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SAG Awards Predictions 2018: Who Will Win?

The 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are set to unfold Sunday, Jan. 21. Nominations leaders were “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” on the film side and the trio of “Big Little Lies,” “GLOW,” and “Stranger Things” on the television side. How will the industry’s actors react to another year on the big and small screens? Here are our predictions. Tune in Sunday night to see if we nailed it.

FILM

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
It’s hard to imagine the guild passing on a legend like Gary Oldman, who disappears into the epic role of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” If an upset is lurking, look to newcomer Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”).

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, basically. The lead actress contest has been the most competitive all year. Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) has the showiest work. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”) shift to the frontrunner position with a win. Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) makes a lot of sense, though she was just recognized for TV’s “Olive Kitteridge” a few years ago. The nomination seems like the win for Judi Dench (“Victoria & Abdul”), but this would be a great place to honor “Lady Bird,” so it’s tempting to give Saoirse Ronan the slight edge. We’ll go with a veteran, McDormand.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
“The Florida Project” star Willem Dafoe has been on a crash course with his first Oscar for months now, and that road leads through the SAG Awards. Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) has closed the gap along the way and is certainly a threat, however. We’ll call it for Dafoe.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
This continues to be the battle of two character actresses playing strong-willed mothers. Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”) maintains a wide lead over Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) on the critics circuit so far. There’s also plenty of love from the television side of the guild to be had for both, given their resumes, though Janney has been duly rewarded by the guild in her time. It’s a tough call. We’ll guess Metcalf, for a film clearly beloved by SAG.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
“Mudbound” has been collecting ensemble prizes all year and Netflix has quite a foothold with SAG. Comedies have always fared well with the guild, so “The Big Sick” and certainly “Lady Bird” are options. “Get Out” will no doubt rally votes, too, but “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” the year’s nomination leader, has been one of the most popular films on the circuit this season. Watch for it to win here and add to its Oscar momentum.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
It’s a pretty great lineup including one serious Oscar best picture player (“Dunkirk”). It usually goes to a film with that sheen of prestige, so let’s call it for Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama. If there’s a spoiler, “Baby Driver” makes the most sense.

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
“This Is Us” (NBC) standout Sterling K. Brown lost the trophy last year to “The Crown’s” John Lithgow. With Lithgow ineligible this year, the Emmy winner is certain to add another trophy to his mantle for his ever more compelling performance as the anxiety-riddled Randall Pearson.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
The Queen reigned at last year’s SAG Awards: Claire Foy (Netflix’s “The Crown”) claimed the top prize of her turn as the British monarch, and is nommed again this year. But she’ll be dethroned by Emmy champ Elisabeth Moss, who reigned supreme in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as a woman struggling against the patriarchy in a dystopian future.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
William H. Macy (“Shameless”) is a favorite with SAG voters for his alcoholic patriarch in the Showtime dramedy — he has already won this prize twice (in 2014 and 2016). But he’ll have to fend off a returning champion who’s in contention this time: “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes, who has scored with SAG voters three times during the NBC comedy’s first incarnation (2001, 2002 and 2005).

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
The prize has toggled between Uzo Aduba (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (HBO’s “Veep”) for the last four years, with each winning twice. Yes, Louis-Dreyfus already has a mantle full of prizes for her role as the profane politico, but in this headline-driven climate — and with the final season looming — she will likely edge this one out.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Here’s a surefire ticket to a SAG Award: Cast a movie star in an HBO movie. This year, odds are it will be Robert De Niro (Madoff biopic “Wizard of Lies”), who will follow in the footsteps of Bryan Cranston (“All the Way”), Mark Ruffalo (“The Normal Heart”), Michael Douglas (“Behind the Candelabra”), Paul Giamatti (“Too Big to Fail”)… You get the idea.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
The HBO rule applies here, too: It’s a streak with such A-list names as Angelina Jolie (“Gia”), Halle Berry (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”), Meryl Streep (“Angels in America”), Kate Winslet (“Mildred Pierce”). It took none less than Sarah Paulson to end it with last year’s star turn as Marcia Clark in “The People V. O.J. Simpson” (FX). But HBO can count on getting the momentum back, with a win for Nicole Kidman in “Big Little Lies,” as the abused wife at the center of the murder-mystery.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Tough call. Netflix’s “Stranger Things” triumphed last year on the charms of those kids, and the second season was just as popular as the first. And the SAG Awards have a history of repeat winners: “Downton Abbey” (2012, 2014, 2015); “Boardwalk Empire” (2010, 2011); “Mad Men” (2008, 2o09). But none of them had to compete against Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has seized the political zeitgeist.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Orange is the New Black” has owned this category for the last three years (see repeat winners, above), but its moment may well have finally passed. Netflix’s women’s wrestling comedy “GLOW” resonated with SAG voters, which bestowed the series with four noms. Time for an upset.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
HBO’s mammoth hit “Game of Thrones” has claimed this prize for the past six years. They can count on a seventh.

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