The race for the Oscars has stepped up a gear after this weekend’s Screen Actors Guild Awards and Producers Guild Awards in the US. Although these two ceremonies don't have the same level of glitz and glamour as the recent Golden Globes, they are often the best and strongest predictors of who will take home those little gold statues at the Oscars.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organisation of more than 6,000 members who determine the Oscars, is largely comprised of actors. Because actors are the sole participants in the voting for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, these SAG members quite possibly have the largest influence in deciding Academy Awards.
On the other hand, a group of 90 international journalists make up The Hollywood Foreign Press Association that decides the Golden Globes. Which means none of the people who vote on the Golden Globes will be voting for the Oscars.
It's also worth remembering that the winner of the best picture award at the Producers Guild Awards has gone on to win best picture at the Oscars for the past six years. This year’s awards, which took place on Sunday, ended in the first-ever tie for best picture between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, while the day before American Hustle took home best ensemble cast, the SAG Award’s equivalent of Best Picture.
So it looks like these three films – 12 Years and Slave, Gravity and American Hustle – could be in the closest battle for the Best Picture Oscar in recent years.
As for the individual SAG Awards, Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) picked up the lead actor prizes, while Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) each took home a statue for their supporting roles.
And while the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy don’t always agree, with the Oscars only a month away, these stars might want to start practicing their acceptance speeches.