The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are set for Saturday night, as industry thespians gather to celebrate their own and tell those awkward “I’m an actor” stories to the camera. “Trumbo” led the way with film nominations, while “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards” led for TV. Here are our fearless predictions of who will walk away a winner.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
It feels like Leonardo DiCaprio’s train is coming into the station this year, so look for him to pull off the win for “The Revenant.” However, if any possible spoiler is lurking, it’s Bryan Cranston, adored by TV actors who fill the SAG-AFTRA ranks. Also: “Trumbo” is an ensemble nominee, and “The Revenant” is not.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
The best actress race has been Brie Larson (“Room”) vs. Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) for quite some time. Larson is out front with critics awards wins and should be in great shape to charge on through the ceremony en route to Oscar.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Without presumed Oscar frontrunner Sylvester Stallone tipping the scales (thanks largely to SAG-AFTRA’s arbitrarily early voting calendar), this one could be an eye-opener. Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) has done well with the critics, but actors are their own breed. And they adore Christian Bale. So look for him to add another SAG Award to the mantle, for “The Big Short.” (Regarding Rylance, by the way, remember that there’s also an opportunity to vote for him in the TV ranks for “Wolf Hall.”)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
There could be a surprise here, like Kate Winslet doubling up on her unexpected Golden Globe honor for “Steve Jobs,” or Rooney Mara repping for “Carol.” But Alicia Vikander feels undeniable this year, particularly since her “Danish Girl” performance is arguably a lead. Plus, residual love for her “Ex Machina” performance has to go somewhere.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Only two of this year’s ensemble nominees made it into the Academy’s best picture category: “The Big Short” versus “Spotlight.” The former has a tailwind on the heels of a big PGA victory. The latter is the definition of a well-tuned ensemble. Honestly? Flip a coin. I did, and I came up with “The Big Short.”
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
If this goes to anything other than “Mad Max: Fury Road,” it would be fair to expect a segment of the show dedicated to justifying that decision.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Oscar Isaac claimed this win at the Globes for HBO’s “Show Me a Hero,” but he’s not nominated here, paving the way for a showdown between double nominees Idris Elba for “Luther” (BBC America) and Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell in “Wolf Hall” (Masterpiece/PBS). Give the edge to Rylance, who stood out amid a stellar cast in the prestige-soaked PBS series.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
All due respect to the other nominees, there’s one performance in this lineup that stands out: Queen Latifah reigned supreme as Bessie Smith in the HBO biopic. She may not have won an Emmy or a Globe for the role — surely she deserves to triumph at the SAGs.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) may be the reigning champ, but Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) has the momentum, with wins at the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes. Not to mention he’s never won an individual SAG Award for actor (“Mad Men” has won twice for ensemble.) Given that it’s the last time to honor his indelible work as Don Draper, let’s go with making history.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
It’s a tough category: these actresses are all worthy contenders who are quite familiar with acceptance speeches (well, if Maggie Smith ever showed up to these things). Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”) triumphed over a virtually identical slate last year (minus Tatiana Maslany). Odds are she’ll stage a repeat performance.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
If there’s a lock, it has to be Jeffrey Tambor for Amazon’s “Transparent,” a performance widely praised by critics, beloved by audiences and lauded at every awards show. For SAG to ignore it would be a shock.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba took home the statue last year for Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” but election fever should propel Julia Louis-Dreyfus (HBO’s “Veep”) into the winner’s circle, if not the Oval Office.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Downton Abbey” (PBS) pulled off a major upset last year, winning over a similar list of nominees, with AMC’s “Mad Men” replacing HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Will nostalgia for the last days of Don Draper usher the Crawleys off the stage? Or will SAG finally recognize the impressive effort that is HBO’s “Game of Thrones?” Odds are we’ll see yet another British invasion — but I’m holding out hope that the reigning Emmy winner will get its due.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
At last year’s SAG Awards, “Orange is the New Black” dethroned “Modern Family,” the winner for the four previous years. At the Emmy Awards, “Veep” also dethroned “Modern Family,” the winner for the five previous years. That’s no laughing matter. But don’t rule out “Transparent,” which has made Amazon a contender on the awards circuit. So who’s going to win? I’ll go with those wacky Pfeffermans.
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“Game of Thrones” has ruled this category for the last four years, and deservedly so. Can they fend off the crime fighting lawyer of “Marvel’s Daredevil?” I’ll never bet against those white walkers.