Oscar watch! What a 'Black Panther' win and other SAG Awards mean for the Academy Awards
The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards had moments of passion, pleasure and humor. USA TODAY
The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night firmed up some races heading into next month’s Academy Awards, threw a bunch of others into chaos, and made the possibility of a superhero movie winning best picture seem a lot more realistic.
The thespians honored their own at the SAG Awards, and although they are the largest voting bloc for the Oscars, lots of others will have a say in choosing which movies and stars are honored at the ceremony airing live Feb. 24 (ABC, 8 p.m. EST/5 PST).
Let’s look at who’s up and who’s down going into Hollywood’s biggest night:
'Black Panther’ is roaring louder than ever.
Usually, by this point, we at least have one or two best picture front-runners. This year’s crop of contenders is decidedly more unpredictable. With a SAG win for “Black Panther” coming off a historic Oscar nomination, it’s got momentum (though it could also go the route of SAG-approved also-rans "Hidden Figures" and "American Hustle"). The Producers Guild – a key Oscar bellwether – named controversial “Green Book” as its top movie. Then there’s “Roma,” with major Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice wins. Not to mention an overperforming “Bohemian Rhapsody” and underperforming “A Star Is Born.” The Academy’s preferential ballot may prove very consequential in a race where there’s nothing close to a clear favorite.
Glenn Close looks like a lock for her first Oscar.
Remember when Lady Gaga had best actress sewn up as soon as she started singing “Shallow” in “A Star Is Born”? Neither does anyone else. Close’s Golden Globes win for “The Wife” seemed a surprise at the time, but after a Critics’ Choice tie (with Gaga) and a SAG award – plus the fact that she’s never won an Academy Award in six previous tries – now it seems more like kismet than upset.
Will one, just one, best actor please stand up?
The actors have given a collective thumb’s up to Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” What remains to be seen is if he can woo enough voters away from “Vice” star Christian Bale and his transformative, Globe-winning role as former Vice President Dick Cheney. Best actor could be a toss-up between those two, though Bradley Cooper could get extra attention for being snubbed in the directing category for “A Star Is Born.”
Who’s going to give Regina King a run for supporting actress?
This is the wildest Oscars category. Emily Blunt came out of nowhere to win the SAG equivalent but isn’t nominated for the Academy Award. “If Beale Street Could Talk” star King won the Golden Globe but wasn’t up for the SAG honor. She still seems like the safest bet, with “The Favourite” actresses Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz perhaps canceling each other out, although “Vice” star Amy Adams shouldn’t be counted out: Like Close, she’s another film fave who doesn’t have Oscar on her shelf.
Mahershala Ali is pretty much the only sure thing.
At least one actor every awards season runs the table. After wins at Globes and SAGs, Ali is likely unstoppable on the way to a supporting actor Oscar for “Green Book,” just two years after winning the same honor for "Moonlight." In an increasingly insane road to the Academy Awards, wins for Ali and Close seem to be the only things that make sense.
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