Thursday, December 6, 2007

Preliminary SAG Predictions: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

The following represents some preliminary thoughts on Screen Actors’ Guild Awards contenders for the given category. Predictions will be revisited following the announcement of the Golden Globe Awards nominations, which often solidifies the contenders. SAG categories often match up 60-100% with corresponding Oscar categories, though SAG tends to recognize some more independent fare every once in a while. This category often favors well-liked actresses who had roles in movies that should have been successes but pretty much tanked, such as Cloris Leachman for “Spanglish”. This category also likes younger actresses.

Last year’s winner:
JENNIFER HUDSON, DREAMGIRLS

The top contenders:
SAIORSE RONAN, ATONEMENT
The buzz is still strong for Ronan in this well-reviewed film. If she earns a Golden Globe nomination, she should have no trouble popping up on this list, but otherwise, she may have to wait for Oscar time. SAG rarely nominates previously unknown stars without a precursor nod from the Globes.

MARISA TOMEI, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
As I think about it more and more, I really do wish her role had been far more substantial since she did a great job in her limited scenes. “My Cousin Vinny” was before SAG’s time and Tomei did miss out on a nod for 2001’s “In the Bedroom”, but it is her bizarre nomination without mentions from any other groups for “Unhook the Stars” in 1996 that makes me think she might have a fighting chance.

JULIA ROBERTS, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR
Roberts has only one career nomination (and win) in the history of the SAG Awards, for 2000’s “Erin Brockovich”. She has not had any major leading roles which resulted in nominations elsewhere, with the exception of a few 90s romantic comedies the Golden Globes liked. Recent dramatic efforts “Mona Lisa Smile” and “Closer” resulted in zero nominations for Roberts, so this film could be the comeback that brings her back into the awards circuit. Do keep in mind the SAG reception of “Closer”.

AMY RYAN, GONE BABY GONE
While SAG does not always introduce unknowns, it often is the first place an actress who got the best reviews from her film pops up, such as Amy Adams for “Junebug” or Keisha Castle-Hughes for “Whale Rider”. Unless “Gone Baby Gone” gets a major awards push, Ryan could be the only element of the film to make it through awards season. People will have to remember the film, whose October release date is a bit on the early side.

MICHELLE PFEIFFER, HAIRSPRAY
I am feeling right now that SAG will wholeheartedly embrace “Hairspray” if only because there is little else to nominate and everyone I know generally enjoyed the buoyant musical. Pfeiffer has a fun villain role that is not too far-fetched and she plays it well enough. Pfeiffer was last here in 2002 for “White Oleander”.

CATE BLANCHETT, I’M NOT THERE
Blanchett should be one of the most popular actresses this year with this role and her role reprisal in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”. This performance is easily the most talked-about female supporting performance and Blanchett is really good in the film. She has three previous nominations, including one for 2001’s “Bandits” of all movies, so I feel like she is pretty safe.

JENNIFER GARNER, JUNO
I am not convinced that Garner will do exceptionally well with any awards voters, but her character is fairly sympathetic and she is a SAG winner (for “Alias”). This part is a completely different one from her former ABC TV show and I think voters might be impressed with her dramatic acting minus all the action and fighting of “Alias”.

JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, MARGOT AT THE WEDDING
I think there is very little chance Leigh will pop up anywhere along the awards timeline, but previous nominees like Marisa Tomei and Cloris Leachman for roles that did not end up being awards contenders at all make me suspect that Leigh could surprise here. Do not expect a win by any means, but there is at least a slight chance she could make an appearance.

TILDA SWINTON, MICHAEL CLAYTON
Provided that people still remember and like the film by SAG nominations time, Swinton could easily manage a nomination. This could very well be the fall-off point for “Michael Clayton” if the film does meagerly well at the Globes and then gets shut-out by all the guilds. Swinton has the best chance out of the whole cast because she has the most to do in the film.

KELLY MACDONALD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Sure, it is a small role, but Macdonald gives it her very best and she is an actress who has yet to have a major role, at least film-wise. The HBO TV movie “The Girl in the CafĂ©” earned her an Emmy award, but no mention from SAG. I think the film should do well with nominations in the Supporting Actor category for both Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, but those may well be the only spots where the film appears.

Current predictions:
SAIORSE RONAN, ATONEMENT
MARISA TOMEI, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
AMY RYAN, GONE BABY GONE
MICHELLE PFEIFFER, HAIRSPRAY
CATE BLANCHETT, I’M NOT THERE

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