The 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards (The SAG Awards) will witness a competition between "Black Panther" and "BlacKkKlansman" among the films vying for the top prize. The SAG Awards are one of the most reliable bellwethers of the Academy Awards, but several of this year's top Oscar contenders failed to land a best ensemble nomination.
The two leading Oscar nominees, "Roma" and "The Favourite", were bypassed by the actors guild for a field that also includes "Crazy Rich Asians," ''Bohemian Rhapsody" and "A Star Is Born," which led all films, with four nominations. "The Favourite" still earned nods for its three lead actresses, Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, but "Roma" was shut out entirely. Both films landed 10 Oscar nods on January 22nd.
The SAG Awards also have something the Oscars don't, a host. Megan Mullally will emcee the show from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. TNT and TBS will air the broadcast live beginning at 8 p.m. EST. on January 27th. Tom Hanks will present Alan Alda with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The best picture winner at the Academy Awards has always first been nominated for best ensemble by the SAG Awards except in 1996, when "Braveheart" won best picture and last year, when Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water" overcame the SAG omission to win best picture. The Actors Guild instead awarded "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" its top prize.
Actors easily make up the largest percentage of the academy so their preferences can have an especially large impact on the Oscar race. This year's picks, chosen by the 2,500 nominating members of SAG-AFTRA, included a few head scratchers. If the guild liked the cast of "The Favourite" well enough to nominate three of its stars, why did it prefer the ensemble of "Bohemian Rhapsody," a film widely seen as Rami Malek's one-man show?
In the television categories, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Ozark" led with four nominations each. "Barry," ''GLOW," “The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Kominsky Method" trailed close behind with three nominations each.
Up for best ensemble in comedy are "Atlanta," ''Barry," ''GLOW," ''The Kominsky Method" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." The drama series ensemble nominees are, "The Americans," “Better Call Saul," ''The Handmaid's Tale," ''Ozark" and "This Is Us."
Ahead of this year's show, the Screen Actors Guild also took the unusual step of publicly criticising the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for pressuring stars to appear only on the Oscars. The film academy has declined to comment.