The Screen Actors Guild Awards were handed out on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Renée Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern and Brad Pitt won the individual movie acting honours, repeating their victories at the Golden Globes. It would take a stunning upset - much bigger, say, than Olivia Colman winning the lead actress honour last year over Glenn Close - for any member of this quartet not to win an Oscar this year.
Certainly, there's precedent. The Oscars have rubber-stamped the individual SAG Awards winners seven times over the last 25 years, most recently in 2018, when Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Allison Janney (I, Tonya) ran the table.
The winner: Renée Zellweger, Judy
The past: SAG and the academy have matched 18 of 25 years. When Colman (The Favourite) prevailed over SAG winner Close (The Wife) at the Oscars last year, it ended a six-year streak.
Will history repeat itself? Zellweger has been the front-runner for her empathetic portrayal of Judy Garland since Judy premiered in late August. Not everyone loves the movie, but Zellweger's personal comeback story have zinged enough heartstrings to give her every major award this season. Oscar voters will get happy for her too.
The winner: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
The past: This category has been the most reliable indicator of Oscar victory, with SAG and the academy matching 20 of 25 times. There are occasional exceptions: Denzel Washington prevailed here two years ago, only to see Casey Affleck take the Oscar.
Will history repeat itself? With so many remarkable lead actor turns this year, it's crazy how the same person has won every single prize leading up to the Oscars. But in a way, Phoenix has been undeniable since Joker earned that eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. And Sunday night, he gave a note-perfect acceptance speech, voicing appreciation for the moment, for his fellow nominees and for the late, great Heath Ledger.
The winner: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
The past: The SAG award winner has gone on to take the Oscar 17 of 24 times. Last year had the strange twist where the SAG winner, Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place, didn't earn an Oscar nomination, while Oscar winner Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) was snubbed by SAG. (Kate Winslet won this category in 2009 for The Reader but was nominated for - and won - the Oscar for lead actress.)
Will history repeat itself? Absolutely. Dern's career has been a treasure, so it's not like we need another reason to love her. But the shot of her embracing her dad, the legendary Bruce Dern, melted my heart. "I literally, literally would not be here if it were not for actors, so thank you Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd," Dern said, saluting her parents. Funny, heartfelt, a powerhouse turn in Marriage Story, a lovely Marmee in Little Women? One Oscar isn't enough.
The winner: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood
The past: The SAG winner has gone on to win the Oscar 16 times in 25 years, including Mahershala Ali for Green Book last year.
Will history repeat itself? After that acceptance speech? Who doesn't want to hear Pitt deliver another set at the Oscars? A highlight: he poked fun at himself - "Let's be honest, it was a difficult part: the guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn't get along with his wife. It was a big stretch." The cutaway shot to ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, beaming, was the cherry on top.
- Tribune News Service