Since 1998, every winner of the Screen Actors Guild Awards have been nominated for an Oscar. That makes things pretty easy, don't it? Congratulations to Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) on their impending nominations. As with all, we will examine their chances to win the Oscar at a later date. Plenty of time for that. Since 2001, there have been 33 leading men and women who have been nominated from the following five groups: The BFCA, the Golden Globes, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Screen Actors Guild and the BAFTAs. All 33 were nominated for an Oscar. This year there are five that fall into that illustrious category. One of them being Bridges. The other four are George Clooney (Up In The Air), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
We now have 6 out of the 10. Any of those coming up short on Tuesday would most certainly be a shock. With four spots to go, let us consider what has happened when only four of those voting bodies agree on a nomination. It has happened 24 times since 2001 and in 20 of those cases, the actor or actress was indeed nominated. (These stats includes Chicago's 2004 awards when winners were announced without nominations.) Three of those four unlucky souls came up short when BAFTA failed to nominate them. 7 of the 10 times BAFTA went in another direction though, the nominee from the other four groups still competed on Oscar night. That's neither here nor there though as BAFTA nominated both Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Colin Firth (A Single Man). It was the Globes that snubbed Renner and Chicago that left Firth off their list. With the Globes, BFCA, SAG and BAFTA in agreement without the Windy City, that nominee is 9-for-9 for a shot at the Oscar. Only once in that time have the Globes been the lone shutout with the others in agreement. That was in 2003 with Naomi Watts (21 Grams) and she got an Oscar nomination anyway. Add in Renner winning the award from Chicago and National Society of Film Critics (8-of-10 & 9-of-10, respectively, in their winners getting a nomination) and you have to really like his chances along with Firth to make the final cut.
THE FINAL TWO
Best Actor may be an easier call than Best Actress. There are a number of worthy contenders like Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man) and Matt Damon (The Informant!), both nominated by Chicago and the Globes. Some want to make the case for Viggo Mortensen (The Road) and Tobey Maguire (Brothers), nominated by the BFCA and the Globes, respectively. Could Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes) continue a show of respect from the Academy despite only 8 of the last 20 victors of the Globes Comedy/Musical Best Actor award get a nomination? More likely it is going to be the guy we all assumed was a lock the minute we heard Clint Eastwood was doing a film about Nelson Mandela. Yes, Morgan Freeman (Invictus) is the best shot to round out the category with his fifth Oscar nomination. Like Sandra Bullock, he was nominated by the BFCA, the Globes and SAG this year - and of the last six times an actor has grabbed nods from three of the aforementioned five groups only Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man) was shut out.
Best Actress is a little trickier. We don't quite have the numbers to justify the 10th choice as a number of ladies have seen the wealth shared and received no more than two nominations from the above five groups. Of the last 24 to only go 2-for-5 in that manner, only six have received an Oscar nomination:
Sean Penn (I Am Sam), Will Smith (Ali), Michael Caine (The Quiet American), Jude Law (Cold Mountain), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) and Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd).
That number is likely to go up to seven, unless you care to seriously consider any of the performers to only be nominated from one of the five bodies. There have been 98 of them since 2001 and only four of them were up for the Oscar. And that is including Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) and Kate Winslet (The Reader) who were being nominated in the Supporting category for the most part. The other two were Samantha Morton (2002 - In America) and Laura Linney (2007 - The Savages). So we can beat the drum for an upset pick like Abbie Cornish (Bright Star), Maya Rudolph (Away We Go) or Marion Cotillard (Nine), let us take a look at those with the 25% advantage.
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) was lauded by the BFCA & BAFTA, but believe it or not, those two groups have never agreed without the support of at least one of the other three groups. Considering that BAFTA is only hovering around a 60% success rate to Oscar with their nominations - and three of this year's nominees are Mulligan, Sidibe and Streep - Ronan may have the slightest chance amongst the three in this field. Looking better is Helen Mirren (The Last Station) who has found support from the Globes and SAG. Three other actors have seen the same support since '01. They include Richard Gere (Chicago), Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen) and Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road). That's an 0-for-3 unless you figure that Winslet WAS nominated, just for a different film. Also in the race is Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria). She is in a little better company being nominated by the BFCA and the Globes. Seven other actors fit this profile and two of them (Will Smith & Johnny Depp) you may have just read about in that list above. Which historical figure is going to be represented? Queen Victoria or Mrs. Tolstoy? Perhaps the answer lies in the simplicity of the numbers between the Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. 29 of the last 51 Best Actress nominees in the Globes Drama category got an Oscar nomination. 45 of the last 50 at the SAGs did the same. When in doubt, 90% is a good number to go with.
BEST ACTOR - FINAL PREDICTONS
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up In The Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
BEST ACTRESS - FINAL PREDICTONS
Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia
Stay tuned as I will next break down the Screenplays, Directors, Pictures and a complete list of predictions right down to Sound Editing and Visual Effects.