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SAG Award Nominations 2017: Bold Predictions in Every TV Category

Can "This Is Us," "Westworld," "Stranger Things" and more new contenders break into the 2017 SAG Awards?

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld, Riley Keough in The Girlfriend Experience, Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent as SAG Award Contenders

HBO/Starz/Amazon Studios

Ensemble in a Drama Series

“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

Spoiler: “Better Call Saul”

It’s time for a change. No, not with “Downton Abbey.” That three-time ensemble winner (including the last two) isn’t going anywhere in its final season, but with “Mad Men” no longer eligible and “Homeland” feeling shaky, there could be two new ensembles looking to take home a collective trophy in 2017. “Mr. Robot” earned some love last year for Rami Malek, but Christian Slater’s snub spells trouble for the show overall. “Better Call Saul” is similarly hampered by a lack of past recognition outside its lead, though its prestige factor could push it through. That being said, we’re betting the hot drama of the fall season, “This Is Us,” will ride a wave of love for Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, and Mandy Moore to a nomination here.

READ MORE: The 16 Best Breakthrough TV Performances of 2016

Ensemble in a Comedy Series

"black-ish"

“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

Spoiler: “Black-ish”

Can “Black-ish” crack the pack? Technically, there are other comedies that could also earn a nomination — “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Atlanta,” and “Silicon Valley” chief among them — following a year where there were six nominees and one, “Key & Peele,” has since retired. But we’re thinking the critically hailed ABC sitcom has the best shot among them, be it as a sixth member or bumping out “The Big Bang Theory.”

READ MORE: The Top 10 TV Shows of 2016

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR - "The Interrogation" - When shots ring out at The White House during a Governors Summit, President Kirkman's plans at electing a new Congress are thrown into turmoil, while Agent Hannah Wells continues investigating the Capitol bombing and makes one of her most shocking discoveries yet on ABC's "Designated Survivor" Kiefer Sutherland

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Spoiler: Kiefer Sutherland, “Designated Survivor”

Four of the five above were here last year, meaning there may only be one slot open for the 2017 ceremony. Before the Golden Globes came out, we were thinking Kiefer Sutherland would ride his non-“24” return to TV to a nomination, considering he’s so beloved by the SAG voters he even earned a nomination for the “24” movie in 2009. But since everyone seems to be finally waking up to the fact that “The Americans” is one of TV’s top three shows, we’re giving the edge to Matthew Rhys. After all, he deserves it.

READ MORE: The Best TV Posters of 2016

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Keri Russell The Americans

Viola Davis, “How To Get Away With Murder”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Spoiler: Keri Russell, “The Americans”

Perhaps the most crowded field in the SAG Awards, there are a number of possibilities stacking up for Best Female Actress. Claire Danes is always a contender for “Homeland,” and Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) has even more recognition than last year (when she was kept out). Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) could benefit from critical raves and easily accessible series. But we’re betting Winona Ryder’s pseudo-comeback story with “Stranger Things” will push her through, along with a slew of 2016 nominees. We’re still holding out hope for Keri Russell, though, as always.

READ MORE: ‘Westworld’: How Fan Theories Affected the Cast and How to Handle Them in Season 2

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

BASKETS "Sugar Pie" Episode 108 (Airs Thursday, March 10, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Spoiler: Louie Anderson, “Baskets”

We’re not willing to take perennial nominee Jim Parsons out of the running just yet, even as competition from the likes of Louie Anderson (“Baskets”) and Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) threatens to topple the four-time nominee. He may be the riskiest bet of those listed above, as last year’s winner, Jeffrey Tambor, certainly deserves another nod, if not a trophy, William H. Macy remains a viable choice since his hour-long Showtime series counts as a comedy now, and Ty Burrell remains Ty Burrell — beloved, respected, and sporting a six-year hot streak. Anthony Anderson has two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod working for him, so he gets the last slot.

Golden Globes 2017 TV Snubs and Surprises: ‘Mr. Robot’ Is Out, ‘Stranger Things’ Is In

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Grace and Frankie Season 2 Lily Tomlin

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Divorce”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”

Spoiler: Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a three-time winner in this category, but when she looks over the green trophies on her mantle stacked with gold, only one is for her astounding work in “Veep.” That really should change in 2017, assuming, first, back-to-back winner Uzo Aduba finally takes a year off, and second, Louis-Dreyfus’ shelf space can stand the added weight. But four-time nominee and one-time winner Sarah Jessica Parker is looking to scoot into the race, as well, alongside last year’s first-time nominee Ellie Kemper. Will there be another newcomer this time around? If so, we’re betting on Issa Rae for “Insecure,” who may just top out another veteran in Lily Tomlin.

READ MORE: The Sarah Jessica Parker Interview: How TV Has Changed From ‘Sex and the City’ to ‘Divorce’

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Hugh Laurie as Richard Roper; group - The Night Manager _ Season 1, Episode 6

Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Spoiler: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”

A rare opportunity to see the two breakout stars of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” go up against one another, this category offers a number of potential inner-series battles. Tom Hiddleston looks to snag more votes than his “Night Manager” co-star Hugh Laurie, despite the latter’s eight nominations and two trophies. (Hiddleston has never been nominated.) John Turturro will be taking on his young co-star Riz Ahmed in “The Night Of,” and lest we forget, there are a slew of other formidable “People v. O.J.” stars to consider, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and John Travolta. There are a lot of ways these could shake out, but the SAG Awards do offer a chance for voters to choose both — up to a point.

READ MORE: The 25 Best TV Episodes of 2016

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Confirmation Kerry Washington

Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”
Riley Keough, “The Girlfriend Experience”
Regina King, “American Crime”
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

Spoiler: Jessica Lange, “Wild Oats”

A few respected if less recognized roles could break into the field given the voters got around to seeing them: First off, Jessica Lange’s turn in “Wild Oats” could put her in the pack considering how beloved the actress is in the community. But Audra McDonald, resurrecting a performance she first debuted on Broadway, could also knock out a few more well-known names for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.” Still, we’re betting on Paulson and Washington as locks, with Colman and King strong contenders close behind. Keough, well, that pick has a bit of hope behind it, bolstered by her recent Golden Globe nomination (not that there’s always a ton of crossover between the two award shows).

Nominations for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be announced Wednesday, December 14 at 10am ET. The presentation ceremony will air on TNT and TBS on January 29, 2017 at 8pm ET.

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