Well folks, we have a race. If PGA winner The Big Short would have won last night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, it might be a slam dunk that it would go on to win at the Oscars, but hold on a minute. Spotlight took home the Best Ensemble Cast award, equivalent to Best Film, and we now have a neck and neck race between Spotlight and The Big Short, with The Revenant, not too far behind. That film does lead the field with 12 nominations, but did not receive an Ensemble Cast nominee from SAG. This is great news! I love the fact that we will be going into the Academy Awards with a lot of suspense and intrigue for Best Picture. The DGA will also add some flavor into the pot as well, but I will get into that in a few.
Back to the SAG Awards and although I was thrilled to see Spotlight win and thought it was very deserving, the biggest news on the film side was the epic, amazing and satisfactory victory for Idris Elba in the Best Supporting Male category for his mesmerizing portrayal of an African warlord in Cary Fukunaga’s spectacular Beasts of No Nation. This was not only completely deserving, as I think he gave the best performance out of the five nominees and the best throughout the entire year, but a big fuck you to the Academy for not nominating him, and a blistering commentary on diversity and inclusion within the Academy. I have ranted on his not being nominated in my last Countdown commentary, and I jumped off my sofa when his name was announced. So thrilled and happy to see that film get some attention. It still has many nominations, and possible wins, at the Spirit Awards, and I am really happy Elba won. He also won on the TV side for his performance in “Luther.” Elba winning was the best thing that happened at the SAG awards on the film side!! Actually, it was the best thing that happened on the film and television side period!
The usuals won in the rest of the acting fields, at least in the lead categories, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson both took home the actor. This victory cements their impending Oscar statues in a month. If either DiCaprio or Larson do not win at the Academy Awards it will be a monumental upset as they have been victorious throughout the awards season. Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Female. This victory gives me reason to believe that she is the frontrunner going into the Academy Awards and my bet is easily on her. The only way she does not win is if her and Rooney Mara split votes and Kate Winslet surprises at the Oscars. My bet is on Vikander. Plus, she has that brilliant performance in Ex Machina brewing in the voters minds and the fact that Mara’s film did not receive a Best Picture nomination helps to.
Where are we when it comes to Best Picture? As I aforementioned, it is Spotlight v The Big Short, with The Revenant not too far behind but would need an Iñárritu win at the DGA to make it a solid three-way race for Best Picture. I drank the kool-aid and predicted The Big Short for Best Ensemble Cast at the SAG’s after that film won with the PGA, but do not ever count out the brilliance and prestige of Spotlight. I will make my first Oscar predictions in the middle of this week, but right now I am leaning on Spotlight to win. I have been behind the film since I saw it last October and it is right up the Academy’s alley, except for the fact no journalism film as ever won Best Picture. Time to break that streak and what a brilliant film to do it. As for the The Big Short, a film has not won Best Picture without winning at least one award from SAG since The Hurt Locker in 2010 and The Departed in 2007. So, theoretically it is still possible, but it does not help. The big reason it is still in a solid position against Spotlight is that it will most likely win Best Adapted Screenplay and it won the PGA, so it has a lot of support within the industry.
When it comes to the acting categories, it is a done deal for DiCaprio and Larson, and I am almost certain Vikander will win for Best Supporting Actress. That Best Supporting Actor field is wide open. Stallone has been racking up victories with Critics and at the Golden Globes, but he was not nominated by SAG. Mark Rylance was the perceived frontrunner after the premiere of Bridge of Spies, but that has not taken flight. It is a subdued, minimalist thing of beauty that he delivers, but not Oscar winning in my book. Not like Idris Elba or Paul Dano. Actually, if it was up to me, Best Supporting Actor would be locked down between Elba and Dano, with Michael Shannon not to far behind. I still cannot believe Elba did not get that nomination and he should have, when the show occurs, won. You also have Christian Bale, but I think he needed the win at the SAG to make me feel comfortable with him winning at the Oscars. They do love him and I would not be surprised if he won. Ruffalo and Hardy are also strong contenders, especially since both films are loved by the Academy. I would still bet on Stallone just based on his previous victories and the whole “legend/veteran actor” thing, but this category is still wide open.
Well, that is where we stand for now. It is so exciting to have a real race in a year of such high quality cinema. The next determining factor is the DGA awards. The winners will be announced on February 6th. It looks like it is between George Miller and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, with Adam McKay right on their tails. If Tom McCarthy was to win though, I would be shocked and would definitely believe that Spotlight would win Best Picture. If Ridley Scott wins, all bets are off and it would add even more chaos, intrigue and fun to the race. Enjoy!!!
Photo credit by hollywoodreporter.com