Last night was the awards season's most quick and efficient night, with the Screen Actors Guild giving out their annual awards for performances in film and television. Perhaps the SAG Awards' biggest (only?) function is helping to predict who will win Oscars, so let's take a look at this year's movie winners (TV, feh) and divine things from the tea leaves.
1. Best Actor Is a Two-Horse Race
Any hope that some people (including us) had that this might be Brad Pitt's year to win for his smart, subtle work in Moneyball seems to have completely faded. Yes, this is really a race between George Clooney for The Descendants and last night's surprise winner Jean Dujardin for The Artist. Dujardin's win was really only a surprise because he was up against George Clooney, the man that all of Hollywood wishes was their dad/boyfriend/son/best friend/self. Fellow Oscar nominees Demián Bichir, Gary Oldman, and yes even Pitt just can't compete with Clooney's aura of perfection and Dujardin's dashing underdoggism. We suspect a win for Dujardin in the end.
2. Hand the Award to Octavia Spencer & Christopher Plummer
With wins at both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, these two Supporting acting winners seem like all but sure bets to win their categories come Oscar time. Sure the supporting categories don't always match up from SAG to Oscar — Eddie Murphy won the SAG only to lose the Oscar to Alan Arkin, Ruby Dee won the SAG but later lost to Tilda Swinton — but both Plummer and Spencer have so much momentum behind them that we don't see it slowing between now and voting time. For what once looked like scattershot, wide-open races, the end results suddenly look surprisingly clear.
3. Best Actress Is a Three-Way
Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, and Viola Davis have now all won major awards for their work this year (Streep and Williams at the Globes, Davis last night at the SAGs) so really the glittery Oscar trophy could be any of theirs. Well, looking a bit more closely, we think it's unlikely that Williams will snag the prize. Our money is still on Streep, though Davis is now coming up from behind pretty quickly, buoyed no doubt by her gracious, stirring acceptance speech last night. Also, The Help's big win for Best Ensemble probably didn't hurt either. Watch your back, Streep!
4. The Academy's Tough Choice
When it comes to this year's Best Picture, it appears the Academy has a decision to make. Either it goes with the Globes-annointed Intellectual option, that'd be The Descendants, or it goes, as it so often does, with its heart. Trouble is, now there are two films, the Hollywood-celebrating The Artist and the uplifting, hey-look-we're-not-racist The Help, competing the heart category. How to choose?? Well, The Artist also sort of falls under the Intellectual umbrella, what with it being silent and black & white and French and all, so it's sort of the swing. Our fearless forecast is that because it exists in both those camps, The Artist will get enough votes from both sides to win, but probably only by a nose. A little wet Jack Russell nose!