It’s that time of year again: when actors of the big and small screen come together to honor the best and brightest of both at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. This year’s 27th Annual SAG Awards should set the stage for this month’s Oscars as well as September’s Primetime Emmy Awards, as actors make up sizable voting branches in the Film and TV Academies. For film predictions from IndieWire’s Anne Thompson, head over here, while the TV predictions are all slotted just below.
Tune in Sunday, April 4 at 9 p.m. ET to find out who wins. Broadcast on TNT and TBS simultaneously, this year’s ceremony will be cut down to an hour runtime. The telecast will include interviews tied to the established theme — “I am an Actor,” of course — as well as appearances by nominees Riz Ahmed, Sterling K. Brown, Viola Davis, Daveed Diggs, Ethan Hawke, Dan Levy, and Jason Sudeikis, the latter of whom will appear with the also-nominated “Ted Lasso” ensemble in a new, pre-taped “pep talk.”
For more on this year’s ceremony, why not study up on who’s nominated and who’s likely to win, by reading the below predictions? Great! Here we go!
Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul”
In all likelihood, “The Crown” will continue its 2021 Winter Awards Season dominance, adding an Ensemble SAG Award to a trophy case that includes four Golden Globes, four BFCA awards, a WGA award, an AFI award, and a PGA Award — and that’s just this year. “The Crown” already won the Ensemble award in 2020. That being said, SAG winners can tilt toward the hot hand in general, not just the hot awards player. “Stranger Things” won for its first season, as did “This Is Us,” so if voters want to give “Bridgerton” the same golden stamp of approval, Netflix’s new kid on the block could upset its previously anointed peer.
Will Win: “The Crown”
Could Win: “Bridgerton”
Should Win: “Better Call Saul”
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Well, one thing’s for sure: Netflix is going to win this category. In an unprecedented category takeover, the streaming giant nabbed every slot — and with only two shows! Vote-splitting won’t be an issue, since it’s inevitable, so where does that leave us? Historically, voters tend to prefer a lead actor here. The last supporting turn to win was Maggie Smith in “Downton Abbey,” back in 2014. Before that, it was Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story,” 2012) and Chandra Wilson (“Grey’s Anatomy,” 2007). Otherwise, it’s all leads, which bodes well for Olivia Colman and Laura Linney. Colman lost a presumably tight race with Jennifer Aniston last year, so she could vault to a victory without the “Morning Show” star’s competition… but it really feels like this season of “The Crown” belonged to Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin. I’m going with Anderson, if only because she’s got a long history of SAG love from “The X-Files” and this is a completely different, very actor-y role, but this category could go any which way.
Will Win: Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Could Win: Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Should Win: Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Best Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Regé-Jean Page, “Bridgerton”
Similar to the Ensemble category, this one may come down to how much SAG voters want to honor “The Crown,” an established juggernaut, vs. advocating for a burgeoning new hit in “Bridgerton.” Yes, Jason Bateman could win again — the affable multi-hyphenate certainly put in the work on “Ozark” — but it would be a bit odd for him to win over his co-star Laura Linney, whose character was put through an even-more-tortuous wringer in Season 3. Sterling K. Brown is always deserving, as is Bob Odenkirk, but Josh O’Connor and Regé-Jean Page are the buzziest contenders with shows that are freshest in voters’ minds. Again, I give the edge to “The Crown,” but this is another tight one.
Will Win: Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Could Win: Regé-Jean Page, “Bridgerton”
Should Win: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me”
“The Flight Attendant”
Perhaps the last major award “Schitt’s Creek” will be up for, and yes, the PopTV favorite is likely to win this one, too. If there was more buzz behind “The Great,” maybe the sharp-tongued Hulu period comedy could conquer the category, and if voters embrace “Ted Lasso” beyond Jason Sudeikis’ pitch-perfect lead turn (as they should), then Apple TV+ could pull off the upset. But the sheer mass of people who’ve seen and come to love “Schitt’s Creek” feels a bit too much to topple at this point, even if it’s already starting to feel like the pleasant little Canadian comedy has been more than fairly recognized.
Will Win: “Schitt’s Creek”
Could Win: “Ted Lasso”
Should Win: “Ted Lasso”
Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”
Linda Cardellini, “Dead to Me”
Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”
Catherine O’Hara is a five-time nominee, including SAG nods for Ensemble and Actress, who has yet to win. That’s likely to change this year, though I wouldn’t count out the only actor who doesn’t have to worry about vote-splitting: Kaley Cuoco put on a helluva show in “The Flight Attendant,” with a dark comic (skewing dramatic) performance. If enough voters sparked to her first big role post-“Big Bang,” she could earn her own first SAG trophy — after going zero-for-six in the CBS comedy’s ensemble.
Will Win: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”
Could Win: Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Should Win: Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Courtesy of Apple TV+
Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”
Despite a ton of shows snagging two nominees (and one with three), this is the first category where I think vote-splitting could make a difference. There’s been an outpouring of support for both Eugene Levy and Dan Levy in the past few years, but the Emmys and many other awards shows usually split them into separate categories: Lead and Supporting. The SAG Awards don’t do that, so “Schitt’s Creek” fans will have to pick a favorite, and there’s no obvious choice between them. That leaves the door open for another contender to amass enough votes to win, and considering how much buzz continues to build around the first true breakout Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso,” Jason Sudeikis could win even if “Schitt’s” fans unite behind one actor. Here’s hoping he helps us avoid another “Schitt’s Creek” sweep.
Will Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Could Win: Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Should Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Cate Blanchett, “Mrs. America”
Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You”
Nicole Kidman, “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”
Kerry Washington, “Little Fires Everywhere”
Well, it’s the match-up we’ve all been waiting for — at least since the HFPA’s snubbing: Anya Taylor-Joy and Michaela Coel go head-to-head for the SAG Award, in a duel likely to be repeated at the 2021 Emmys. Coel showed how much passion there is for her and her work when the Golden Globes left “I May Destroy You” out of the running, but Taylor-Joy’s show is more recent and most likely more widely seen (though who knows how many times either program has actually been streamed). For now, things seem to be tipping toward the chess prodigy, but this should be tight.
Will Win: Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”
Could Win: Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You”
Should Win: Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You”
Niko Tavernise / HBO
Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Bill Camp, “The Queen’s Gambit”
Daveed Diggs, “Hamilton”
Hugh Grant, “The Undoing”
Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird”
Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”
As much as I want to put my faith in actors to reward Ethan Hawke’s barn-burning performance in Showtime’s under-appreciated abolitionist gem, “The Good Lord Bird,” this is the same group that didn’t even nominate the man for “First Reformed” — so I’m writing him off here. Same goes for Daveed Diggs and Bill Camp, both of whom deliver excellent turns, but the former does so in a filmed theatrical production, which frankly doesn’t belong in the same competition as these limited series, and the latter’s work is confined to a single episode. If the SAG body is eager to award “Hamilton” or gaga over “The Queen’s Gambit,” perhaps one of these men can pull off an upset, but this really feels like the same two-person race we saw at the Globes: Hugh Grant vs. Mark Ruffalo. Yet unlike the Globes, more than 80-some odd people vote on the SAGs, and their taste leans populist: Derek Cianfrance’s painful HBO drama could have been tough sledding, whereas plenty of people savored Susanne Bier’s soapy murder-mystery week to week. Even with a less-than-cherished finale, Grant’s work is infallible, and he’s overdue for a win. Give it to him.
Will Win: Hugh Grant, “The Undoing”
Could Win: Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”
Should Win: Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird”
TV Stunt Ensemble
“Game of Thrones” took home the SAG trophy for stunt work in each of its eight seasons, meaning it won in eight of the last nine years. (“GLOW” won in 2018 when “Game of Thrones” took a year off.) So what does that teach us about the voting body’s preferences in the Stunt Ensemble race? They respect scale, they respond to intense action, and, like much of the SAGs, they tend to reward what they’ve seen — aka, high-rated series tend to do well. Aside from “Westworld” (nominated in 2018), this year’s batch of nominees are all newcomers, so precedent has to be applied to the general style of stunts honored more than a specific series. All this adds up to a win for “The Mandalorian” in 2021, despite not even landing a nomination for its first season. “Lovecraft Country” could also pull this off, given it earned an overall Ensemble nomination as well, but it feels like “Mando” is set to be the “Game of Thrones” successor.
Will Win: “The Mandalorian”
Could Win: “Lovecraft Country”
Should Win: “The Boys”