The Screen Actors Guild nominations traditionally clear things up. They normally show us how the Oscar race is shaping up. Not so much this year. If anything, it made everything less clear.
The critics have announced their favorites of the year and they were all over the place. The critics groups liked Get Out, The Shape of Water, Lady Bird and The Post. The difference is that the Oscar voters are people working in the industry and they make their favorites known by their guild awards. The largest voting branch in the Oscars are actors, making the SAG awards a strong Oscar predictor.
After the Golden Globe nominations, it looked like The Shape of Water was an Oscar front runner after receiving the most nominations. And then today it was shut out of the Best Ensemble nomination at SAG. Why is the SAG Ensemble so important? The Best Picture winner hasn’t won without a SAG Ensemble nomination since Braveheart in 1995.
A critics favorite, The Post was also shut out of the ensemble nominations. Apparently, the SAG voters did not receive a screener for The Post in time for voting. With an ensemble consisting of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, this is a huge miss. If you aren’t competing in the SAG race, it makes it much harder to compete in the Oscar race.
This is why when a studio really wants to push their film for an Oscar campaign, they need to get them shown at the Fall Film festivals, start good word of mouth, gain steam and be seen by as many guild members as possible.
Late comers like The Post, Phantom Thread and All the Money in World should not be written off for the Oscars, but they need to be seen by as many people as possible.