5 BIG THINGS FROM THE 2017 SAGs
by Jeremy Goeckner, Editor-In-Chief
The third big movie awards show of the competitive season aired last night with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. This is traditionally one of the biggest indicators of Oscar success and this year’s ceremony gave us plenty of big wins, but mostly more questions about what we can expect from the Oscars on February 26th. So here are my 5 big takeaways from the 2017 SAG Awards.
DIVERSITY WINS BIG
After the #OscarSoWhite controversy last year, the awards ceremonies promised a much more diverse field and competition in future years. Well it hasn’t taken them long to deliver on that promise as 3 out of the 4 competitive acting categories went to African American actors. And even more, the SAG equivalent to Best Picture went to Hidden Figures, dealing with the important contributions of African American women to the Space Program in the 1960s. Taken altogether, it certainly appears that the awards ceremonies have solved their diversity problem from merely one year ago. All that is left to see is if the momentum can carry through to the big show.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IS PRETTY COMPLICATED
If there is one category this year that is the most unpredictable so far this year it is the Best Supporting Actor category. The Golden Globes kicked it off with a win for Nocturnal Animals’ Aaron Taylor Johnson. However Johnson hasn’t even garnered a nomination from the other award shows with his spot going to costar Michael Shannon in most instances. Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali was the early front-runner but was genuinely surprised by the Globes result. Now with a SAG win and the recent Critics Choice win, could he be gearing up for Oscar gold? Who knows? The way this category has been going there might 2 more winners before the Oscars arrive. One thing is for sure: the waters are still muddied.
WHAT TO DO WITH HIDDEN FIGURES?
This film is a bit of an enigma from an awards standpoint right now. The film is one of the best reviewed of the year (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) but it was nearly non-existent when it came to the pre-awards season buzz. The film itself is a very fine piece of cinema detailing a story that few would ever actually know unless Hollywood got a hold of it. But for all the praise, its SAG win for Best Acting Ensemble is its first major win all season; although it is a BIG feather in its cap heading into the Oscars. Now does this mean that it’s on its way to upsetting La La Land in the Best Picture category? I’d heavily doubt it. But the Guild does represent the biggest block of Academy voters so this might indicate some sweating on the horizon for the Best Picture front-runners.
HAS DENZEL TAKEN THE LEAD?
Just as enigmatic in the acting categories is trying to figure out what Best Actor is up to this year. Casey Affleck appeared ready to run away with this race after collecting the Golden Globe for Manchester By The Sea. But since then, there has been fresh reporting on sexual harassment allegations against him and since he’s seen his winning percentage take a dip. And, true to form, Denzel Washington walked away with the prize last night prompting fresh speculation about who really has the lead heading into the home stretch. Denzel’s performance in Fences has been earning rave reviews all year (as well as his directing abilities). So if Denzel is in line for his 3rd Oscar, it appears he has a big win to set him on the path to get it.
A SNEAKY BIG WIN FOR LA LA LAND
Emma Stone’s win for Best Lead Actress means a couple of things. With this and the Golden Globe win, one would say she has a pretty good lead heading into the home stretch. However Natalie Portman collected the Critics’ Choice award for her heart-wrenching portrayal of Jackie Kennedy and Isabelle Huppert has come on like a rocket for Elle. However, the win for Stone at the SAG’s might spell some great news for La La Land come the big night. La La Land tied a record with 14 Oscar nominations. Ever since the speculation has been rampant about whether it can break the wins record of 11 held by 3 films (Ben-Hur, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). The big test will be the two acting categories with Stone and Gossling. While I personally think Stone has the stronger case of the two, her win among the Guild bodes very well for her chances and that might be that 12th win that La La Land needs at the big ceremony to try and etch its name in film history.