Only two more awards shows to go before we reach Oscar night. One of them is tonight. SAG sometimes surprises (remember 2002 and 2003?) and sometimes goes total consensus. Let's take a stab at this... which is easier to do with statues with sharp corners. LIVE BLOGGING HAS BEGUN!
Nominees: Close, Davis, Williams, Streep, Swinton
Will Win: Viola Davis because the most voters have seen her film and because she's great in it.
Will Win: Meryl Streep because she's Meryl Streep and it's a biopic and actors are crazy about those and because it's a virtuosic impersonation.
Will Win: Michelle Williams because she's the new "Best of Her Generation" actress everyone is excited about and because it's a biopic and...
Okay. Yikes. I suspect it's a tight three woman race. I'd like to believe that Viola's box office and general narrative will differentiate her just barely enough. On the other hand actors rightfully worship Streep and she might win this with ease and she's definitely the most likely winner for voters who haven't seen all their screeners. I mean if I was voting blindly I'd always vote Streep (not that I'd vote blindly). On the other otherhand (we've grown a third arm) perhaps the vast voting body of the guild will have a heatwave for Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.
Best Actress has the odd and slightly unpleasant distinction of being filled with performances that are mostly significantly better than the film housing them (though this is not to say that all of the films are terrible). Given that rather specific sandbox, I'd argue that Davis does the most successful job of working against her film's limitations. As technically great as Meryl Streep's work is, it just can't vault the hurdle of "why was this film even made other than to win Best Actress awards?" None of the other films, not even My Week With Marilyn leave quite the same "why does this exist?" aftertaste. But then again, films made solely to win awards no matter how shamelessly obvious about that they are, have never been exactly shunned by awards bodies so that might not matter at all. Plus after taste is hard to notice while you're still eating which is why some distributors wait till the last possible second for voters to see movies they want votes for.
Okay, okay: Streep.
Nominees: Bichir, Clooney, DiCaprio, Dujardin, Pitt
Will Win: George Clooney for his movie star charisma. He seems to be just sailing through this awards season with ease as if his performance towers over the competition. Strange.
Should Win: Brad Pitt for his movie star charisma and how it completely suits his character and his film and for the simple matter that he gave two incredible performances in the same year, one of which is this one right here. It's always a pity when career peaks happen and awards bodies are only vaguely paying attention, temporarily blinded by other flashy objects in the same room.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Branagh, Hammer, Hill, Nolte, Plummer
Will / Should Win: Christopher Plummer. Like Clooney he has no competition for the win in his category. The main difference being that his performance easily reveals why that is.
Best Supporting Actress & Best Ensemble
Nominees: Bejo, Chastain, McCarthy, McTeer and Spencer
Nominees: The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Help, Midnight in Paris
Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy are, like Brad & George, friends and competitors both. But more importantly they're also both in awesome female ensembles. Voters have shown in the past that they don't mind giving acting prizes AND the ensemble to the same film but won't they want to throw Bridesmaids something instead of possibly giving The Help three of their five prizes?
I'd love to predict a Bridesmaids win in ensemble and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility especially if voters do the old "vote for the film you'd most like to have been in" (in which case this is Help vs. Bridesmaids vs. The Artist) but as SAG has settled into its [ahem] 'precursor duties' they've strayed further and further from thinking about ensemble and moved right into thinking about Oscar so a win for a movie that's not up for Best Picture might be beyond their imagination now (in which case this is The Help vs. Descendants vs. Midnight vs. The Artist)
Will Win: Melissa McCarthy (repeating the Emmy surprise?) and The Help... though maybe i have it in reverse and wouldn't that be fun.
Should Win: These categories are killers, so many good performances. But If I was voting I'd throw Ensemble to Bridesmaids and Supporting to... god, who knows. This is why I still haven't finalized my own awards.