Nolan will finally snag his Oscar for a World War II film, much like Steven Spielberg back in 1993. The last person to win Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and DGA while still losing the Oscar was Sam Mendes in 2019. That wasn’t so long ago, but even then, eventual Oscar winner Bong Joon-ho tied him for the Critics’ Choice Award. Before that, Ben Affleck was curiously snubbed from a nomination at the Oscars. There’s no reason to belabor the point: Nolan is winning the Oscar for Best Director, and DGA simply confirmed it.

The sweeps continue with the supporting acting categories. Da’Vine Joy Randolph hasn’t lost a single major prize this year, winning the SAG Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Similarly, while we once thought Ryan Gosling might make this a two-person race, Robert Downey Jr. has won everywhere, including the SAG Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. With BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, and SAG Awards on their mantles, any chance of DJR and RDJ losing their Oscars is gone.

Here, the sweeps end. Cillian Murphy triumphed at the SAG Awards this weekend, gaining a clear edge over Paul Giamatti, who had been gaining steam. This adds to Murphy’s earlier BAFTA and Golden Globe wins. Giamatti won the Comedy Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Award, leading many to predict him to win the Oscar. While this isn’t a clean sweep, as with Randolph and Downey Jr., the SAG/BAFTA combo is quite strong. Had Giamatti won at SAG, one could’ve argued that Murphy’s BAFTA win could propel him to a win, a la Anthony Hopkins in 2021 or Olivia Colman in 2018. The reverse case cannot be made for Giamatti’s Critics’ Choice Award. This race is now like that of 2014, when Michael Keaton won the Comedy Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice, leading many to believe he was winning the Oscar, only to lose to the winner of the SAG and BAFTA Awards, Eddie Redmayne. Even so, the case is even stronger for Murphy than Redmayne, considering Murphy’s film will win Best Picture.

Only one of the four acting races is genuinely up in the air post-SAG. After both Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone won their respective Drama and Comedy Golden Globes, the race seemed like it might tilt in Gladstone’s favor. Then, Stone won the Critics’ Choice and BAFTA Awards. Just as it appeared she might go home empty-handed, Gladstone came back to win the SAG Award. The Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe organizations do not overlap with the Academy, but both BAFTA and SAG have crossover with their memberships. With Stone and Gladstone each holding one of those awards, this is almost entirely a dead heat. So, who are you predicting will win the Oscar? The past two years, the SAG Awards matched the Oscar winners four for four, as they have numerous other times. Will it happen for a third year in a row?

We’re in a similar position to last year. Much like BAFTA winner Cate Blanchett, Stone already has an Oscar. Much like SAG winner Michelle Yeoh’s history-making Oscar win last year, Gladstone would be the first Indigenous person to win an acting Oscar and the third woman of color to win Best Actress. In years past, the Academy hadn’t shied away from giving an actress multiple Oscars instead of making history with a woman of color, as happened when Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for “The Iron Lady” instead of giving Viola Davis the award for “The Help.” Still, the Academy has changed drastically since then. While this race is undoubtedly close, this newer Academy tends to lean toward making history. I think Gladstone will take the Oscar in the end. But it’ll be a nail-biter.

While moat presumed “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” would coast to an easy victory at the Oscars, “The Boy and the Heron” has put up quite a fight. Despite no overlap between that group and the Academy, winning the Golden Globe put “The Boy and the Heron” on TV as a winner early on in the season. Hayao Miyazaki’s film also picked up the BAFTA, showing some genuine strength. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” won the Critics’ Choice, but all eyes were on PGA to see which film indeed garnered more industry support. That prize went to “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” With the Academy voting for more traditional or mainstream winners in Best Animated Feature as of late, the PGA win truly solidified the pick. Despite a good showing for “The Boy and the Heron,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” should safely win the Oscar.

Documentary is often a tough nut to crack. The precursors often go in wild directions, and this year is no different. The PGA Award went to “American Symphony,” which did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Only one Oscar-nominated film was even nominated at PGA, “20 Days in Mariupol,” which picked up the BAFTA win last week. For all intents and purposes, “20 Days in Mariupol” is the Oscar nominee with the most precursor wins, so it’s the presumed frontrunner. Still, anything could happen in this category. “20 Days in Mariupol” is the safest prediction, but “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” recently received plenty of attention. Keep your eyes peeled for a surprise.

Other guild awards await, like ASC, ACE, CAS, and more, but the season is in the endgame now. This is shaping up to be my favorite sort of season: there are enough categories locked up to make me feel confident as a whole, but with a few tough calls along the way. Nevertheless, with voting still underway, anything’s possible. Well, except for “Oppenheimer” losing Best Picture. That’s not happening.

How did your predictions change after the SAG, DGA, and PGA awards? Which categories are you still fretting over? Are you going for Gladstone or Stone in Best Actress? Please us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account and be sure to vote on your own 96th Academy Award winners ballot here and check out our latest Oscar predictions here.

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Daniel Howat
Daniel Howat
Movie and awards season obsessed. Hollywood Critics Association Member.

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