Hidden Figures won big at the Screen Actor’s Guild awards after the cast was awarded the Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, besting the favorite to win Moonlight. It just crossed the $100 million mark at the box office this weekend too. I thought that if Moonlight lost this it would cement La La Land’s win, but coupled with this win, it shouldn’t be counted out of the Best Picture race especially since La La Land was not nominated here. The Oscars love their crowdpleasers, and much of La La Land‘s campaign has been built on it being one. And sure, it has a PGA win, but Hidden Figures is every bit of the crowdpleaser that La La Land is, better even and the race is far from over. Watch out.
The other big “shocker” of the night came when Denzel Washington beat Casey Affleck in Best Actor. Many were predicting Affleck to continue his sweep here but I had a hunch Washington would win here; he had never won an award here before, which is absolutely insane to think about.
The rest of the categories went pretty much as expected: Emma Stone began her march towards an Oscar by repeating her win at Golden Globes. Any hopes of a late surge for Natalie Portman seem entirely unrealistic now. Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis won in their respective categories.
See the full list of winners below.
We have now entered Phase 2 of awards season: Oscar nominations have been announced, and now it’s about threading a narrative to create/build and/or maintain enough momentum to win an Oscar.
Last year, we saw the tide turn quickly against The Revenant, which came into Oscar night with a whopping 12 nominations and losing Best Picture to Spotlight and other technical awards to Mad Max: Fury Road. The same thing happened to American Hustle a few years ago; it scored 13 nominations and a ton of late breaking heat from the Golden Globes and Screen Actor’s Guild and won nothing on Oscar night. This year is obviously much different than those years, with La La Land being much more of an Oscar-friendly and consensus title than the other ones I mentioned.
Curiously enough, La La Land only managed nominations for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and did not appear in the line up for Best Ensemble which is worth noting. It’s true that La La Land is a lot of just Stone and Gosling, but that hasn’t stopped SAG from nominating films with smaller ensembles before (remember Beasts of No Nation last year? It only had three actors cited). The Producer’s Guild also announces their winner this weekend, which La La Land will almost certainly win. But SAG represents the actors, which outnumber the producers that vote within the Academy which is why I think Moonlight can emerge as a big threat this weekend (but more on that later).
Let’s go through the categories.
It was clear that the Broadcast Film Critics loved La La Land; they gave it the most nominations of any film with 12, and ended up winning eight including the top prizes: Picture and Director while picking up a lot of the below the line prizes in Editing, Production Design and Cinematography. Many have predicted La La Land will sweep in a similar fashion at the Oscars. And while it’s true the Broadcast critics don’t vote on the Oscars, they are more predictive and align more accurately with the Oscars than any other precursor group, including the Globes and even Screen Actors Guild (sometimes).
Where La La Land missed out, however, was in Best Actress which surprisingly went to Natalie Portman. After suffering from missed citations from recent critics groups, Portman roared back into the race and Jackie picked up additional awards in Costumes and Hair & Makeup. Only two actresses in the past 6 years that have won this award missed out on winning the Oscar; though many were quick to declare this a cakewalk for Emma Stone, it’s clear Best Actress is still a two woman race.
The other two frontrunners, Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea, had their moments as well. Mahershala Ali won yet another trophy for Supporting Actor with the cast winning the group’s ensemble prize. Casey Affleck beat out his biggest competition in Denzel Washington for Best Actor, while Kenneth Lonergan tied in Original Screenplay with Damien Chazelle’s screenplay for La La Land. After winning some notices with the critics, Michelle Williams lost Supporting Actress to Viola Davis, who has begun what I suspect will be a clean sweep of the televised awards. Look out for her next conquest: the Golden Globes (nominations are announced tomorrow).
Read the full list of (film) winners below.