Tariq Khan (Fox News) is one of the shrewdest award scholars I know. After he generously contributed his SAG Awards predictions to this roundup we pooled from many top experts, he agreed to write up detailed explanations for the rop races. Words below are Tariq's:
FILM ACTOR: I think Jeff Bridges has it, though an upset by George Clooney is certainly possible because "Up in the Air" has been far more widely seen than "Crazy Heart." Still, Bridges is a very respected actor and even those who haven't seen the film will want to reward him.
FILM ACTRESS: I went back and forth on this for hours before finally settling on Meryl Streep. The reason? She's acting royalty and Sandy Bullock isn't. And even though "Julie and Julia" may seem lightweight, comedy has a better success rate with the SAG voters (remember Johnny Depp's upset win for "Pirates of the Caribbean" six years ago? ) than other groups. However – even if Bullock loses that doesn't mean that she can't win the Oscar.
FILM ENSEMBLE: "Inglourious Basterds" has it all – a large cast, a wartime setting, several memorable characters and a blend of comedy and drama that has proven victorious in this race in the past ("The Birdcage," "The Full Monty," and "Gosford Park.") It has much more widespread appeal than "Precious" and "The Hurt Locker," and I guarantee you that it has been more widely seen by SAG members than the other four films combined.
TV DRAMA ACTOR: I don't think "Dexter" is seen by enough people for Michael C. Hall to win. Hugh Laurie benefits from the huge ratings from "House," not to mention the cool British thespian factor.
TV DRAMA ACTRESS: The race is between Glenn Close and Julianne Margulies. I give it to the latter because "The Good Wife" is watched by many more people, and Margulies has strong support from TV actors from her days on the smash "ER." (She previously won this award for her work on that show.)
TV COMEDY ACTRESS: Tina Fey is still hot enough that she can win again – the audiences for "Tara" and "Jackie" probably aren't big enough for upsets by Toni Collette or Edie Falco.
TV COMEDY ENSEMBLE: "30 Rock" is still hip enough that it will likely prevail, despite its sagging ratings. "Glee" and "Modern Family" both have a shot at winning because they are more widely seen, though the casts may not seem as prestigious.
Photo: "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)