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What the Screen Actors Guild Awards Could Mean for the Oscars

January 28, 2013

By John C.

Jennifer Lawrence - 19th SAG Awards

Jennifer Lawrence

The 19th Screen Actors Guild awards were handed out last night, a ceremony that left me happy with the winners and questioning what it could mean for the Oscars on February 24th.  There might not be much more commentary to add at this point, but I’m going to be comparing the winners at the SAG awards and the nominees at the Oscars, pointing out where the categories differ and how they stay the same.

There was no way to watch the beginning of the awards in Canada, as it seemed that Global TV wasn’t broadcasting the show.  They finally tuned in to the live feed forty minutes after the start of the telecast, but it was an epic fail on the part of the channel that had exclusive rights to the telecast.  But enough complaining and on to my thoughts on the awards.

The performances honoured by the Screen Actors Guild mirrored the acting nominations for the Academy Awards in all but six places.  They recognized the leading performances of Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone and Helen Mirren in Hitchcock, as well as the supporting work of Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy and Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but these actresses missed out on Oscar nominations.  The Screen Actors Guild also gave Javier Bardem a supporting nod for Skyfall and recognized John Hawkes for his profoundly moving leading work in The Sessions, two more performances that were left off of the ballot for the Academy Awards.

The first two awards of the Screen Actors Guild were for the supporting categories.  Tommy Lee Jones won Best Supporting Actor for Lincoln, and even though he wasn’t in attendance to accept the trophy, his win could lead to a triumph in the wide open category come February 24th.  Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman round out the Oscar field with Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and The Master, three excellent performances that add to a category made up of previous winners.  But Christoph Waltz is also nominated for Django Unchained, and after his Golden Globe win two weeks ago, he should also be counted as an Oscar frontrunner.

Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables, cementing herself as the frontrunner in an Oscar race that also includes Sally Field for Lincoln and Helen Hunt for her beautifully nuanced work in The Sessions.  Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver round out the list of Oscar nominees for The Master and Silver Linings Playbook, two excellent supporting performances that add to the brilliant ensemble casts of their films.  But this is one category where we do have a frontrunner.  Although she is only in the first part of Les Misérables, Anne Hathaway was quite good in her supporting role and will likely win come Oscar night for “I Dreamed a Dream.”

The next award gave us some indication of which way the wind might blow for one of the categories that has been hardest to predict.  Jennifer Lawrence won the Actor for Best Actress for her brilliant work in Silver Linings Playbook, over Jessica Chastain for her excellent performance in Zero Dark Thirty.  Even though Jennifer Lawrence had been sick all week with pneumonia, she still delivered a wonderful and memorable speech, which could make a strong impression on some of the undecided Oscar voters.  This is a hard category for me, because Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are both two of my favourite actresses, but at this point in the game it all comes down to awards season politics.

Naomi Watts is also nominated at the Oscars for her performance in the melodramatic disaster film The Impossible, but she has no chance of pulling an upset.  Rounding out the list of Oscar contenders are Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhané Wallis for the deeply moving films Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, who have the distinct honour of being both the oldest and youngest nominees in the category.  But this race is down to Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain, two excellent actresses turning in very different but equally strong performances, who would both deserve the gold on February 24th.

The next SAG award was for Best Actor and it went to Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, another very deserving trophy for his mesmerizing performance.  The Oscar field is rounded out by Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman and Denzel Washington for Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables and Flight, and Joaquin Phoenix also got a nomination for his brilliant work in The Master.  Throughout the season, I’ve been happy to see all of these fine performances get recognized in one capacity or another, but Daniel Day-Lewis winning is the closest thing we have to a lock come Oscar night.

But what might be equally indicative of things to come is that Argo took home the final award at the Screen Actors Guild, as the film was honoured for its ensemble cast.  Ben Affleck delivered a great speech and the whole cast got a standing ovation as they took to the stage, which has been customary ever since the director was snubbed of an Oscar nomination.  With the film also triumphing at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday evening, the pieces of the awards season puzzle are finally starting to fall into place, and I’m thinking that Argo might just be able to pull off a win for Best Picture on February 24th.

But perhaps the best celebration of the numerous performances on display came during last night’s ceremony, when Alec Baldwin presented the Life Achievement Award to Dick Van Dyke.  “That does an old man a lot of good,” he said after taking the stage.  “I’m looking at the greatest generation of actors in the history of acting,” he said during his humorous and heartfelt acceptance speech, “you’ve all lifted the art to another place now.”  There are numerous great performances being recognized this awards season, and Dick Van Dyke gave us one of the best appreciations of their talent that we have gotten.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chantal M. permalink
    January 31, 2013 9:15 am

    Jennifer Lawrence deserved to win SAG Award and I hope that she is also winning the Oscar. She was amazing in Silver Lining Playbook. She is the reason I’ll watch this movie again. I’m sure that we will see more of her in the future.


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