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In a wide-open Oscar year, will the SAG Awards offer any clarity?

In a wide-open Oscar year, will the SAG Awards offer any clarity?
Could Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf both win SAG Awards for "Lady Bird"? (A24 Films)

Judging from the nominations, SAG Awards voters spend a lot of time watching Netflix. Will the 121,544 SAG-AFTRA members in good standing keep showering the streaming network with love? And will the movie winners offer any clarity to this year’s wide-open Oscar season? Here are early guesses.

CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

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The nominees: “The Big Sick,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Mudbound,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And the winner is: With a leading four nominations and a sprawling ensemble that also includes well-respected actors like Peter Dinklage and John Hawkes, “Three Billboards” is the safe play.

Unless: Love for “Lady Bird” sweeps Ronan, Metcalf and the ensemble to victories. “Mudbound” is a possibility too.

MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

The nominees: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”; James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”; Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”; Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”; Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

And the winner is: Oldman has rarely been recognized for his excellent career. And he’s playing Winston Churchill. That’s like an awards-season perfect storm.

Unless: Momentum for young Chalamet and his tortured turn continues to build.

FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

The nominees: Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”; Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”; Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”; Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

And the winner is: Among this strong slate of women, it’s starting to feel like Ronan’s year.

Unless: McDormand’s powerhouse performance prevails.

Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell in "Three Billboards."
Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell in "Three Billboards." (Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight Pictures)

MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

The nominees: Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes,” Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”; Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”; Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And the winner is: Dafoe has carried critics groups for playing the kind-hearted motel manager in “The Florida Project.” The question is: Will enough SAG voters watch the movie, which has the lowest profile among the nominees?

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Unless: If the answer to that question is no, then Rockwell might be the choice.

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

The nominees: Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”; Hong Chau, “Downsizing”; Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”; Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”; Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

And the winner is: Early thinking had this category flipping between Janney and Metcalf, both of whom have won countless awards but never an Oscar. But “Lady Bird” has better box office and reviews. Metcalf should prevail.

Unless: It’s Janney, winning her third individual SAG Awards honor and first since “The West Wing.”

Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes in "The Handmaid's Tale."
Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes in "The Handmaid's Tale." (George Kraychyk / Hulu)

ENSEMBLE IN A TV DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us”

And the winner is: “Handmaid’s Tale” repeating its Emmy triumph seems logical.

Unless: Voters love “Stranger Things” so much they give it back-to-back victories.

Alison Brie flies high in "GLOW."
Alison Brie flies high in "GLOW." (Erica Parise / Netflix)

ENSEMBLE IN A TV COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: “Black-ish,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “GLOW,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Veep”

And the winner is: The SAG Awards (and the Golden Globes, for that matter) haven’t embraced “Veep” like the Emmys. The series has never won this award, and that’s not about to change this late in its run. Look for “GLOW” to have a gorgeous night.

Unless: “Orange Is the New Black” wins for the fourth consecutive year. (These voters love ruts even more than their Emmy counterparts.)

Sterling K. Brown stars in "This Is Us."
Sterling K. Brown stars in "This Is Us." (Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

MALE ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”; Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”; David Harbour, “Stranger Things”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

And the winner is: Brown didn’t win last year for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” so consider this an opportunity to make good on that oversight.

Unless: Harbour’s tough, tender “Stranger Things” lawman melted an awful lot of voters’ hearts.

FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”; Claire Foy, “The Crown”; Laura Linney, “Ozark”; Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”; Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

And the winner is: Moss won her first Emmy this year, and she’ll likely pick up her first individual SAG Awards honor too.

Unless: Voters’ historic Anglophilia (so many statues for “Downton Abbey”) helps Foy.

Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally in "Will & Grace."
Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally in "Will & Grace." (Chris Haston / NBC)

MALE ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”; Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”; Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Marc Maron, “GLOW”

And the winner is: Hayes won three times during “Will & Grace’s” initial run and could return to the podium after a 12-year break.

Unless: Macy makes it back-to-back wins. (Did I mention these voters love to repeat themselves?)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”; Alison Brie, “GLOW”; Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”; Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

And the winner is: Though “Veep” has never taken the comedy ensemble honor, voters have given Louis-Dreyfus two awards for her turn. Currently battling breast cancer, her peers might see this as a chance to salute her work and courage.

Unless: It’s a changing of the guard, and Brie wins for her great work in “GLOW.”

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Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman: All SAG Awards nominees for "Big Little Lies."
Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman: All SAG Awards nominees for "Big Little Lies." (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

The nominees: Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”; Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”; Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”; Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”; Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

And the winner is: Kidman earns her first SAG Award on her seventh try. What took them so long?

Unless: Witherspoon and Dern were pretty great in “Big Little Lies” too. Voters could decide to switch it up from the Emmys and go with one of them.

MALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

The nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective"; Jeff Daniels, “Godless”; Robert De Niro, “Wizard of Lies”; Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”; Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”

And the winner is: De Niro should not win for the mediocre “Wizard of Lies.” Give it to Daniels, so funny and frightening on “Godless.”

Unless: De Niro wins for the mediocre “Wizard of Lies” because, on the television side, that’s often how SAG Awards voters roll.

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