Back to IndieWire

IndieWire’s SAG Awards Film Predictions: Here’s Why ‘Fences’ Could Win Big

With "La La Land" not in the running for Best Ensemble, the SAG Awards could go in many directions, with "Fences" leading the field.



“I am an actor,” say the television and film stars in the room at the start of every Screen Actors Guild Awards show. SAG is a great bellwether for where the Academy’s dominant actors’ branch is heading every year. This year, SAG nominations alerted awards watchers that they should pay heed to Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic” and Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and that “Hidden Figures,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” and “Fences” were contending against frontrunners “La La Land,” “Manchester By the Sea,” and “Moonlight.”

Did the Oscar voters go along with “Nocturnal Animals” or Emily Blunt? No. And when SAG left showbiz musical “La La Land” out of the Ensemble race that often presages the eventual Best Picture winner, Oscar watchers were perplexed. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling landed nominations, but no Ensemble. Did this reveal some kind of weakness? Obviously not, as the Academy accorded the film 14 nominations. All it means is that the movie is a romance focused on two people.

The SAG winners Sunday night get a nice boost heading toward Oscar voting. Here are my picks:

Best Ensemble


“Captain Fantastic”
“Hidden Figures”
“Manchester By the Sea”

Will Win: “Fences”
Could Win: “Manchester By the Sea”
Should Win: “Fences”

Two-hander “La La Land” isn’t competing in this category, which leaves the field to four other Oscar contenders (“Captain Fantastic” did not land a nod). Popular movie star director Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Tony-winning “Fences” plays like gangbusters with SAG actors, who nominated both him and Viola Davis among the ensemble, many of whom were imported from the 2010 Broadway revival.

La La Land

“La La Land”

Summit Entertainment

Best Actress


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

Will Win: Emma Stone
Could Win: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Amy Adams

Three Oscar contenders compete in this category, and Stone is the favorite to win. Who could steal the prize from her? Streep is riding a high wave of support after her political speech at the Golden Globes, while Portman’s “Jackie” is less mainstream.

"Manchester By The Sea"

“Manchester by the Sea”

Best Actor


Casey Affleck, “Manchester By the Sea”
Andrew Garfield “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Will Win: Casey Affleck
Could Win: Denzel Washington
Should Win: Denzel Washington

Casey Affleck has been an awards juggernaut this season for his moving performance in “Manchester By the Sea” as a broken man returning to his hometown to nurture his fatherless nephew. If anyone can beat him, it’s star-director Denzel Washington, who may have to settle for an Ensemble win for holiday box office hit “Fences.”

Best Supporting Actress


Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester By the Sea”

Will Win: Viola Davis
Could Win: Michelle Williams
Should Win: Viola Davis

There is no way that Tony-Emmy-Globe-winner and three-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis doesn’t take home the gold for “Fences.” Hell, she could have won Best Actress if she’d stayed in that category.

"Moonlight": Andre Holland, Ashton Sanders, Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert, Tarell McCraney, Naomie Harris, Trevante Wright, director Barry Jenkins

“Moonlight”: Andre Holland, Ashton Sanders, Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert, Tarell McCraney, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, director Barry Jenkins

Daniel Bergeron

Best Supporting Actor


Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester By the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”

Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Could Win: Jeff Bridges
Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Wily acting veteran Jeff Bridges may have to cede the field to first-time SAG and Oscar nominee Mahershala Ali, who had a breakout year in “House of Cards,” Luke Cage,” and “Hidden Figures,” and gives “Moonlight” its beating heart as a drug dealer who nurtures a needy young boy.

“Hacksaw Ridge”

Best Stunt Ensemble

“Captain America: Civil War”
“Doctor Strange”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Jason Bourne”
“Nocturnal Animals”

Will Win: “Hacksaw Ridge”
Could Win: “Doctor Strange”
Should Win: “Hacksaw Ridge”

The SAG nominations for “Hacksaw Ridge” were an early indicator of the support for Mel Gibson’s comeback as a director,  which went on to six Oscar nominations including Picture and Director and Actor Andrew Garfield. The actors will send one of their own home with this award.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox