Spotlight Variety SAG Winners Portrait Gallery
Dan Doperalski for Variety

After Adam McKay’s housing crisis dramedy “The Big Short” claimed this year’s Producers Guild prize Jan. 23, Team “Spotlight” needed to bounce back. It did just that at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, as the film’s tight-knit ensemble (featuring Billy Crudup, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci) claimed the award for outstanding cast in a motion picture.

Resiliency has been a strength for Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama. The film rounded out 2015 by dominating the critics awards circuit, yet came up short among the craft guilds at the start of the new year. After landing just three mentions from the British Academy (which notably passed over McCarthy in the directing field), it lost the best picture, drama Golden Globe to “The Revenant.” But the Directors Guild breathed new life into the journalism drama a few days later, with a nomination for McCarthy, and soon after, key Oscar noms for director and film editing assured that “Spotlight’s” contender status was not on the wane.

The PGA and SAG awards have continued the roller-coaster ride, and there are likely a few more ups and downs left on the track before all is said and done.

Indeed, “The Big Short’s” PGA credentials might be more valuable than “Spotlight’s” SAG triumph, not least because the producers group is the only one that relies on the same kind of preferential balloting system the Academy uses to determine its best picture winner. Additionally, the SAG prize hardly guarantees Oscar victory, despite the Academy’s actors branch being its largest group; only 10 times out of 20 has a SAG ensemble winner gone on to best picture glory. The PGA, meanwhile, has been batting 1.000 for seven straight years.

Perhaps the Directors Guild will shed more light on matters Feb. 6, but perhaps not. If George Miller wins, prepare for prognosticator pandemonium. But at the moment, “Spotlight” vs. “The Big Short” certainly feels like the race for best picture. So how did we get here?

“Spotlight” began its journey not unlike last year’s best picture winner, with a Venice Film Festival world premiere and a Telluride bow immediately thereafter. Six of the last seven best picture winners have played Telluride, making it an ersatz good-luck charm, but “Spotlight” also asserted itself as a popular drama with broad appeal. It played Toronto before hitting theaters Nov. 6, and has a domestic box office tally just north of $33 million.

“The Big Short,” on the other hand, wasn’t even guaranteed to be out of the editing room in time for a 2015 release for most of the year. Paramount began screening it for industry audiences in October, far from press scrutiny. Then came the official premiere at the annual AFI Fest in November, an event that, largely due to its place on the calendar, has been a dicey prospect for Oscar hopefuls; no best picture winner has ever premiered there. The film was well-received by critics, but mercifully avoided the awards spotlight (no pun intended) throughout the season, never being tagging as the “front-runner,” per se — an increasingly difficult burden for Oscar hopefuls to bear. The film was released on Dec. 11, and has raked in around $60 million in domestic box office receipts.

A year ago, neither McKay nor McCarthy seemed likely to find himself in this position. McCarthy was licking his wounds after bowing “The Cobbler” to a sea of pans at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. It opened, and promptly died ($24,000 — for an Adam Sandler movie), in March. McKay, meanwhile, was still just Will Ferrell’s cohort, riding high on an “Anchorman” sequel.

Now they’re locking horns for the industry’s top honor. Who knew?

Latest Predictions:

moonlight Movie Picture
  1. "La La Land" Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt

  2. "Moonlight" Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

  3. "Hidden Figures" Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi

  4. "Lion" Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder

  5. "Manchester by the Sea" Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh

See Full Listing
Damien Chazelle la la land BTS Director
  1. Damien Chazelle "La La Land"

  2. Barry Jenkins "Moonlight"

  3. Denis Villeneuve "Arrival"

  4. Kenneth Lonergan "Manchester by the Sea"

  5. Mel Gibson "Hacksaw Ridge"

See Full Listing
Manchester by the Sea Actor
  1. Denzel Washington "Fences"

  2. Casey Affleck "Manchester by the Sea"

  3. Ryan Gosling "La La Land"

  4. Andrew Garfield "Hacksaw Ridge"

  5. Viggo Mortensen "Captain Fantastic"

See Full Listing
Elle Cannes Actress
  1. Emma Stone "La La Land"

  2. Meryl Streep "Florence Foster Jenkins"

  3. Natalie Portman "Jackie"

  4. Isabelle Huppert "Elle"

  5. Ruth Negga "Loving"

See Full Listing
Michael Shannon Supporting Actor
  1. Mahershala Ali "Moonlight"

