January 30, 2012

When SAG Met Oscar…

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After kicking off awards season with the lackluster and unsurprising Golden Globes a few weeks ago, things really got into full swing with Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. 2011’s nomination mainstays like The Iron Lady’s Meryl Streep, Beginners’ Christopher Plummer and the ladies of The Help brought home the big prizes, while favorites like My Week With Marilyn’s Michelle Williams and The Descendants’ George Clooney were shockingly shut out. So what does this mean for the Academy Awards, the most prestigious awards ceremony in film? With two other major awards ceremonies behind us, let’s take a look at what we can expect when the coveted golden statues are handed out on Feb. 26.

Let’s start with the little movie that could: The Help. The ladies who starred in last summer’s surprise hit about African American maids in the South have been gaining momentum since the Golden Globes after Octavia Spencer took home the prize for Best Supporting Actress. Sunday was no exception; Spencer, Viola Davis, Emma Stone and crew stole the show, picking up the SAG Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture, with Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress prizes going to Spencer and Davis, respectively. The awards sweep by The Help’s leading ladies makes us wonder how their chances bode for Oscar night. Well, the answer to that would be that their chances are pretty high, at least for Spencer, who’s been on a winning streak all season for her hilarious and moving portrayal of Minny, the maid for the heartless Hilly Hollbrook (a criminally ignored Bryce Dallas Howard). Given Spencer’s glorious track record thus far, she’s sure to become a first-time Oscar winner in the coming weeks. Given her SAG win, Davis also has a solid shot, but competition from Academy favorites and Globe winners Streep and Michelle Williams could leave her in the dark on Oscar night.

Another surprising SAG snub came with the dethroning of Clooney, who took home a Golden Globe for his performance in the critically lauded family drama The Descendants. The SAG instead went to The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, whose silent performance won the praises of many a powerful film critic. His fellow winner in the male acting category was veteran Christopher Plummer, whose portrayal of a widow who reveals his homosexuality following his wife’s death in Beginners won him a Golden Globe earlier in January. He has consistently blown his competition out of the water this season, and Oscar night should prove no different.

Up to now, awards season has brought us film buffs both surprising wins and shocking snubs, with a fair amount of predictability. We’ll just have to see if the SAG Awards proved to be a promising indicator of what we can expect when the stars bring glitz and glam to film’s biggest night on Feb. 26.

Original Author: Sydney Ramsden