The Oscars are the most prestigious and sought-after awards for anyone working in Hollywood, though more notably for actors. These golden statues are literally what dreams are made of. Winning an Oscar, or even just being nominated, propels the actor to elite heights of being one of the best and more respected actors working in the industry. With just one nomination, a person's career can be entirely turned around or propelled to incredible new heights. Just ask John Travolta, Brie Larson, Michael Keaton or Matthew McConaughey.
With the upcoming Academy Awards on February 26th, there is increasing speculation on which actors and actresses are going to live out the most rewarding night of their lives. But is it possible to predict who will win before the ceremony?
Historically, the Screen Actors Guild has been the a very good predictor of which actors are going to win at the Oscars, particularly for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The Screen Actors Guild Awards may not be as lavish as the Academy Awards, but "The Actor" (the name of the SAG Award) is still an award to take immense pride in. However, it can also be a strong indication as to who will take home an #AcademyAward.
So, lets compare the SAG Award winners to the Academy Award winners from 1995–2016 to make an educated prediction on who will win the acting #Oscars this year. Let's see if we can figure this out.
Best Actor Race: 81.81 Percent Similarity
Let's start with Best Actor. Since the inaugural SAG Awards ceremony occurred in 1995, the winner of the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role award has correctly predicted the Academy Award for Best Actor a total of 18 times. That's 18 out of 22, which turns out to be 81.81 percent. For the first six years and the last 12 years of the SAG Awards, 1995–2000 and 2005–2016, the SAG Award and the Academy Award for Best Actor have been the same. However, there was a four-year period between 2001–2004 where the award winners were different.
- 2000 SAG/Oscar Winner — Benicio del Toro/ Russell Crowe
- 2001 SAG/Oscar Winner — Russell Crowe/Denzel Washington
- 2002 SAG/Oscar Winner — Daniel Day-Lewis/Adrien Brody
- 2003 SAG/Oscar Winner — Johnny Depp/Sean Penn
For whatever reason, the Academy differed from the SAG, but only for a brief four years. Since then, they have been in a pretty good relationship, going on 12 years strong.
I don't like to be a home-wrecker, but I believe this year's Academy Award Best Actor winner will be different from the SAG Best Actor winner. I believe Casey Affleck will be awarded the Oscar for a few different reasons.
Firstly, Affleck has gained a considerable amount of buzz and critical acclaim for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. Not only that, but he also won the Golden Globe and 16 other Best Actor awards across the country, compared to Denzel who's won two film critic awards. Finally, it's important that Denzel has already won two Academy Awards for Best Actor (Training Day, Glory), and had been nominated for three SAG Best Actor awards without winning (The Hurricane, Training Day and Flight).
Since Denzel had never won an "Actor" before. I believe his win was not in spite of Affleck, but more due to the fact that Denzel was 0-for-3 when it came to SAG Awards wins coming into this year. It's possible that SAG realized that and wanted to finally reward him with a statue of his own.
Previously, Denzel had lost to Kevin Spacey (American Beauty), Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln). With the SAG rewarding him for previous losses, I believe this year is an outlier in the prediction scheme, and will not be an accurate predictor of this year's Best Actor Oscar. With Mr. Washington already having two Academy Awards wins to his name, Casey Affleck will be taking home the prize. Gotta spread the love, people!
Best Actress Race: 72.72 Percent Similarity
When it comes to the winner for Best Actress, there seems to be a bit of a race here. In a surprising upset, Isabelle Huppert won the Golden Globe for her performance in Elle, beating out Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Emma Stone (La La Land). Portman has been the front-runner since October, when buzz began to circulate for her performance of Jackie Kennedy. However, this has seemed to fall by the wayside of late, especially since Emma Stone walked home with the SAG award.
The SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role has successfully predicted the Academy Award for Best Actress a total of 16 times, which is a 72.72 percent prediction rate. The last difference between winners was in 2011 when Meryl Streep won the Oscar for Doubt, and Viola Davis won the "Actor" for The Help.
This year we can expect a toss-up between Emma Stone, Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert. The success of La La Land and winning the SAG award has propelled Emma Stone's chances for winning ten-fold, so I'm sticking with Stone here.
Best Supporting Actor Race: 59.09 Percent Similarity
The worst predictor of the four is the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner, which has only been the same a total of 13 times, a 59.09 percent prediction rate. This is still pretty good, but definitely isn't as strong an indicator as the other categories.
The last difference in winners was last year when Idris Elba won the "Actor" for his performance in Beasts of No Nation, while Mark Rylance won the Oscar for Bridge of Spies. In fact, Elba wasn't even nominated for the Oscar, leaving many people upset and frustrated, especially considering the lack of racial diversity in last year's chosen nominees.
This year there is no controversy, and I don't see any upsets either. Mahershala Ali has been reeling in almost all of the Supporting Actor awards in the awards circuit this year, most notably the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the Best Supporting Actor award at this year's Golden Globes, but was not nominated for the SAG or the Academy Award in the same category.
Mahershala Ali's competition comes from Michael Shannon and Jeff Bridges. This will be Bridges' seventh Oscar nomination, winning only once for his performance in Crazy Heart (2009). This will be Michael Shannon's second Oscar nomination, being previously nominated for his performance in Revolutionary Road (2008). Lucas Hedges and Dev Patel both had widely celebrated performances in their respective films (Manchester by the Sea and Lion), but have about the same chance as I do of winning in this category. At least they get to be there.
Even though this will only be his first nomination, It's still highly likely that Mahershala Ali will be taking home the Oscar.
Best Supporting Actress Race: 68.18 Percent Similarity
The SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role has successfully predicted the Academy Award Best Supporting Actress winner a total of 15 times, which is a 68.18 percent prediction rate, and I do not see that percentage going down this year.
To give a little perspective, this category has been mired with mild controversy. I think we can all agree that Viola Davis's performance is worthy of a Best Actress consideration, but she has instead been nominated for a supporting role. It seems that someone is looking out for Viola, as whoever submitted that her performance be nominated for Best Supporting Actress instead of Best Actress didn't want her to go through what she did in 2011. In that year, Viola went up against The Iron Lady herself in Meryl Streep, beating out Davis (The Help) for Best Actress.
Even with other outstanding performances in this category — especially from Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris — is seems that this award is as wrapped up as it gets. This will be Michelle's fourth Oscar Nomination, Naomie's first, and Viola's third. Octavia Spencer (The Help) and Nicole Kidman (The Hours) already have their Golden Statues, so they can sit back, relax and enjoy the honor of being nominated.
Pour some out for Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris.
I feel you ladies, I feel you.
As a grand total, the SAG Awards have been a successful predictor of the Academy Awards across each of the four categories in all 22 years a total of 62 times out of a possible 88. That prediction percentage is a solid 70.45 percent. So, it's fair to say that those listed below are likely to be going home with Academy Awards later this month.
- Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
- Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
- Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
- Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
However, I want to hear your predictions too. Who do you think is going to win the four major acting categories at the 89th Oscars?
Don't forget to tune in to ABC on Sunday, February 26th to watch the Oscars.