In the 14-year history of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, 25 stars have taken home an Oscar after winning both the Actor (that's the actual name of SAG's statuette) and the Golden Globe while only five have failed to do so. With wins tonight, a trio of performers — Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler"), Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight" ) and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") — could solidify their leads at the Oscars.
Comeback kid Mickey Rourke, who took the lead actor (drama) Golden Globe for his performance in "The Wrestler," is favored to win tonight by only seven of our pundits. Another 10 have their money on Sean Penn to take home his first SAG Actor for "Milk."
However, the late Heath Ledger, who has won almost all the precursor awards, including the Golden Globe, for his supporting performance in "The Dark Knight," is expected to repeat again tonight by all 18 of our experts. Colin Farrell — surprise Globe winner for lead actor (musical/comedy) for his "In Bruges" performance — is not in competition at either of these award fests.
Likewise on the female front, Golden Globe-winner Sally Hawkins (for actress in musical/comedy) is not in the running anymore for her role in "Happy-Go-Lucky." And the bump up of Kate Winslet into lead actress at the Oscars for her performance in "The Reader" complicates our SAG calculations.
This role won Winslet the supporting actress award at the Golden Globes and she contends in that same category tonight; she is favored to win by 10 of our experts. However, only six of us expect her to repeat her Golden Globe triumph as lead actress (drama) with a win tonight for "Revolutionary Road." Nine of us predict Meryl Streep will win her first movie SAG award for "Doubt." (Streep has lost five individual bids and been part of three losing ensembles.) Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and Melissa Leo ( "Frozen River") each picked up a pair of endorsements.
Last year, Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men") threepeated while Julie Christie ("Away From Her") did not. Though still sexy at sixtysomething, Julie Christie could not match the babe factor of Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose"), who had won the Golden Globe for best actress musical/comedy. And Christie did not tirelessly campaign, as did Cotillard.
The other four players in that losing fivesome also had factors that went against them at the Academy Awards. Two years ago, Eddie Murphy was riding high with wins for his tour de force performance in "Dreamgirls," but the February release of "Norbit" reminded Oscar voters of his true talent, and they gave the supporting actor trophy to veteran Alan Arkin ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Perhaps Murphy took solace in his record three acting Razzie Awards for "Norbit."
In 2002, Renée Zellweger won the comedy/musical Globe and Actor for "Chicago" but lost the Oscar by a nose to Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), who had won the drama Globe. She fell victim to the longstanding preference of Oscar voters for dramatic performances over those in comedies and musicals but had her revenge the following year when she won all three awards for playing a hillbilly in "Cold Mountain" while that film's star, Kidman, only got a Globe nom.
Back in 2001, Russell Crowe was poised to win a second consecutive best actor Oscar until he let his fingers do the talking with a TV producer who dared to cut him off while accepting his BAFTA for "A Beautiful Mind." Instead, Denzel Washington won his second Oscar, for "Training Day."
And in 1996, even Lauren Bacall ("The Mirror Has Two Faces") could not turn back the tide of support for "The English Patient," which won nine Oscars including one for supporting actress Juliette Binoche.
The 25 actors who have run the board in the awards derby are:
1994: Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump"), Martin Landau ("Ed Wood"), Dianne Weist ("Bullets Over Broadway")
1995: Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas")
1996: Geoffrey Rush ("Shine")
1997: Jack Nicholson ("As Good as It Gets"), Helen Hunt ("As Good as It Gets"), Kim Basinger ("L.A. Confidential")
1998: Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love")
1999: Angelina Jolie ("Girl, Interrupted")
2000: Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich"); Benicio del Toro ("Traffic") won supporting at the Globes, then lead actor at SAG, then the Oscar for supporting.
2003: Charlize Theron ("Monster"), Tim Robbins ("Mystic River"), Renée Zellweger ("Cold Mountain")
2004: Jamie Foxx ("Ray"), Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby")
2005: Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote"), Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line"), Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener")
2006: Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland"), Helen Mirren ("The Queen"), Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls")
2007: Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"), Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men")
Los Angeles Times Photos by Robert Gauthier