This weekend's Screen Actors Guild Awards are the last major awards show to occur before the nominees for the 2010 Academy Awards are announced on February 2. Traditionally, these awards have proven to be a fairly accurate bellwether as to how the race for the acting prizes will go once the Oscars roll around. (Oh, and just like at the Golden Globes, TV people are invited, too, but they're generally relegated to afterthought status.) And while the good people at AMPAS have no doubt already started inscribing Christoph Waltz's name on the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, there are a few races that are worth keeping an eye on during Saturday night's telecast on TNT.
Clearly, this is the tightest race of the bunch. While it pains us to say that Helen Mirren has a roughly zero percent chance of winning, Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Gabby Sidibe, and Sandra Bullock each could find themselves walking away from the ceremony as the Oscar front-runner. Based on the results of earlier awards ceremonies, Streep and Golden Globes–winner Bullock seem to be best positioned to take home the prize, but there's always a chance that Sidibe and (the fast-fading) Mulligan could sneak in and shake things up.
While Jeff Bridges has been steadily building momentum and pulling away from the pack, don't discount the tremendous level of support that George Clooney has from his peers (especially in the wake of the work he's done for the Haiti telethon). But considering that Bridges is entering the later stages of his career and has yet to be honored with an award, he's definitely got the edge.
Best Supporting Actress
With every passing ceremony, Mo'Nique's work in Precious has been picking up critical steam. She took home the Golden Globe this past weekend, and challengers Farmiga and Kendrick seem destined to split votes for the equally fine work in Up in the Air. The only question is this: Have Mo'Nique's caustic ways done any damage to her standing with her peers? We'll see!
No matter who wins on Saturday night, we're very comfortable predicting that all of the winning speeches will contain a teary admission that this award means more than all the rest because it was awarded by a jury of their acting peers. And you can take that to the bank!
Screen Actors Guild Awards® Nominees and Recipients [Official Site]