2020 SAG Awards TV Predictions: Will Actors Honor ‘The Crown’ or Look to ‘Watchmen’?

Can "The Morning Show" stay hot? Can "Watchmen" make a comeback? The SAG Awards nominations are ready to right the Golden Globes' wrongs... we hope.
"The Crown," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," and "Watchmen"
"The Crown," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," and "Watchmen"
Netflix / Amazon / HBO

The Golden Globe nominations are out, and now it’s the Screen Actors Guild’s turn to steer the 2020 awards cycle. With more voting members than the HFPA — and more long-lasting devotion to previous nominees — the 2020 SAG Awards likely won’t see as many new faces and wild picks. Instead, expect to see beloved shows like “The Crown” and “Game of Thrones” to continue to do well, while new series need broad viewership and intense support to break through.

Take a look at IndieWire TV Awards Editor Libby Hill’s recent breakdown of the voting process and the SAG Awards’ significance to TV before checking out our 2020 predictions below. The 2020 SAG Awards nominations will be announced Wednesday, December 11 from the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles  at 10 a.m. ET and 7 a.m. local time. America Ferrera and Danai Gurira will reveal the nominations, and fans can watch via TNT, TBS, and truTV or stream the announcement at tntdrama.com/sag-awards, truTV.com, and sagawards.org.

Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

1. “The Crown”
2. “Big Little Lies”
3. “Game of Thrones”
4. “This Is Us”
5. “Succession”

Dark Horse: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
In a Perfect World: “Watchmen”

“This Is Us” enters the race with back-to-back wins, but only five series have ever won more than two SAG ensemble awards: “Downton Abbey” (three), “ER” (four), “Modern Family” (four), “Seinfeld” (three), and “Orange Is the New Black” (three). But while “This Is Us” aims to enter an elite club with its third consecutive win, “Game of Thrones” is just hoping to get one victory under its belt before saying goodbye forever. Despite six nominations, the HBO juggernaut has never won the ensemble prize. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: Both will have to get nominated before they think about winning, and this year, that’s no guarantee. Increased pressure from a limited series-turned-drama (“Big Little Lies”) and a rising favorite (“Succession”) has former nominees (like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Stranger Things”) on the outs, while the arrival of Apple TV+ and “The Morning Show” could throw a wrench in the whole race — assuming, that is, that voters have watched. Apple got its Globes nods, and it may have to settle for those. The SAG Awards are a different ballgame.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

1. Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
2. Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
3. Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies”
4. Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
5. Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”

Dark Horse: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
In a Perfect World: Regina King, “Watchmen” and Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”

With only two of last year’s nominees still eligible, there’s bound to be some new additions to the Best Actress race — but who’s got the edge? Oscar winner Olivia Colman should capitalize from her raised stature, as well as the SAG’s affinity for “The Crown” — but can Helena Bonham Carter sneak in as well? With no supporting roles at the SAGs, shows are looking to double up, and there’s no shortage of formidable tag teams: Look for Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”) to crack in after the former’s Emmy win and the latter’s SAG win last year, while “Big Little Lies” should make a big dent in the race with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman in the running. How can voters resist these former winners in such juicy roles? That would edge out Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), which seems insane — except Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”) is also left out. There are too many top contenders here for just about anyone to feel safe.

The Crown Season 3 Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies in “The Crown”Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix

Best Actor in a Drama Series

1. Billy Porter, “Pose”
2. Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
3. Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
4. Tobias Menzies, “The Crown”
5. David Harbour, “Stranger Things”

Dark Horse: Brian Cox, “Succession”
In a Perfect World: Jeremy Strong, “Succession”

Similar to “Game of Thrones” in the ensemble race, Peter Dinklage has never won at the SAG Awards despite five nominations here. For now, he should feel safe about one more nominations, and that’s more than many others can say. 2019 Emmy winner Billy Porter wasn’t nominated last year, so he could be seen as vulnerable; Sterling K. Brown is part of a fan-favorite series in “This Is Us,” but perhaps voters feel they’ve given him enough love. David Harbour and “Stranger Things” took a year off after his 2017 nomination, while Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and John Krasinski (“Jack Ryan”) saw buzz dip after their nominations last year. Plus, there are the wild cards: Does Steve Carell fit into the mix for “The Morning Show”? And who gets the nod from “Succession”: Brian Cox or Jeremy Strong? Neither was nominated in 2018, so history could repeat itself for daddy and his No. 1 boy.

