The Acting Oscars
The race in three of the four acting categories followed a very similar pattern. A strong contender established a commanding lead at the head of the pack while hoovering up all the bellwether awards along the way.
Each category also had one unexpected candidate who sneaked in under the wire but failed to mount a serious challenge.
The exception to this is the best actor category. Here a last minute inclusion to the race is the greatest threat to the leader who themselves only took pole position themselves after the SAG-AFTRA winners were announced.
SAG-AFTRA are two great American labor unions combined: the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Both were formed in the 1930s and considered a bunch of militant commies by the PGA. As 73% of actors at any time are unemployed, they could be considered to represent the interests of the service, hospitality and call centre industries as well.
Here’s how the odds shifted:
Back in November Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) was at 25/1 alongside Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Timothy Spall (Mr Turner) and Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar).
Bill Murray was 33/1 for St. Vincent. Adam Sandler was an optimistic 100/1 for Men, Women and Children.
Michael Keaton in Birdman scooped up all the major acting awards until Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything) won the SAG-AFTRA best actor award and assumed pole position.
Immediately prior to the Oscar nominations Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) had fallen to 100/1 for the award. It is Cooper’s third year in a row to be nominated and the only previous acting nominee in the group. Since 1994 when Tom Hanks won for Forest Gump, only four times have SAG-AFTRA not correctly indicated the best actor Oscar winner.
The Oscar correlation with the SAG-AFTRA equivalents run at 80%.
I want to win: Michael Keaton (Birdman). His performance is honest, brave and affecting. Also because of this.
Who will win: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything). As in the best film category, the only other actor gunning for this award is American Sniper‘s Bradley Cooper, if there’s an upset this is who will cause it.
Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones haven’t been nominated before and won’t be breaking their Oscar duck here. Reese Witherspoon won for Walk the Line (2005) and Marion Cotillard won for La Vie en Rose (2007). Julianne Moore has 4 previous nominations and is looking unstoppable this year. That 8/1 shot in the third column is Jennifer Aniston in Cake.
Only on six occasions over the past 20 years did the winner of the SAG Award for best leading actress not win the Academy award for best actress. This year SAG-AFTRA went with Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and the Oscar /SAG-AFTRA correlation runs at 70%.
I want to win: It doesn’t matter who you are I want to win, it will be Julianne Moore (Still Alice).
Who will win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice).
Ed Norton has 2 previous nominations for American History X (1998) and Primal Fear (1996). Ethan Hawke was previously nominated for Training Day (2001). Robert Duvall has 6 previous nominations with one win. Not for The Godfather or Apocalypse Now, but for Tender Mercies (1983).
This year SAG-AFTRA went with JK Simmons (Whiplash) and though the Oscar /SAG-AFTRA correlation runs at 60% for this award, it’s very much his award to lose. Which he won’t.
Neither Emma Stone or Patricia Arquette have ever been nominated before, unlike Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice (2005) or Laura Dern in Rambling Rose (1991). Meryl Streep has been nominated 18 times previously. She’s even won a couple. This year SAG went with Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) just as every other major award has done. The Oscar /SAG-AFTRA correlation runs at 65% and will soon be nudged up a couple of points.