From Joaquin Phoenix to Brad Pitt, EW's awards experts debate who will win at the 2020 SAG Awards.

By Joey Nolfi and David Canfield
January 16, 2020 at 04:06 PM EST
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The Oscar nominations are out, and it’s time for Screen Actors Guild Awards voters to turn in their ballots as the current awards season approaches its final stretch. Often regarded as a reliable foreteller of Oscar tastes, this year, the SAG Awards stand to shake up the hunt for Academy Awards with potential wins for major performers (Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o) who failed to make the Academy’s cut. Ahead of Sunday’s ceremony (airing at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS), read on for EW’s full SAG Awards predictions (in the movie categories only).

Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Barbara Nitke/STX Films; David Hindley/LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions; Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.; Andrew Cooper/Columbia

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture

The nominees:

Bombshell
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – PROJECTED WINNER
Parasite

DAVID CANFIELD: I love this category! In an awards season that feels sort of depressingly predictable at this point, especially when it comes to the acting categories — more to come on that in a moment — here’s a field of five where it sort of feels like anything can happen. SAG likes to get surprise by honoring broadly popular movies: Remember, Black Panther won just last year. The choice along those lines feels obvious: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a star-studded nostalgic affair with a huge box-office haul to back it up. But love for Jojo Rabbit among this group runs deep, even as it’s divisive; this is also the group, remember, that honored Three Billboards. And Parasite is a wild-card: Just the fact of its nomination, given the relative unknowns in its cast, speaks to its chances. It still feels a little out-there for a group that hews mainstream, though, so for now I’ll go with the heavyweight. Hard to bet against a DiCaprio-Pitt pairing.

JOEY NOLFI: Agreed! You can always count on SAG to vote with their hearts in this category (going to shout out that Hidden Figures victory a few years ago, too!). Though it’s the least popular (by measurable standards) movie among them, I think Bombshell — which is largely driven by its cast and received three nods for its leading ladies — could end up a potential spoiler here, but, like you said, the strength of a DiCaprio-Pitt pairing atop an ensemble cast of beloved, popular supporting players like Margot Robbie, Bruce Dern, Margaret Qualley, Pacino, and more (especially in a movie by Tarantino, the director every actor wants to work with) is too broadly popular for SAG to ignore. A movie about actors played by some of the last true “movie stars” directed by one of the foremost directors in the world? It’s an actor’s dream.

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

The nominees:

Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Taron Egerton, Rocketman
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – PROJECTED WINNER

Joker‘s juggernaut status can’t be denied. After bagging a leading 11 Oscar nominations — the most for any film this year, including surprise showings in a handful of technical categories — the film has transcended the half-baked controversies that tried to derail it early across its early awards bid to become a true industry darling. Phoenix’s towering performance in Todd Phillips‘ antihero thriller has largely driven the conversation, making fans out of everyone from Jessica Chastain (“It left me shook,” she tweeted in October) to Cate Blanchett (who introduced the film at the Jan. 5 Golden Globes ceremony). While the other nominees have all earned their share of precursor nominations and critical praise, nothing compares to the amount of industry support Phoenix’s work as the iconic DC Comics villain has courted, and, given that the film is the biggest commercial success of the nominees, is likely the most widely seen among SAG’s 160,000-strong voting base. — JN

David Hindley/LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

The nominees:

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy – PROJECTED WINNER

Can ScarJo ride her double-nominee wave of SAG support to an upset? What of outrage over Nyong’o’s Oscars snub — could that translate to victory here? Sadly, for those who like a little drama in their awards races, both scenarios are exceedingly unlikely. Presumptive Academy Awards frontrunner Zellweger will all but certainly continue cruising with a SAG victory, especially fellow Oscar nominees Theron and Erivo don’t have the heat needed to find a way to the top of this list. — DC

Andrew Cooper/Columbia

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

The nominees:

Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – PROJECTED WINNER

On the one hand, this category is stacked with actors sure to be idolized by their peers: folks like Pacino, Pesci, Hanks, and even Foxx — the only one of the bunch who didn’t make it to Oscar — who’ve won Academy Awards in the past and have a bevy of classic roles under their belt. It’s not hard, particularly, to see SAG putting their weight behind a guy like Hanks, so beloved here and fresh off his amazing Golden Globes speech. But this has never really been anyone but Pitt’s year, and with OUATIH a frontrunner in the top category, too, he should find enough votes here easily. — DC

STXfilms

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

The nominees:

Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Nicole Kidman, Bombshell
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers – PROJECTED WINNER
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

After Lopez endured one of the most shocking snubs of the season in failing to land an Oscar nomination for her critically lauded (and consistently nominated) performance in Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, we’re risking it all and going no guts, no glory in predicting her for the win at Sunday’s SAG Awards. A victory for Lopez wouldn’t mark the first time an Oscar snub led to a high profile guild win, as the entertainer’s ex, Argo helmer Ben Affleck, infamously won the Directors Guild of America prize after being snubbed by the Academy in 2013, and the same “robbed” narrative that propelled Affleck to a DGA win could fuel Lopez’s bid with SAG. The actors’ voting window is one of awards season’s longest, spanning a monthlong stretch between Dec. 17 and Jan. 17, and many of SAG’s 160,000-plus voting base likely waited to see which performances the Academy nominated before casting their ballots. Many SAG voters could view this year’s presentation as an opportunity to stick it to the Academy’s heavily criticized nominations and elevate one of the (many) women of color who made strong showings on the precursor circuit only to miss an Oscar nod in the final stretch of the race. — JN

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