SAG Awards shocks shake up Oscar predictions

'Hidden Figures' emerges as a hidden threat to 'La La Land' as actors back NASA race drama

SAG Awards shocks shake up Oscar predictions

Taraji P Henson clutches the SAG Award for 'Best Ensemble', the Screen Actors Guild's equivalent to 'Best Picture' [Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]

After claiming 14 nominations – tying the all-time record – when this year’s Academy Awards competitors were announced last week, La La Land looked like the one to beat, even more so when it claimed the big prize at Sunday night’s PGA Awards. But now awards season is looking a little bit more ‘open season’, after Hidden Figures’ surprise win at the SAG awards.

Admittedly, La La Land couldn’t have claimed the prize anyway, having not been nominated for the ‘Best Ensemble’ prize, the Screen Actors Guild’s nearest equivalent to ‘Best Picture’. Damien Chazelle’s musical was most likely considered too much of a two-hander than an ensemble to qualify. But it is still a knock to La La Land, with 11 of the last 21 ‘Best Ensemble’ winners having gone on to claim the biggest prize on Oscar night, given that the actors voting bloc makes up the biggest in the Academy members.

But it is even more disheartening for the producers of Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, with both films long viewed as the only titles that could steal the La La limelight on February 26th. Hidden Figures, a critical and commercial hit in the US that tells the tale of female African-American mathematicians who worked behind the scenes at NASA in the 1960s, took everyone in the room by surprise, but actress Taraji P Henson’s acceptance speech and the standing ovation it brought about means the film should now be considered the dark horse of awards season.

A third Oscar for Denzel Washington?

Equally surprising was the winner for ‘Best Actor, with Casey Affleck and Ryan Gosling both pipped by Denzel Washington. Affleck, whose chequered past has seen some high-profile attacks on his character, was expected to take home the award, but now Washington, who won a Tony Award for his role in Fences, looks like a viable contender for his third Oscar next month, with Viola Davis a shoe-in after claiming her ‘Supporting Actress’ nod for the same film.

Irish actress Ruth Negga’s Oscar chances look slimmer after Emma Stone did take home the ‘Best Actress’ prize for La La Land, and Mahershala Ali, unseated at the Golden Globes by a baffling win for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, delivered a crowd-rousing acceptance speech for his ‘Best Supporting Actor’ award for Moonlight.

Netflix's run of SAG wins continues

On the TV side, it really was Netflix’s night, the streaming giant ‘s Stranger Things claiming ‘Best Ensemble in a Drama’ and Orange is the New Black taking the comedy equivalent. The Crown, the story of British Queen Elizabeth II early years as sovereign, saw Claire Foy match her Golden Globe ‘Best Actress in a Drama’ win, with John Lithgow taking the actor prize for his turn as Winston Churchill.

Old reliables Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Sarah Paulson continued their winning-everything runs for Veep and American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, while the SAG-AFTRA’s love of Bryan Cranston saw him win for his starring role as President Lyndon B Johnson in All the Way.

Lily Tomlin took home the ‘Life Achievement’ award, using her acceptance speech to criticise the new American president, Donald Trump. But the most Internet-friendly moment of the night came when Stranger Things actor David Hopper’s acceptance speech for that show’s win resulted in actress Winona Ryder’s reactions leaving everyone bemused:

The full list of SAG Award winners reads as follows:

Best female actor in a TV comedy series

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie 
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
WINNER: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep 
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Best male actor in a TV comedy series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish 
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
Ty Burrell, Modern Family 
WINNER: William H Macy, Shameless 
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best cast in a TV comedy series

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
WINNER: Orange is the New Black 

Best female supporting actor

WINNER: Viola Davis, Fences 
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion 
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best male supporting actor

WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins 
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion

Best female actor in a TV movie or miniseries

Bryce Dallas Howard, Black Mirror 
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
WINNER: Sarah Paulson, The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Best male actor in a TV movie or miniseries

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Sterling K Brown, The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
WINNER: Bryan Cranston, All the Way 
John Turturro, The Night Of 
Courtney B Vance, The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

Best male actor in a TV drama series

Sterling K Brown, This Is Us 
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
WINNER: John Lithgow, The Crown 
Rami Malek, Mr Robot 
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Best female actor in a TV drama series

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
WINNER: Claire Foy, The Crown 
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best cast in a TV drama series

The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones 
WINNER: Stranger Things 

Best female actor

Amy Adams, Arrival 
Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train 
Natalie Portman, Jackie 
WINNER: Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best male actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
WINNER: Denzel Washington, Fences

Best ensemble performance

Captain Fantastic 
WINNER: Hidden Figures 
Manchester by the Sea

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