Oscars So Unpredictable: Only 1 of the 4 Acting Awards Seems Settled. How Does This Compare to Past Years?
Last year, all four of the actors who won Oscars – Will Smith and Jessica Chastain in the lead categories, and Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose in the supporting races — had won in those same categories at the Screen Actors Guild Awards one month earlier. Their Oscar coronations were not quite foregone conclusions, but nearly so.
It’s very different this year. Only one of the actors who won at the SAG Awards on Feb. 26 seems certain of also winning an Oscar on Sunday, March 12. That’s Ke Huy Quan for his supporting role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Michelle Yeoh, who won the SAG Award for her leading role in that same film, is probably the front-runner to also win the Oscar, but Cate Blanchett can’t be counted out for her acclaimed performance in Tár. Blanchett has already won two Oscars, which may work against her here.
Brendan Fraser, who won at the SAG Awards for his lead performance in The Whale, is a serious contender for the Oscar, but Austin Butler (for Elvis) and Colin Farrell (for The Banshees of Inisherin) could just as easily take it. This one is too close to call.
So is the race for best supporting actress. Jamie Lee Curtis won at the SAG Awards for her supporting turn in Everything Everywhere All at Once, and gave a great, self-deprecating speech, referring to herself a “nepo baby.” (Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, two of the top Hollywood stars of their era.) She could easily also win the Oscar – in the same category where her mom was nominated (and lost) for her unforgettable performance in Psycho.
But many will want to see the Oscar go to Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, particularly after two other Black actresses — Viola Davis (for The Woman King) and Danielle Deadwyler (for Till) — were passed over for Oscar nods for best actress. This race, too, is too close to call.
How closely have the SAG Awards winners aligned with the Oscar winners in the four acting categories? Pretty closely, but not well enough for SAG winners to get overly confident.
Since the SAG Awards began in 1995 (honoring films released in 1994), all four SAG winners went on to win Oscars nine times. Three of the four went on to win Oscars 11 times. Let’s pause here: The SAG winners aligned with the Oscar winners in at least three of the four categories 20 times in the past 28 years – an impressive rate of agreement.
That leaves eight years where the agreement was less impressive. Just two of the four SAG winners went on to win Oscars six times. Just one of the four went on to win the Oscar twice. Those two years where the two voting bodies were far apart were 2001 and 2002, where they agreed only on Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball (2001) and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago (2002).
The rate of agreement between the two shows has increased over time. In the SAG Awards’ first 14 years, they agreed on all four winners just twice. In the last 14 years, they have agreed seven times.
Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) and Kate Winslet (The Reader) were winners at both shows, but in different categories. Del Toro won the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role, but he went on to win the Oscar for best supporting actor. It worked the other way around for Winslet, who won the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role, but went on to win the Oscar for best actress. (Since they both won at both shows, we counted them as in agreement.)
The SAG Awards have had one tie in a Big Four acting category. In 1997, Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) tied for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role with Gloria Stuart (Titanic). Basinger went on to win the Oscar. (Since at least one of the SAG winners went on to win at the Oscars, we counted that as being in agreement too.)
The SAG Awards have presented two of their marquee film acting awards posthumously, to Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Only Ledger went on to win the Oscar.
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