The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations were announced five minutes ago and the awards won't be announced for another month. But let's take a wild stab at predicting the winners anyway. Not that this group is that hard to read. SAG voters have established clear favorites over the years (Alec Baldwin has never lost for "30 Rock"), and, because of the size of the voting body, the prizes typically go to consensus candidates. Here's an early take on the awards.
CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
And the winner is: "12 Years a Slave." SAG voters love volume here, giving the ensemble award to the movie with the biggest cast five years running. Though "12 Years" counts two fewer actors than "The Butler," we have a hard time believing that the Oscar front-runner will lose simply because of numbers.
Unless: With its big-name cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper, among them), "American Hustle" looms as a significant threat. Yes, Lawrence was the film's only actor nominated individually, but the winners are voted on by the 100,000 active SAG-AFTRA members, while the noms come from a randomly selected panel of 2,300.
MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
And the winner is: McConaughey. Actors will find his career makeover inspiring and irresistible.
Unless: The season's other inspirational story — Bruce Dern — siphons votes from McConaughey. Then look for Ejiofor to win for his harrowing work.
FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
And the winner is: Blanchett has never won and should receive her due for a turn that has dominated the conversation in this category since July.
Unless: Voters decide that, after five nominations, Dench is even more overdue.
MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
And the winner is: Leto. SAG giving "Dallas Buyers Club's" small group an ensemble nomination indicates that voters love this bunch.
Unless: It's Fassbender, with voters going for "12 Years" in a big way.
FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
And the winner is: The eventual Oscar winner has taken this category five straight years, so we'll go with our favorite there, Nyong'o.
Unless: Jennifer Lawrence makes it back-to-back wins in a huge night for "Hustle."
ENSEMBLE IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
And the winner is: "Breaking Bad." SAG voters take forever to pick up on the greatness of a particular series. This year, they finally discover that, you know what ... that "Breaking Bad" is a pretty good little show!
Unless: Last year's winner, "Downton Abbey," repeats; in which case, SAG, you're dead to us.
ENSEMBLE IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
And the winner is: "Modern Family." Again, when it comes to television, this is not a cutting-edge group. Look for them to follow Emmy voters' lead, and give this show its fourth straight prize.
Unless: They go with that other network hit, "The Big Bang Theory."
MALE ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
And the winner is: Cranston. SAG members will be keen to honor "Breaking Bad's" final season.
Unless: Though "House of Cards" didn't punch through the ensemble category, five-time nominee Spacey has been rewarded in the past (winning for "American Beauty") and could win again for his celebrated, showy turn in "Cards."
FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
And the winner is: Danes won last year, Lange the year before. Washington?
Unless: Voters blew it big time by hopping off the Julianna Margulies bandwagon the year "The Good Wife" delivered its best season. In lieu of her deserving turn, Danes is the safest choice.
MALE ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
And the winner is: Baldwin has won this prize for every season of "30 Rock." That's seven years running. Are voters going to pass up one last chance to hand off a trophy? Our hunch is they will, owing mostly to his latest kerfuffles. Time for Parsons to take over.
Unless: Baldwin makes it eight for eight.
FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
And the winner is: Louis-Dreyfus hasn't won here since the "Seinfeld" era. Is there any room left on her mantel?
Unless: Four-time winner Fey receives a proper send-off.
MALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
And the winner is: Michael Douglas is the surest thing on this year's SAG slate.
Unless: Pacino has won this award both times he has been nominated, though he faces very long odds against Douglas' lauded Liberace this year.
FEMALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
And the winner is: SAG voters love Mirren, nominating her for nine individual awards and giving her three trophies. "Phil Spector" isn't her best work, but that might not matter.
Unless: Moss and Hunter don't split the "Lake" contingent and one of them wins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun