Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do The SAG Awards = Oscar Success?

Andrew: Hello readers! So we're a couple of days late on this but for today's post, Sarah and I will be discussing this past Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards and their effects on the Oscar races. So for these purposes, we're only going to focus on the four individual movie Acting awards and the Best Movie Ensemble Award (the SAG's version of Best Picture.)

Sarah, which individual award do you think we should talk about first?

Sarah: Let's talk about the supporting actor first. We have talked about how the SAG Awards really start to reflect who will win the category for the Oscars. Do you think that rings true for this year's Supporting Actor SAG winner, Christopher Plummer?

A: Well that's the thing, we've kind of touched on whether or not the SAG Awards could reflect what the Oscars will do, but it won't be the case for everyone.

That said, it's 100% going to be the case with Christopher Plummer. According to Wikipedia (and as we know, Wikipedia is always right), Plummer has won no fewer than 13 awards for his performance in "Beginners," including the SAG Award. He's also nominated for 12 more, which he'll probably win. And he should, he was great. But I also have the nagging feeling that these are all somewhat of a "career achievement" thing going on.

S: I would agree with the career achievement thing. He really has been around FOREVER. He does do a phenomenal job in the film and so I believe that even without him being ancient, he still would have won the award. 

Ok, so what do you think about the Supporting Actress SAG Award winner, Octavia Spencer? She has certainly rocked all the awards shows so far. She's even beaten out some pretty amazing actresses to be the top runner for this year's Best Supporting Actress Award.

A: I have to say that I don't know much about Spencer's performance other than the fact she has done almost as well as Plummer on the awards circuit. She's won 9 so far and she's nominated for 14 more.

Weeks ago I would have said that she has pretty tough competition in the Supporting Actress category in this year's Oscars, especially against Berenice Bejo and Melissa McCarthy, but I think she's going to be okay later this month at the Kodak Theatre. But I haven't seen "The Help," so I can't say for sure what I think. You have, though, so what do you think?

S: She truly embodies her character. I've seen the movie, but I first read the book so I know this character pretty well. I wouldn't have picked anyone else for the character of Minny Jackson. She is brash and outspoken in the book, as well as on screen, but she also speaks to many women, black or white. You see, Minny is in an abusive relationship in her marriage, but for the sake of her children she toughs it out and works extra hard to bring home money. She is the strongest person in the story, in my opinion, and Spencer brought that to the screen perfectly.

A: Very cool. I did not know those things about her character. That's totally right up the awards voters' alley.

That brings us to the two toughest acting categories: Best Actor and Actress. Let's stick with "The Help" and talk about Viola Davis' SAG Award win for Best Actress. Do you think that catapults her over the rest of her competition?

S: Hmmm now here we start to get tricky. She has a great character and she played it very well, but I think she will have to fight Meryl Streep for it. And in all honesty, I hope that Meryl gets the award. She has been nominated SO many times, and this time she should get it for her role as Margaret Thatcher. It's a toss-up though. And let's not forget about the other nominees, someone else could totally surprise us.

A: Streep is definitely Davis' biggest competition. She has 7 awards for her portrayal of Thatcher so far, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama; while Davis has 15(!) awards so far, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. So really I think it is a toss-up...until you factor in the SAG Award. I think Davis being honored with that award from her peers is what will put her over the top.

I think the same can be said for Jean Dujardin winning the SAG Award for Best Actor. Up until Sunday I thought it was pretty evenly split between Dujardin and George Clooney, since they also won the two different Golden Globes for Lead Actor. But as with Davis, I think the SAG's voice is pretty loud in saying the Frenchman’s performance was better.

S: I would have to disagree with you on the Best Actress, I still think Streep will take home the prize, but we’ll see.

Ok, onto Dujardin...there was never a doubt in my mind that he would win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He had to do more acting than any other actor in movies this year since it was a silent film. I think that the SAG got it correct. George did do a great job and I think that in any other year he would have taken home the prize, but not with “The Artist” in the way. 

Hey, speaking of, what about the Best Picture? I think that people forget that the SAG Awards don't award the MOVIE but the ENSEMBLE. In which case, “The Help” totally deserved to win for that, but when it comes to Best Picture I think there will be some competition for it to pass. “The Artist” and “The Descendants” are going to put up a big fight.  

A: I think you hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the SAG awards for Best Ensemble, not Best Picture. There's a difference and I think that needs to be remembered. I think the SAG truly did honor all the actors in "The Help" for their cumulative performances. I don’t think they believe it’s the best film of the year.

The other thing to remember is that while the SAG shares a number of voters with the Academy, there are a ton of voters in the Academy who aren’t actors. So the overlap there doesn't mean as much as with the acting awards. I think "The Artist" is still the clear front-runner. My mom probably won't be happy to read this (even though I've already told her), but while the SAG Award was nice for "The Help" to win, it doesn't mean much for it's Oscar chances.

Tomorrow’s Post: We will begin a new weekly column where we look at the new releases for the upcoming Friday, which ones we’re looking forward to, which ones we’re not and why.

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