Are The SAG Awards A Major Influence On The Acting Academy Awards?

This past Sunday, the annual Screen Actors Guild awards were handed out for the 22nd time.  Most of the focus was on the number of winners who are Black, a major statement considering the recently announced all-White acting Oscar nominations.

But what about influence?  In this space in the past, I’ve twice examined the supposed impact the bowling trophies, aka the Golden Globes, have on the Academy Awards.  Now let’s see if the SAG Awards fare any better.

There is no Best Picture category at the SAGs but there is a Best Ensemble Cast prize which is essentially the same thing.  Unfortunately, out of 20 past ceremonies, only 10 Best Ensemble winners went on to win Best Picture, a 50% success rate.  (There was no Best Ensemble category during the first SAGs in 1995.  The Birdcage was the only SAG winner not to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination while the cast of Braveheart wasn’t nominated for a SAG.)

Birdman won both the Best Ensemble SAG & the Best Picture Oscar in 2015 so Spotlight, this year’s Ensemble Cast winner, is hoping for the same result.  We shall see.

Best Actor SAG winners do a lot better at the Oscars.  Only 4 of 21 victors have lost the Best Actor Academy Award for the same performance in the same category, a 81% success rate.  (Traffic’s Benicio Del Toro, the 2001 Best Actor SAG winner, wasn’t even nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.  That’s because he was singled out in the Best Supporting Actor category which he won.)

Here’s another important statistic.  Since Jamie Foxx pulled the double in 2005 for Ray, the SAG Best Actor winner has gone on to win the equivalent Oscar every year since.  That’s 11 consecutive times.  A very good sign for Leonardo DiCaprio who just won the Best Actor SAG for The Revenant.

Best Actress SAG winners are far less certain of winning the Best Actress Oscar.  Only 13 of the past 21 recipients have gone to take both prizes, a 62% success rate.  (In 2009, Kate Winslet, who won the Best Actress Oscar for The Reader, was nominated for the Best Actress SAG for her performance in Revolutionary Road which she lost to Doubt’s Meryl Streep.  She won the Best Supporting Actress SAG for Revolutionary Road which was not nominated for an Oscar.)

The good news for this year’s Best Actress SAG winner, Room’s Brie Larson, is that the past 6 SAG winners have gone on to win the equivalent Oscar.  It’s no guarantee of success but a hopeful sign nonetheless.

Best Supporting Actress SAG winners have only slighter better odds.  14 of the past 21 winners have gone on to snag the Supporting Actress Oscar, a 67% success rate.  (Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock) and Jennifer Connolly (A Beautiful Mind) are the only Oscar winners in this category to not get nominated for the respective SAG.  Kim Basinger (LA Confidential) & Gloria Stuart (Titanic) tied for the SAG but Basinger won the Oscar outright.)

Also like Best Actress, the past 6 Supporting Actress SAG winners have also taken the Academy Award, a good sign potentially for The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander.

Finally, there’s Best Supporting Actor.  Only 11 of the 21 SAG winners in this category are also Oscar winners, a 52% success rate, a statistical coin flip.  (Django Unchained’s Christoph Waltz, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, wasn’t nominated for a SAG.)

That statistic goes down even further when you remember that this year’s Supporting Actor SAG winner, Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation), didn’t even get nominated for an Oscar.  So that statistical coin flip becomes an actual coin flip:  50%.

So, as you can see, much like the Golden Globes, winning an Actor is no guarantee of winning an Oscar, with the notable exception of Best Actor SAG recipients.  But expect most of this year’s SAG winners to pull a double, regardless.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
2:51 a.m.

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Published in: on February 2, 2016 at 2:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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