Thursday, January 27, 2011

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

The competition: Annette Bening’s high-strung life partner (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman’s grieving mother (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence’s tough young caretaker (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman’s overworked ballerina (Black Swan), and Hilary Swank’s determined lawyer-in-training (Conviction).

For your information: While Swank has eclipsed Bening at both Oscars ceremonies where they’ve gone head to head, Bening actually won on the first outing (in 1999 for “American Beauty”) here, while Swank took it the next time (in 2004 for “Million Dollar Baby”). Each have received an additional TV nod in the past. This is Kidman’s second individual nomination, after “The Hours” in 2002. This is the first nomination for both Lawrence and Portman. Bening and Portman are also nominated this year as members of their ensemble casts. Everyone in this category but Swank earned an Oscar nomination this year.

Who should win: Lawrence, Kidman, or Bening

Who will win: Pitting Bening vs. Portman will produce interesting results. Though Portman has won most of the trophies this award season, it's worth looking at past SAG history. In past musical vs. drama competitions (not quite the same as comedy vs. drama), Renee Zellweger (Chicago) beat Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Julie Christie (Away from Her) beat Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose). Both SAG losers went on to win Oscars. I think Bening takes the win here, though it could just as easily be Portman.

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