The Oscar Best Picture race took another turn last night as Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama Spotlight took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, ahead of their Best Picture rival, and last Saturday’s PGA winner, The Big Short. Many pundits agreed that if The Big Short had won the award at SAG, the film would be a safe bet to go all the way and win Best Picture. However, with Spotlight’s victory, it leaves the race wide open, with only a few precursors to go. Spotlight and The Big Short are both nominated in the Best Film category at BAFTA, and their screenplays are nominated in different categories at WGA, while Spotlight helmer Tom McCarthy will face off against The Big Short‘s Adam McKay at DGA. These precursors are looking more and more crucial in a tough year to call, and you also need to factor in The Revenant, which is a very strong contender at both BAFTA and DGA. But this win for Spotlight is massive, as it does show that it, at the very least, has support from the acting branch.
In the individual categories, it is pretty safe to say that the Oscar winners are all wrapped up. Leonardo DiCaprio won his first SAG award in Best Actor for The Revenant, while Brie Larson won in Best Actress for her bravura performance in Room. Expect both to be up on stage at the Dolby Theatre on February 28th. Meanwhile in the Supporting categories, Idris Elba became the first SAG winner not to be nominated at the Oscars as he won Best Supporting Actor for his electric performance in Beasts of No Nation, a film that received no nominations from the Academy, and Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. Elba’s win here, ahead of Christian Bale and Mark Rylance, really does clear the way for Sylvester Stallone to win the Oscar for Creed, even though he wasn’t nominated here, or at BAFTA. Also, you have to be pleased for Vikander, as she is phenomenal in the film, but it is just not a supporting performance; she’s clearly a lead, and that is where she is correctly categorised at the Golden Globes and at BAFTA. Mad Max: Fury Road also continued their fine awards season with a win for Best Stunt Ensemble.
Over on the Television side, there was a bit of deja vu, as 6 of the 7 non-TV Movie/Limited Series awards were given to the same winners as last year, with Jeffrey Tambor, who was not nominated last year, being the only non-repeat winner as he beat William H. Macy to win Best Comedy Actor. That meant that Downton Abbey won for the 3rd time in 4 years, beating out Emmy winner Game of Thrones to win Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, in what is nothing short of a very boring victory. Meanwhile on the Comedy side, Orange is the New Black won their second consecutive Best Ensemble prize, showing that SAG-AFTRA are the only people that still think that: 1. Orange is the New Black is a comedy and 2. that it is better that both Veep and Transparent. I don’t mind this too much, as it’s better than the awful Modern Family winning every year, but, come on, do they even watch those other shows.
In the individual categories, SAG continue to favour the movie stars, as Kevin Spacey won Best Actor in a Drama Series for House of Cards, beating out sentimental favourite Jon Hamm, who missed out on the goodbye hug for Mad Men that he received from both the Emmys and the Golden Globes. Viola Davis was a comfortable winner in Best Actress in a Drama Series for How to Get Away with Murder, that makes her a clear frontrunner to take home her second Emmy in September. Over on the comedy side, the aforementioned victory for Jeffrey Tambor in Best Actor means that he has now completed the big 4 TV award wins (Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics’ Choice) for his role on Amazon’s Transparent, which is, in all fairness, a drama, and Uzo Aduba continues her fine awards form by beating heavy favourite Julia Louis-Dreyfus to win her second SAG award for Orange is the New Black, matching her 2 Emmy wins for the same role. In the TV Movie/Limited Series categories, Idris Elba won his second award of the night for his performance as John Luther in the BBC Drama Luther, while Queen Latifah was a comfortable winner for her portrayal of Bessie Smith in the Emmy-winning HBO Movie Bessie.
Overall, we didn’t learn too much from last night’s SAG Awards, and there wasn’t many jaw dropping victories, but it does give an insight into what the thoughts of the acting branch are ahead of the Oscars and Emmys, and that The Big Short, Game of Thrones, and Veep are not quite as popular as we once thought.