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A Look at the 2024 Race

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At press time, the 30th Annual SAG Awards are set for Sat., Feb. 24, 2024. The cautionary language is, of course, due to the fact the recent WGA and current SAG-AFTRA strikes have already caused some awards ceremonies to move dates. But as of now, the show is set to stream live for the first time on Netflix. Here’s a glance at the only awards show where actors honor actors — and how the film and TV races are shaping up. 

Who are the voters?

The SAG Award nominations are selected by two groups, each called the SAG Nominating Committee. Every year, two groups — one is for film and the other for TV — of 2,500 actors are selected randomly from among the approximately 130,000 active SAG-AFTRA members. Those committees narrow down who the nominees will be, which are announced on Jan. 10, 2024.

On the film side, predicting who voters will nominate can be challenging because there haven’t been many precursors before the SAG Awards. On the TV side, there are Emmy nominations to draw upon and those on ongoing shows that have been nominated in previous years. Still, the SAG Awards often have more overlap with the Academy Awards. This could be because there are more than 1,300 voters in the actor’s branch of the Academy — the largest branch of voters — who likely also vote on the SAG Awards. With Emmy voters, it is unknown how much overlap there is. 

Film nominations: true stories and familiar faces

Pundits have already identified several actors to watch in the lead actor categories. For male actor in a leading role, true stories seem to be key. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Colman Domingo (“Rustin”), Adam Driver (“Ferrari”), and Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) are frequently mentioned for portraying real individuals. On the fictional side, Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”), Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”), Barry Keoghan (“Saltburn”) and Andrew Scott (“All of Us Strangers”) are some of the names
being touted.

Female actors portraying real people are also gaining traction in the leading role race, including Annette Bening (“Nyad”), Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Helen Mirren (“Golda”), Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”), Cailee Spaeny (“Priscilla”) and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (“Origin”). But they’ll face competition from no less than “Barbie” herself, Margot Robbie, along with Fantasia Barrino (“The Color Purple”), Sandra Huller (“Anatomy of a Fall”), Greta Lee (“Past Lives”), Trace Lysette (“Monica”), Natalie Portman (“May December”) and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”).

The supporting categories are shaping up to be a mix of new and familiar faces. In female actor in a supporting role, eyes are on Oscar winners Penélope Cruz (“Ferrari”), Viola Davis (“Air”), Jodie Foster (“Nyad”), Julianne Moore (“May December”) and Oscar nominees Patricia Clarkson (“Monica”), Taraji P. Henson (“The Color Purple”), Rachel McAdams (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”) and Rosamund Pike (“Saltburn”). They’ll face competition from actors such as Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”), Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”).

Quite a few new faces are vying for the male actor in a supporting role trophy. Relative newcomers Charles Melton (“May December”) and Dominic Sessa (“The Holdovers”) will go up against the likes of Oscar winner Robert De Niro (“Killer of the Flower Moon”) and previous nominees Willem Dafoe (“Poor Things”), Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”), Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”), Paul Mescal (“All of Us Strangers”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things.”) Also looking to break into the competitive category: Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”), Colman Domingo (“The Color Purple”), Glenn Howerton (“BlackBerry”) and Rhys Ifans (“Nyad”).

In good company

The SAG Awards is one of the few televised shows that recognize the ensemble — including stunt ensembles. When it comes to film ensembles, it’s challenging to predict how voters will gravitate. Often, films that receive multiple individual nominations are recognized, which bodes well for “American Fiction,” “Barbie,” “The Color Purple,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Nyad,” “Poor Things,” “May December” and “Oppenheimer.” But it can also be seen as a good opportunity to recognize a favorite film full of great performances, such as “Air,” “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Past Lives,” “Rustin” or “Saltburn.” 

TV nominations: can anyone take down ‘Succession’? 

Despite the numerous series in contention this awards season, there’s one that is surely a lock for a nomination: “Succession.” While it’s a big contender for the drama ensemble category, the actors in the HBO drama could see some major competition — and the biggest competitors may just be themselves. The last time the show was eligible, in 2022, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong all competed against each other in the category, alongside Billy Crudup for “The Morning Show” and Lee Jung-jae, who won for his part in “Squid Game.” The Netflix series didn’t have any new episodes, so it won’t be part of the hunt, but “Succession” star Matthew Macfadyen may just be in the mix — and Crudup is eligible once again with the latest season of the Apple TV+ show. 

While Succession’s” Sarah Snook lost to Squid Game” star Jung Ho-yeon the last time she was nominated for female actor in a drama, this year she could be in the top spot. There is a chance that her costar J. Smith-Cameron could slip in, but it’s a difficult category with so many top performances by women this year, including “The Morning Show” duo Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, “The Crown” duo Elizabeth Debicki and Imelda Staunton, “The Last of Us” breakout Bella Ramsey and “The Diplomat’s” Keri Russell.

Will A-listers help ensemble?

Let’s be honest: A-listers draw a lot of attention. For the SAG Awards, that could mean a lot for the ensemble TV categories. First, in the comedy ensemble category is Season 2 of “The Bear.” While it was defeated by “Abbott Elementary” last year, the second season not only showed off the main cast’s impressive abilities while expanding the storyline, it also brought in a slew of guest stars. In one episode alone, audiences met Bob Odenkirk, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Mulaney, Gillian Jacobs and Sarah Paulson. In another, Will Poulter and one more, Olivia Colman. 

The third season of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” is similar. In addition to its all-star cast of Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez — all excellent — Season 3 added Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd. No explanation needed.

The final season of HBO’s “Barry” raised the stakes, bringing in two major cameos: Fred Armisen and Guillermo del Toro. Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” also wrapped up, with appearances by Hank Azaria, Sutton Foster, Darren Criss, Danny Strong and
Sean Gunn. 

The drama category could also boast star power: “The Morning Show” is already led by A-listers Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, but Season 3 added Jon Hamm. “1923” is also led by Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, possibly the biggest names on the list. 

A final bow 

Through the years, “The Crown” has earned 10 SAG nominations and has won six times. With its final season, cut into two parts, debuting on Netflix this month and last, it gives one last chance for the royal drama to earn nods. With the season focusing on Diana’s (Elizabeth Debicki) death and the aftermath, it will likely see a good amount of love this season at awards season. Its biggest competition, however, will be five-time nominee “Succession,” also making its final bow. 

On the comedy side, it could be a battle for the last bow — “Barry,” “Ted Lasso” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will all compete for their last time. 

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