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
The nominees: "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle," "August: Osage County," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
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
The nominees: Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"; Tom Hanks, "Saving Mr. Banks"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Forest Whitaker, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
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
The nominees: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"; Judi Dench, "Philomena"; Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"; Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"
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
The nominees: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"; Daniel Brühl, "Rush"; Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"; James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"; Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
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
The nominees: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"; Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"; Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"; June Squibb, "Nebraska"; Oprah Winfrey, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
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
The nominees: "Boardwalk Empire," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland"
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
The nominees: "30 Rock," "Arrested Development," "The Big Bang Theory," "Modern Family," "Veep"
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
The nominees: Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"; Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"; Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"; Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"; Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"
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
The nominees: Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"; Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven"; Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"
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
The nominees: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"; Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development"; Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
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
The nominees: Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"; Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Tina Fey, "30 Rock"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
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
The nominees: Matt Damon, "Behind the Candelabra"; Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra"; Jeremy Irons, "The Hollow Crown"; Rob Lowe, "Killing Kennedy"; Al Pacino, "Phil Spector"
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
The nominees: Angela Bassett, "Betty & Coretta"; Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor"; Holly Hunter, "Top of the Lake"; Helen Mirren, "Phil Spector"; Elisabeth Moss, "Top of the Lake"
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 © 2014, The Baltimore Sun