Best Comedy Ensemble

1. “Fleabag”
2. “Barry”
3. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
4. “Dead to Me”
5. “Veep”

Dark Horse: “GLOW”
In a Perfect World: “Better Things”

“Fleabag,” “Barry,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” all feel like locks, but the last two slots could be a lot more competitive than they seem. History favors “Veep” and “GLOW,” both of which have been nominated multiple times in the past and saw no dip in quality for their latest seasons. But “Veep’s” time out of the spotlight and abbreviated season could lead voters to look toward the future, while “GLOW’s” impending end could do the same. “Veep,” however, is a past winner, while “GLOW” has only been nominated — so I’m betting the latter slides out and another Netflix title takes its place: Despite middling reviews, “Dead to Me” has notched nominations at the Emmys, Golden Globes, and TCA Awards. Granted, all but the latter have strictly been for Christina Applegate, but Linda Cardellini and James Marsden have their fans, too. If not them, “Schitt’s Creek” could sneak in and keep its 2019 awards streak hot.

"Dead to Me" Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate in “Dead to Me”Saeed Adyani / Netflix

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

1. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag”
2. Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
4. Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
5. Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”

Dark Horse: Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie
In a Perfect World: Kirsten Dunst, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”

In six seasons of “Veep,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been nominated five times and won thrice. Will voters stick with her for the final season? Can she win one more trophy after being denied at the Emmys and snubbed at the Globes? It’s certainly not an all-or-nothing scenario, but the precarious nature of this comedy titan illustrates just how competitive this category is in 2020. Presumed locks like newcomers Natasha Lyonne in “Russian Doll” and Kirsten Dunst in “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” would be pleasant surprises if nominated, while favorites like Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda — who’ve both been nominated three years in a row for “Grace and Frankie” — may both be out come Wednesday’s nominations. It’s a crazy year when someone who seems to have snagged one of the final spots could still end up the winner.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

1. Tony Shaloub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
2. Bill Hader, “Barry”
3. Henry Winkler, “Barry”
4. Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
5. Andrew Scott, “Fleabag”

Dark Horse: Ben Platt, “The Politician”
In a Perfect World: Ted Danson, “The Good Place”

Following a successful SAG Awards run in the USA Network series “Monk” — where he topped the likes of Ray Romano and Jason Bateman — Tony Shaloub pulled off another upset win last year, this time beating out “Barry’s” Bill Hader. The trophy tied him for second-most all time (and still way behind seven-time winner Alec Baldwin) and set up a rematch in 2020: Hader, hot off two Emmy wins, is looking to add a SAG trophy to his mantle, but first they’ll have to suss out the rest of the competition. Last year’s nominees Henry Winkler (“Barry”), Michael Douglas, and Alan Arkin (both from “The Kominsky Method”) are all back again, in addition to “The Politician’s” Ben Platt. Don’t count out Andrew Scott, either — the recent Golden Globes nominee for “Fleabag” is looking to make up for his Emmy omission.

Catherine the Great HBO Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren in “Catherine the Great”Hal Shinnie/HBO

Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

1. Michelle Williams, “Fosse/Verdon”
2. Toni Collette, “Unbelievable”
3. Merritt Wever, “Unbelievable”
4. Patricia Arquette, “The Act”
5. Helen Mirren, “Catherine the Great”

Dark Horse: Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”
In a Perfect World: Renee Zellweger, “What/If”

“Unbelievable” could set itself up for a formidable Emmy run in 2020 if it can add to its impressive Globes tally at the SAG Awards. Notching four nominations from the HFPA, the limited series could get two more from the actors for both Toni Collette and Merritt Wever. Even with a fall 2020 premiere, that could make it a big limited series foe next year. “Catherine the Great” could say the same, at least for its star: Helen Mirren snagging a SAG nod and a Globes nod could be enough of a boost for the prime circuit, even if “Catherine the Great” isn’t getting the same “Unbelievable” buzz.

Best Actor in a Limited Series of TV Movie

1. Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us”
2. Jared Harris, “Chernobyl”
3. Mahershala Ali, “True Detective”
4. Aaron Paul, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”
5. Sam Rockwell, “Fosse/Verdon”

Dark Horse: Russell Crowe, “The Loudest Voice”
In a Perfect World: Timothy Olyphant, “Deadwood”

While the SAG Awards won’t in any way be a reaction to the Globes nominations, that doesn’t mean they can’t help make up for the HFPA’s oversight. They should start with Jharrel Jerome, the Emmy winner and leading talent of “When They See Us,” who was left off the Globes’ shortlist along with anyone else from Ava DuVernay’s series. Mahershala Ali could join him, after being snubbed by the Globes, as well. Meanwhile, Russell Crowe hopes to get a boost from a large voting body who actually overlaps with the Emmys, and Sam Rockwell hopes for one last award for “Fosse/Verdon.”

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