At the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) held on Jan. 21, actors celebrate other actors. Voted upon by the members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), these accolades honor performers for their work in film and television. Considered a major Oscar predictor, the SAG Awards share the largest voter overlap out of any other during awards season due to the fact the Actors Branch of The Academy remains its largest.
Statistically, most film winners at the SAG Awards go on to win the Oscar in their own category.
Unlike any other award show, the SAG Awards exclusively honor actors. After all, SAG-AFTRA is a union for those in performance arts on screen. They give awards for individual performances along with categories for ensembles instead of awarding best “series” or “film.” The film categories exclusively feature honors for individual performances in supporting roles.
Unlike the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards do not separate the film performances by genre. However, in the three television divisions (Comedy, Drama, and Miniseries or Television Movie), and lead and supporting performers go head-to-head for the same award—Morgan Freeman received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Actress Kristen Bell made history as the first ever official host of the event. In the 23 ceremonies preceding it, no one has ever taken on the role as host before. Her short monologue and bit parts throughout the night made Bell a welcomed presence. Equal parts sweet and serious, she brought fun to the event while respectfully acknowledging current events.
The first awards of the night honored comedy performances in television series. William H. Macy took home Outstanding Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on the cult hit “Shameless” on Showtime. A winner of this award three times in total, he also took this same honor last year.
Coincidentally, last year’s Outstanding Female Actor in a Comedy Series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, won again, as well. She won a second time for the same role when the night’s Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series went to her and her castmates from HBO’s political satire “Veep.” These record-breaking victories bring Louis-Dreyfus’ SAG Awards wins up to a total of nine, making her the most decorated performer in the award’s history. Unfortunately, she was not able to attend the awards, reportedly due to her health.
After the comedy categories came awards for Outstanding Supporting Roles in film. As with the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards before them, Sam Rockwell of “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” and Allison Janney of “I, Tonya” took home the awards.
Although some critics and pundits still see Janney and Laurie Metcalf of “Lady Bird” as neck and neck in the Oscar race for Supporting Actress, Janney’s SAG Awards win certainly puts her at an advantage. If Metcalf cannot pull off a surprise win at next month’s BAFTA ceremony, the Oscar is Janney’s to lose.
Rockwell, on the other hand, appears to be unstoppable in his awards season sweep. Some pundits wrongly predicted Rockwell and his costar Woody Harrelson would end up spitting the vote.
HBO’s hit adaptation of the best-selling novel “Big Little Lies” found major success pulling off another two big wins. Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard won Outstanding Female Actor and Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries, respectively. The pair played a married couple whose toxic relationship allowed the show to address serious issues such as emotional and physical abuse. Skarsgard’s complete shock at his own win made for an adorable reaction. In her “Big Little Lies” role, Kidman won her first ever SAG Award. The emotional Oscar winner used her speech to express her love and gratitude for her craft and guild.
Claire Foy of Netflix’s “The Crown” scored a win for the second year in a row for Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series. This year, unfortunately, Foy’s inability to attend kept her from accepting in person.
Continuing his awards sweep, Sterling K. Brown of “This is Us” won for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series. His emotional and touching speech brought the room to tears. Brown won a second award for his work in the show’s ensemble.
In a shocking upset over last year’s winner “Stranger Things,” NBC’s family drama “This Is Us” was named Best Ensemble in a Drama Series. “Stranger Things” was expected to also to score a win for at least one of its stars, David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown; however, the beloved show went home empty handed.
The final three awards of the night celebrated film performances. Upsets were expected in these categories; however, SAG-AFTRA ended up rewarding the same winners as the Golden Globes did in dramatic roles. Frances McDormand’s brilliant work in “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” won for Outstanding Female Actor in A Leading Role. While McDormand’s winning streak seems unstoppable, Margot Robbie could still pull off an upset by Oscar Sunday, according to some pundits.
Gary Oldman’s performance in “Darkest Hour” prevailed over James Franco of “The Disaster Artist” for Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role. Although currently in the news for sexual misconduct claims, a possible SAG win seemed potentially in the cards for Franco. His lack of a BAFTA nomination in conjunction with his bad press may have ruined his Oscar chances for good, making way for Oldman.
The biggest award of the night went to the cast of “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.” This essential win for “Three Billboards” could not have come at a better time. It put the film back in first place as the predicted Best Picture Oscar winner over “The Shape of Water,” which was not even nominated for SAG Best Picture equivalent, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture. Out of all of the night’s SAG Award wins, its ensemble win made the biggest impact on the Oscar race.
Complete List of SAG Award winners
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Frances McDormand, Clarke Peters, Sam Rockwell, and Samara Weaving
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“This Is Us,” Eris Baker, Alexandra Breckenridge, Sterling K. Brown, Lonnie Chavis, Justin Hartley, Faithe Herman, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore, Chris Sullivan, Milo Ventimiglia, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Hannah Zeile
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Veep,” Dan Bakkedahl, Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Margaret Colin, Kevin Dunn, Clea Duvall, Nelson Franklin, Tony Hale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam Richardson, Paul Scheer, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland, and Matt Walsh
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
“Game of Thrones”