Hollywood’s top actors honored the best of their craft Sunday night in Los Angeles at the 26th annual SAG Awards, an important bellwether in the ongoing Oscar race.
The South Korean thriller “Parasite” made history as the first foreign-language film ever to win the top prize of Best Ensemble, knocking off Hollywood titans like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “The Irishman,” “Bombshell” and “Jojo Rabbit.”
Can it now go the distance at the Oscars?
Historically, the SAG champ has only won the Best Picture Oscar in 11 out of 24 years. The last time it matched was “Spotlight” (2015). Since then, SAG winner “Hidden Figures” lost to “Moonlight,” SAG winner “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” lost to “The Shape of Water,” and SAG winner “Black Panther” lost to “Green Book.”
This still leaves the door open for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which won Best Picture (Comedy) at the Golden Globes (Hollywood loves to vote for movies about Hollywood), and the war film “1917,” which won Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes and Best Film at the PGA Awards, a far better indicator of Oscar’s Best Picture.
Instead, the Screen Actors Guild is a far better predictor of Oscar’s acting categories.
Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for his terrifying turn in “Joker,” defeating Christian Bale (“Ford v. Ferrari”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”) and Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”). Phoenix delivered the night’s best acceptance speech, thanking his fellow nominees and his predecessor.
“I am standing on the shoulders of my favorite actor, Heath Ledger,” Phoenix said.
After previously winning at the Golden Globes, Phoenix is now a virtual lock to win his first ever Oscar next month. SAG’s Best Actor winner has gone on to win the Oscar every time the past decade except for once: Denzel Washington won SAG for “Fences” but lost the Oscar to Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016).
Also no surprise, Renée Zellweger won Best Actress for her transformation as Judy Garland in “Judy,” defeating Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”).
“Judy Garland, 50 years later, your community is thinking of you tonight,” Zellweger said. “This is for you.”
Zellweger also won the Golden Globe, making her the favorite to win her first ever Oscar for lead actress. SAG’s Best Actress winner has gone on to win the Oscar every time the past decade except twice: Viola Davis won SAG for “The Help” but lost the Oscar to Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” (2011), while Glenn Close won SAG for “The Wife” but lost the Oscar to Olivia Colman for “The Favourite” (2018).
Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor as an aging stuntman in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” defeating Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy”), Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Al Pacino (“The Irishman”) and Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”).
“Let’s be honest, it was a difficult part, a guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn’t get along with his wife,” Pitt joked. “It was a big stretch.”
Having already won at the Globes, Pitt will likely win his first acting Oscar next month. SAG’s Supporting Actor winner has gone on to win the Oscar every time the past decade except twice: Tommy Lee Jones won SAG for “Lincoln” but lost the Oscar to Christoph Waltz for “Django: Unchained” (2012), while Idris Elba won SAG for “Beasts of No Nation” but the Oscar went to Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies” (2015).
Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for her fiery divorce lawyer in “Marriage Story,” defeating co-star Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”), Nicole Kidman (“Bombshell”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”) and Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”).
“I love you, dad,” Dern said to father Bruce.
Combined with her previous win at the Golden Globes, Dern is now almost certain to win her first ever Oscar next month. SAG’s Supporting Actress winner has gone on to win the Oscar every time the past decade except once: Emily Blunt won SAG for “A Quiet Place” but lost the Oscar to Regina King for “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018).
Last but not least, SAG gave a non-televised honor to “Avengers: Endgame” for Best Stunt Ensemble, defeating “Ford v. Ferrari,” “The Irishman,” “Joker” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It was a consolation prize for the top-grossing film of the year.
Meanwhile, DiCaprio presented Robert De Niro with SAG’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a fitting choice considering both are Martin Scorsese’s favorite collaborators.
“He has given us career-long explorations of the human conditions,” DiCaprio said.
Unlike the Oscars, the SAG Awards also honored the best in television.
It was a royal flush as Netflix’s “The Crown” won the top prize of Best Ensemble (TV Drama), defeating HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
However, the queen is dead as Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) was upset by Jennifer Aniston for Best Actress (TV Drama) for her role in “The Morning Show,” also defeating Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”), Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”) and Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”).
“This is unbelievable,” Aniston said.
Peter Dinklage won Best Actor (TV Drama) as Tyrion Lannister in the final season of “Game of Thrones,” defeating Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), Steve Carell (“The Morning Show”), Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show”) and David Harbour (“Stranger Things”).
“I’d like to thank my wife who put up with me for more than nine years and lived in a place far from home, but made it home because we were together,” Dinklage said.
On the comedy side, Best Ensemble (TV Comedy) went to Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” upsetting Amazon’s Golden Globe winner “Fleabag,” as well as HBO’s “Barry,” Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method,” and Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek.” “Maisel” also won Best Actor (TV Comedy) for Tony Shalhoub, besting Bill Hader (“Barry”), Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”) and Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”).
“This makes no sense,” Alex Borstein said in shock. “”Fleabag’ is brilliant.”
“We’re very, very surprised,” Rachel Brosnahan said. “I forgot to vote.”
While the show itself lost, “Fleabag” star Phoebe Waller-Bridge still won Best Actress (TV Comedy), defeating Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”), Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”).
“At some point it will all hit me and I’ll just go into a corner and have a good old cry about it, but tonight we as a ‘Fleabag’ gang from the UK will soak this up,” Waller-Bridge said.
On the limited series side, it was all about the FX miniseries “Fosse/Verdon.”
Sam Rockwell won Best Actor (TV Movie or Miniseries) as iconic choreographer Bob Fosse, defeating Mahershala Ali (“True Detective”), Russell Crowe (“The Loudest Voice”), Jared Harris (“Chernobyl”) and Jharrel Jerome (“When They See Us”).
Likewise, Michelle Williams won Best Actress (TV Movie or Miniseries) as iconic dancer Gwen Verdon, defeating Patricia Arquette (“The Act”), Toni Collette (“Unbelievable”), Joey King (“The Act”) and Emily Watson (“Chernobyl”).
Finally, SAG also threw a non-televised bone to genre favorites, as “Game of Thrones” won Best TV Stunt Ensemble, defeating “GLOW,” “Stranger Things,” “The Walking Dead” and “Watchmen.”
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