The Oscar nominees have yet to be announced, but the race to determine who will win big at the ceremony has already begun.
This week, the nominations for the Golden Globes and the SAG awards were made public. As usual, there were some notable snubs, some surprises, and a bunch of obvious choices.
The Golden Globes are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and have a track record for rewarding deserving underdogs (more so with television but occasionally with film, too). The SAG Awards are voted on by the actors in SAG-AFTRA, so—at least in the acting categories—are chosen from the perspective of peers. The Oscars, meanwhile, are doled out by the Academy, which consists of actors, cinematographers, directors, producers, writers, and others in the film community.
It makes sense, then, that looking at the nominees (and ultimately the winners) of the SAG and Golden Globe Awards can be helpful in making predictions about the Big One—the Academy Awards. So what do we know so far?
Best Supporting Actress
The Golden Globe nominees for this category include Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell, Annette Bening for The Report, Laura Dern for Marriage Story, Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, and Margot Robbie for Bombshell.
The SAG nominees are Dern, Lopez, Nicole Kidman for Bombshell, and Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit.
If we start by eliminating those who don't overlap, we're left with Dern and Lopez. The former has been nominated two times but never won an Oscar and the latter has never received a nomination. It's likely that Lopez could receive an Oscar nomination for her performance as a scheming exotic dancer in Hustlers, but who doesn't love them some Dern? Sure, she plays a supporting role in Marriage Story, but her performance as a high powered divorce lawyer was a true standout.
Best Supporting Actor
The SAG nominations include Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy, Tom Hanks for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Al Pacino for The Irishman, Joe Pesci for The Irishman, and Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.
The Golden Globe nominations: Hanks, Pacino, Pesci, Pitt, and Anthony Hopkins for The Two Popes. Using the same method of elimination before, we'll have to say goodbye to Foxx and Hopkins.
Pacino is an eight-time Oscar nominee, and one-time winner for leading Scent of a Woman in 1993, but if anyone deserves to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor from The Irishman it's Pesci, a two-time nominee and one-time winner of the same award in 1991 for Goodfellas. As much as The Irishman is the story of the relationship between Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) and Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), it is also the story of the power Russell Bufalino (Pesci) wielded over Frank, until his dying days. It is Pesci—playing somewhat against type, to be clear—who steals the show.
Pitt's performance as a 1960s stunt double to Leonardo DiCaprio's washed up Rick Dalton, who ultimately gets caught up in some Manson Family shenanigans, has been praised for being so meditative, in addition to comedic, that he has a good chance of taking home his first acting Oscar (even though he technically has an Oscar for producing and appearing in 12 Years a Slave, it's an award for Best Picture, not an acting award).
Hanks was perfectly cast as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and he is basically America's dad at this point. He does have two Oscars (both for Best Actor, in 1994 and 1995 for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump) already, but he has to contend with both Pesci and Pitt who starred in two of the most talked about films in Hollywood this year, and who gave performances that potentially more Americans have seen.
The Golden Globes famously splits up the leading acting categories into two: "Drama" and "Musical or Comedy." The nominees this year are Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, Charlize Theron for Bombshell, and Renée Zellweger for Judy in the Drama subcategory. In the Musical or Comedy subcategory the nominees are Ana de Armas for Knives Out, Awkwafina for The Farewell, Cate Blanchette for Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Beanie Feldstein for Booksmart, and Emma Thompson for Late Night.
The SAG nominees are Erivo, Johansson, Theron, Zellweger, and Lupita Nyong'o for Us.
Amongst all of those, only Erivo, Johansson, Theron, and Zellweger overlap. Johansson and Theron do stand a good chance of being nominated, but do they give winning performances in their respective films? Considering who their competition will be, we can't be sure they'll take home the award.
Now, both Zellweger and Erivo play historical figures (Harriet Tubman and Judy Garland), which is a choice the Academy historically loves to reward, but you know Hollywood loves a good comeback story. Let's give this one to Zellweger.
The SAG nominations for this category include Christian Bale for Ford v Ferrari, Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, Adam Driver for Marriage Story, Taron Egerton for Rocketman, and Joaquin Phoenix for Joker.
The Golden Globes nominations include Bale, Driver, Phoenix, Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes, and Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory in the Drama category, and Daniel Craig for Knives Out, Roman Griffin Davis for Jojo Rabbit, Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name, DiCaprio, and Egerton in the Musical or Comedy category.
Looking at who overlaps in at least two categories—between SAG, Golden Globe Drama, and Golden Globe Musical or Comedy—we are left with Bale, DiCaprio, Driver, Egerton, and Phoenix.
While Rocketman hit big at Cannes this year (Egerton received a teary-eyed standing ovation for his performance as Elton John), it is usually the films themselves that translate from Cannes darlings to Oscar winners, and not particularly the performances within them. Ford v Ferrari is a movie that could be classified as "for dads" but they aren't necessarily the ones leading the charge when it comes to deciding who wins the Oscars. DiCaprio gives a solid performance of a leading man in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood but it was a summer release and not the freshest in collective minds, and he only just broke that "curse" of being nominated for but never winning an Oscar in 2016. That leaves Phoenix and Driver.
The Oscar race in this category will likely come down to Phoenix and Driver, and if Driver takes home the Globe and the SAG Award, it'll be a wrap for Mr. Joker. Joker has viral memes. Marriage Story has them, too. But ultimately, Joker is about a comic book character. That is not to say that a performance of the exact same character has never been critically revered in the past—let's not forget that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his iteration of the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises—but it may be difficult for the Academy to see past that this year when Driver's performance in Marriage Story is so robust, and the character is a stand-in for the emotionally turbulent male creative, of which there are plenty who will be able to vote for a winner in this category.
The SAG Awards are awards for acting, not necessarily awards for films. So, we'll have to use the"Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture" category for the purpose of these predictions. Those nominees include Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, and Parasite.
The Golden Globe nominees are a little tricky, as they split up into subcategories consisting of Drama, Musical or Comedy, Animated, and Foreign Language. According to the HFPA, The Irishman, Marriage Story, 1917, Joker, and The Two Popes fall under Drama, Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, and Rocketman fall under Musical or Comedy, Frozen 2, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Lion King, Missing Link, and Toy Story 4 are Animated, and The Farewell, Les Misérables, Pain and Glory, Parasite, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire each fall under the Foreign category.
JoJo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood, The Irishman, and Parasite overlap between the SAG awards and Golden Globes. But don't dismiss Bombshell, Marriage Story, The Farewell, and Rocketman from sneaking into the Oscars. Still, it seems pretty clear that—according to the overlap between SAG and Golden Globes, the general popular response to these films, and the auteur filmmakers at the helm—the Oscar for Best Picture could go to Parasite, The Irishman, or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.