Gold Standard: SAG Awards 2016: Five stories worth watching from ‘Spotlight’ to ‘Compton’

‘Straight Outta Compton’

Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and O’Shea Jackson Jr. in “Straight Outta Compton." 

(Universal Pictures)

“Straight Outta Compton” might win a major award, further embarrassing the film academy. Leonardo DiCaprio is almost definitely going to go home with a trophy. And Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are going to shower Carol Burnett with some love and respect.

Here are five story lines to watch at Saturday’s SAG Awards.

1. Carol Burnett gets her due. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will present Burnett with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement honor, a moment that in itself makes the evening worth a watch. Fey and Poehler have often cited Burnett and her classic variety series, “The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-78), as a prime influence on their careers. Burnett humbly deflects the compliment, saying, “If I had never been born, they’d be doing what they’re doing.” This is going to be sweet. If you want to look back on Burnett’s life, we have a gallery of her career in pictures here

FULL COVERAGE: Screen Actors Guild Awards


2. Last stand for “Spotlight”? When the journalism/pedophile priests drama premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, we wrote that the Screen Actors Guild would go crazy for its impeccable ensemble. And here we are, a week after “The Big Short” won the Producers Guild’s top honor, and the feeling is that “Spotlight” needs to take SAG’s ensemble award to maintain a potency in the Oscar race.

“Spotlight,” with that deep bench including Oscar nominees Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, remains the slight favorite, even if none of its actors won individual nominations. (The entire membership votes on the awards, while a randomly selected committee handles the nominations.) But if “The Big Short” wins here, it will be awfully hard to bet against it at the Oscars.

3. The crowd goes crazy for “Compton”? Perhaps you’ve heard. “Straight Outta Compton” did not receive an Oscar nomination for best picture. But it did earn a SAG Award nod for its ensemble. And ballots were out while the #OscarsSoWhite controversy was dominating headlines. (In fact, voting just closed Friday at noon.) Might the backlash help boomerang the popular N.W.A biopic into the winner’s circle?


4. Who fills the void left by Sylvester Stallone? And, yes, that’s a pretty big hole left after SAG Awards voters ignored (i.e. mostly didn’t see) Stallone’s performance in the “Rocky” reboot “Creed.” Stallone sits as the supporting actor favorite with most Oscar pundits, but someone else will have a turn at the podium Saturday night. This might be another spot for “The Big Short” to steal the thunder for Christian Bale’s intense, “borderline creepy” (author Michael Lewis’ words) portrayal of eccentric hedge fund manager Michael Burry.

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5. Alicia Vikander or Rooney Mara for supporting actress? Or will SAG Awards voters take a page from the Golden Globes and go with Kate Winslet from “Steve Jobs”? Vikander has the most heat, between the acclaim for her work in “Ex Machina” and “The Danish Girl.” Look for her to prevail in this close contest.

Follow me on Twitter: @glennwhipp


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