Credit: SAG Awards: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Crash‘s victory over Brokeback Mountain in the Screen Actors Guild Awards‘ Ensemble Cast category (pictured), the equivalent of Best Picture, is a needed reminder that this is not a one-picture race. Brokeback went 0 for 4 at the SAGs. Meanwhile, Crash has been building critical momentum for some time, and it’s probably no surprise that working actors would reward a movie that, as one of last night’s recipients noted, has 74 speaking parts. The actors make up the most populous branch of the Academy, so Crash clearly has a chance for Best Picture, and maybe Best Original Screenplay, at the Oscars. Paradoxically, Crash‘s strong ensemble seems to doom its chances for individual acting awards; last night’s trophies went to Golden Globe winners Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), and Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), with Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) finally being shown some love in the Supporting category in place of Syriana‘s George Clooney. Still, Brokeback remains a lock for Best Director, given Ang Lee’s victory at the Directors Guild Awards on Saturday. So don’t count either movie out yet in the race for the biggest Oscar prizes.

A reminder of what’s at stake here comes from CNN Money, which estimates the financial impact of the Oscar nominations between tomorrow’s announcements and the awards ceremony on March 5. A Best Picture nomination could be worth $11 million at the box office over the next month, plus another $1 million for acting nominations. That would be good news for any of the nominated pictures still in theaters, since none of the likely nominees has been a blockbuster so far. That’s not to mention what an Oscar win is worth, or the corresponding boost to DVD revenue later on. So it’s more than just an honor to be nominated.

addCredit(“SAG Awards: Mark J. Terrill/AP”)