Oscar Futures: How SAG Just Changed the Race

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On a regular basis between now and March 4, 2018, when the winners of the Academy Awards are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes in this year’s Oscars race. In our Oscar Futures column, we’ll let you in on insider gossip, parse brand-new developments, and track industry buzz to figure out who’s up, who’s down, and who’s currently leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination.

Best Picture

Up

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Over the last 22 years, no movie has won Best Picture without first snagging a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Cast in a Motion Picture. (The fact that La La Land missed out on that nod last year was perhaps the first chink in the film’s armor.) By that measure, then, the strongest contenders for Best Picture after today’s SAG nominations would appear to be Get Out, Lady Bird, and most especially Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which not only snagged a hefty bounty of Golden Globe nominations but also picked up a surprise additional nod today with SAG for Woody Harrelson as Best Supporting Actor, a sign of the film’s strength.

Down

Call Me by Your Name

This acclaimed romance had a shaky awards-season week. First, at the Golden Globes, the movie earned key nods in Best Drama and Best Actor but didn’t get nominated in the director and screenplay categories. Today, SAG further dinged it: Though Timothée Chalamet made it into Best Actor, there was no nomination for Best Cast — never an easy nod for a film that is perceived as a two-hander — and both Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg failed to crack the supporting-actor race. There is still passion for the film, and passion counts for a lot when it comes to the weighted Oscar ballot, but momentum matters, too.

Best Director

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Jordan Peele, Get Out

SAG went for Get Out in a major way, recognizing Daniel Kaluuya and the film’s cast. The Globes, too, nominated Kaluuya and the film, and while Peele didn’t make it into the Best Director category there, I think that snub will only fortify further the Academy’s resolve to nominate him.

Up

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Gerwig’s beloved coming-of-age movie also got every nomination it needed to at SAG today, and while she missed out on the same Golden Globe categories as Peele, the resulting backlash has further increased her profile. This would be a bad year for the Academy to make like the Globes and nominate five men for Best Director, and Gerwig offers an opportunity to do the right thing.

Current Predix

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird; Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; Jordan Peele, Get Out; Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Actor

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Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Is Kaluuya locked and loaded for Best Actor now that both SAG and the Globes have nominated him? It’s looking good, though there are still two late-breaking performers — Phantom Thread’s Daniel Day-Lewis and The Post’s Tom Hanks — that will make a run at this category.

Down

Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger

On the other hand, if your film has been out for a while and you didn’t make the shortlist at SAG or the Globes, your chances are pretty much curtailed. That seems to be the situation for Gyllenhaal, whose performance in Stronger was acclaimed, though the film never quite caught on.

Current Predix

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name; Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread; James Franco, The Disaster Artist; Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out; Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Actress

Up

Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul

Oh, hey, look who’s still in it! Dench has been underrated by pundits for a while now because the Best Actress category is so strong this year, yet she still managed to score a SAG nod this morning. I think she will be the likeliest to fall out when push comes to shove — typically, only three or four SAG nominees per acting category make Oscar’s final five — but she got a nice boost today.

Down

Meryl Streep, The Post

The Post hasn’t been as widely viewed yet as most of the other Oscar contenders, but it was still startling to see the film completely blanked today at SAG, especially when it came to the snub of Streep as Best Actress. The movie’s cultural moment is still to come, though.

Current Predix

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Margot Robbie, I, Tonya; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird; Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Up

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

Oh? Battle of the Sexes had been written off after the film underperformed at the box office earlier this fall, but Carell scored a surprising SAG nod this morning and may still be in the mix. The actor has been busy filming a new Robert Zemeckis film and hasn’t had much time to campaign for his role as Bobby Riggs but he now has a second wind, and there aren’t many late-breaking contenders to come in this category, either.

Down

Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

Stuhlbarg’s role in Call Me by Your Name is not large, but it culminates in one of the best film scenes of the year, as he tends to the romantically wounded Chalamet and delivers a heartfelt, note-perfect monologue. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be enough for Globe and SAG voters, who both snubbed him. It’s possible that he is splitting votes with co-star Armie Hammer, but then again, SAG found room for two actors from Three Billboards in this category.

Current Predix

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name; Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water; Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri;

Best Supporting Actress

Up

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Mudbound fared well at SAG, an awards body that has historically been partial to Netflix efforts. I’m still not certain that the Academy will let a streaming-service film into its upper ranks, but if one of the big six categories is penetrable, it’s this one, for which Blige is well positioned.

Down

Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip

The year’s most delicious breakout performer was snubbed by the Golden Globes, spurring Girls Trip star Jada Pinkett Smith to come to Haddish’s defense on Twitter. Today, SAG offered no better news. I want to keep hope alive, but Universal is spending most of its award-season attention (and money) on Get Out.

Current Predix

Hong Chau, Downsizing; Holly Hunter, The Big Sick; Allison Janney, I, Tonya; Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread; Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Oscar Futures: How SAG Nominations Just Changed the Race