Oscar Derby 2017: PGA and SAG

la la not listening...

Welcome back to the derby, darlings!

Over the weekend we saw both the 28th Annual Producers Guild Awards and the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Awards, with La La Land and Hidden Figures being the respective top prize winners in each.

These are the beginning of the guild awards; and the guild awards, while generally being less exciting / widely known, are more reliable gauges of how the various Academy voting pools are leaning.


The Producers Guild Awards

So in previous years what were early critical / awards favorites like 2010’s Social Network and 2014’s Boyhood lost the Producers Guild Award, only to see attention shift to eventual Oscar winners King’s Speech and Birdman, respectively. And in the case of 2013, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity actually tied for the PGA, with 12 Years a Slave being the eventual Oscar winner.

Of course, that was up until last year when Spotlight won the Oscar over PGA winner The Big Short. 

Other than that though, no other film since 2009 (when Best Picture expanded to more potential nominees) has won the Oscar that had not previously won the PGA.

So do I think that will be the case this year with La La Land?

As much as it is burning me deep inside1…probably not. If anything this seems to bolster La La Land’s march to an inevitable (and irritating) Oscar sweep. Academy members are (I think blindingly) in love with the movie, and seem determined to crown it.

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

La La Land (Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt)

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Zootopia (Clark Spencer)

Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow)

And if you’re interested in the tv side of things as well, you can view a full list of the winners here.


The Screen Actors Guild

The Screen Actors Guild  represents the largest voting body in The Academy. As such they can be fairly decent prognosticators of the Oscars, especially in the Acting categories (and shooting about 50/50 with the Best Picture.)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

The Oscar pack looks the exact same as this — so the win for Denzel Washington here is telling. Casey Affleck has gathered many of the critics awards (as well as the Golden Globe), and for all we know he has the support of other guild pools… but as I mentioned in my nominee break-down, I did think there was a percentage chance that Denzel could sneak in there. He’s a Hollywood veteran and favorite who truly dominates his film… that he also directed. It’s ultimately not surprising the actor pool kicked his way.

Earlier I would have called it a smaller percentage chance of Denzel taking the Oscar, but now I’m willing to say it might be a much much closer race. I’d guess Gosling is probably out of contention going forward, and thus the Oscar will boil down to Affleck vs. Washington, with Washington now pushed ahead. 


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Emily Blunt (Girl on the Train)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Reminder that at the Academy Awards Ruth Negga (Loving) and Isabelle Huppert (Elle) replace Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. But that’s largely irrelevant since it seems that nothing is going to stop Emma Stone from her Oscar at this point. She has SAG backing, and will probably ride the La La Land Love Wave.


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

🎶 Go Viola 🎶 Go Viola 🎶 Go Viola 🎶

Deserves all of it. Clean up all the awards, Ms. Davis!


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Nothing snarky. It seems little is standing in his way to the Oscar either… unless older Academy voters from other guild pools get Jeff Bridges happy. That’s about the only other scenario I could envision.


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Captain Fantastic
Hidden Figures
Manchester by the Sea

Well that’s pretty fucking cool. All the love for an enjoyable movie about a trio of black women in NASA! (If you want, you can view the complete list of winners here.)

So this award is basically the SAG equivalent of “Best Picture,” although that can be more or less relevant on any given year, depending on the nominees.

You’ll see that La La Land was noticeably absent in this category… but it’s also a film that lacks much of an ensemble. Whether or not this will actually make much of a stumble in its path towards Best Picture remains to be seen.

Want to see how this sort of thing can go? Let’s take a brief Oscar History lesson detour and look at the 2013 awards for an example of the SAG vs. Oscar wacky… 

Gravity was not included in Best Cast that year (after all, it was largely a one character vehicle for Sandra Bullock), but it would go on to win Best Director. Although its also worth pointing out that Sandra Bullock lost that year — not only the SAG, but the Oscar as well to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. And while Gravity remained an Oscar Best Picture frontrunner, it ultimately lost to 12 Years a Slave. However, it’s worth remembering that both lost this award, the SAG Best Cast Award, to American Hustle that year.

And for funsies, let’s go back further… aaallll the way back to when the award started in 1995. Out of the past 22 years 10 films have managed to win the Best Picture Oscar without winning SAG Best Cast first. So slightly less than half the time. Worth noting it was also more common earlier on, with the disparities becoming fewer as the years proceeded. If you’re curious to see for yourself, those Oscar years/movies are:

  • 2011– The Artist (lost the SAG to The Help)(because what???) 
  • 2009 — The Hurt Locker (lost the SAG to Inglorious Basterds)(I immensely prefer SAGs choice)
  • 2006 — The Departed (lost the SAG to Little Miss Sunshine)
  • 2004 — Million Dollar Baby (lost the SAG to Sideways)
  • 2001 — A Beautiful Mind (lost the SAG to Gosford Park)
  • 2000 — Gladiator (lost the SAG to Traffic)
  • 1997 — Titanic (lost the SAG to… The Full Monty of all the things)(Wait… in a year that also had L.A. Confidential in contention?? What??)  
  • 1996 — English Patient (lost the SAG to The Birdcage)(Well that’s just hilarious.) 
  • 1995 — Braveheart (lost the SAG to Apollo 13).


Ultimately I’m afraid I have hard time seeing Hidden Figures winning the Best Picture, and its triumph here (while amazing) seems to spell a lot of trouble with the notion of Moonlight managing an upset come end of February.

But hey, if either of them can prove me wrong and actually overtake Hollow and Privileged White Nostalgia: The Somewhat Singing Movie, I’ll be a very happy camper. 

Next up is the Directors’ Guild Awards on February 4th.

Keep watching movies! 

  1. No truly, you guys, the angry hate heat burns so incredibly hot inside me…