  2. Dev Patel "Lion"

  3. Jeff Bridges "Hell or High Water"

  4. Michael Shannon "Nocturnal Animals"

  5. Lucas Hedges "Manchester by the Sea"

See Full Listing
Nicole Kidman Lion Supporting Actress
  1. Viola Davis "Fences"

  2. Octavia Spencer "Hidden Figures"

  3. Naomie Harris "Moonlight"

  4. Michelle Williams "Manchester by the Sea"

  5. Nicole Kidman "Lion"

See Full Listing
Arrival Adapted Screenplay
  1. "Moonlight" Barry Jenkins; Tarell Alvin McCraney

  2. "Lion" Luke Davies

  3. "Arrival" Eric Heisserer

  4. "Fences" August Wilson

  5. "Hidden Figures" Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

See Full Listing
Hell or High Water trailer Original Screenplay
  1. "La La Land" Damien Chazelle

  2. "Manchester by the Sea" Kenneth Lonergan

  3. "Hell or High Water" Taylor Sheridan

  4. "20th Century Women" Mike Mills

  5. "The Lobster" Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos

See Full Listing
Silence Cinematography
  1. "La La Land" Linus Sandgren

  2. "Lion" Greig Fraser

  3. "Arrival" Bradford Young

  4. "Moonlight" James Laxton

  5. "Silence" Rodrigo Prieto

See Full Listing
Fantastic Beasts and where to find them Costume Design
  1. "Jackie" Madeline Fontaine

  2. "Florence Foster Jenkins" Consolata Boyle

  3. "La La Land" Mary Zophres

  4. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Colleen Atwood

  5. "Allied" Joanna Johnston

See Full Listing
hacksaw ridge Film Editing
  1. "La La Land" Tom Cross

  2. "Arrival" Joe Walker

  3. "Hacksaw Ridge" John Gilbert

  4. "Hell or High Water" Jake Roberts

  5. "Moonlight" Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

See Full Listing
Star Trek Beyond Makeup & Hairstyling
  1. "Star Trek Beyond"

  2. "Suicide Squad"

  3. "A Man Called Ove"

See Full Listing
A Monster Calls Original Score
  1. "La La Land" Justin Hurwitz

  2. "Moonlight" Nicholas Britell

  3. "Lion" Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka

  4. "Jackie" Mica Levi

  5. "Passengers" Thomas Newman

See Full Listing
Justin Timberlake Can't Stop the Feeling Trolls Best Original Song
  1. "City of Stars" "La La Land"

  2. "How Far I'll Go" "Moana"

  3. "Audition (The Fools Who Dream") "La La Land"

  4. "Can't Stop the Feeling!" "Trolls"

  5. "The Empty Chair" "Jim: The James Foley Story"

See Full Listing
Hail Caesar Production Design
  1. "La La Land" David Wasco; Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

  2. "Arrival" Patrice Vermette; Paul Hotte

  3. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Stuart Craig; Anna Pinnock

  4. "Hail, Caesar!" Jess Gonchor; Nancy Haigh

  5. "Passengers" Guy Hendrix Dyas; Gene Serdena

See Full Listing
Deepwater Horizon Movie Sound Editing
  1. "Hacksaw Ridge" Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

  2. "Arrival" Sylvain Bellemare

  3. "La La Land" Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan

  4. "Deepwater Horizon" Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli

  5. "Sully" Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

See Full Listing
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Sound Mixing
  1. "La La Land" Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

  2. "Hacksaw Ridge" Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

  3. "Arrival" Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye

  4. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

  5. "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

See Full Listing
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Animated Feature
  1. "Zootopia" Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

  2. "Kubo and the Two Strings" Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner

  3. "Moana" John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

  4. "My Life as a Zucchini" Claude Barras and Max Karli

  5. "The Red Turtle" Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

See Full Listing
OJ Made in America Documentary Feature
  1. "O.J: Made in America" Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

  2. "13th" Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

  3. "Life, Animated" Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

  4. "I Am Not Your Negro" Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck

  5. "Fire at Sea" Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

See Full Listing
Toni-Erdmann-1 Foreign Language
  1. "A Man Called Ove" Sweden; Hannes Holm

  2. "The Salesman" Iran; Asghar Farhadi

  3. "Tanna" Australia; Martin Butler, Bentley Dean

  4. "Toni Erdmann" Germany; Maren Ade

  5. "Land of Mine" Denmark; Martin Zandvliet

See Full Listing
Jungle Book Visual Effects
  1. "The Jungle Book" Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

  2. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

  3. "Deepwater Horizon" Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton

  4. "Kubo and the Two Strings" Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff

  5. "Doctor Strange" Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould

See Full Listing

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 9