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Is the SAG ensemble award really an Oscar prophet?

January 23, 2010 |  8:57 am

The ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards has a widespread reputation for foretelling what film will win best picture at the Oscars. The logic goes like this: Since actors comprise the largest branch within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (1,300 out of 5,800 members), the thespians within the guild are a good gauge of how all actors think. And since actors weigh films according to collective dramatic impact, the SAG ensemble award is a rough equivalent to the Oscars' best picture prize.

SAG Awards predict Oscars news

If that's the case, forget "Avatar" or "Up in the Air" winning the top Oscar on March 7. Neither is nominated for the SAG ensemble prize. The five contenders: "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Nine" and "Precious."

But how accurate has the ensemble award really been in the past? Well, by comparison to how well the other SAG awards predict, for example, the Oscar champs for best actor and actress (more than 66%), the ensemble award has one of the worst prediction rates: Only seven of the 14 winners of best ensemble won the top Oscar. However, what's interesting is that two of those winners were the biggest upsets in recent Oscar history: "Shakespeare in Love" and "Crash." Here are the past victors:

* = Oscar best-picture winner

2008 – "Slumdog Millionaire" *
2007 – "No Country for Old Men" *
2006 – "Little Miss Sunshine"
2005 – "Crash" *
2004 – "Sideways"
2003 – "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" *
2002 – "Chicago" *
2001 – "Gosford Park"
2000 – "Traffic"

1999 – "American Beauty" *
1998 – "Shakespeare in Love" *
1997 – "The Full Monty"
1996 – "The Birdcage"
1995 – "Apollo 13"

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Photos: "Shakespeare in Love" (Miramax), "Crash" (Lionsgate)

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Comments

I just don't get this logic - they aren't voting for Best Picture at the SAGs! They're voting for the best collective group of performances in a single cast. It's why movies like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SIDEWAYS, and GOSFORD PARK win - exemplary films with cohesive and top-notch performances. It's likely those movies would have won a "Best Cast" Oscar and still lost to the eventual best picture winner.

While there has been many matches between Best Ensemble and Best Picture, you really have to focus on the cast. Each of these winners either had the largest cast or the smaller casts intertwine and complement each other performance.

Well it looks like I'm not watching the oscars this year. Sandra Bullock just beat Meryl Streep at the SAG awards for BEST ACTRESS for her role in Blind Side. It looks like they are going screw Meryl out of another oscar. Bullock is very likeable and she did have a big year at the box office. However, she's continually plays herself over and over and over again, but I guess the actual performance is going to be ignored. (She shouldn't even have been nominated for God's sake.) Streep is once again relegated to second place by actress whose time it is to win. It's freaking ridiculous. A JOKE!

As I said before, there's two big problems with the SAGs--only 5 noms and no blue people. (And I might add, no jet-setting axmen either.)


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