Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Oscars Alert: SAG Awards Make History and Point the Way to Academy Awards Winners in 4 Acting Categories


I think we have the four acting winners for the Academy Awards on April 25th. After the SAG Awards last night, it’s pretty clear we know the names on the envelopes. The SAG Awards are incredibly accurate predictors of the Oscars as all Academy voters who are also actors are in the Screen Actors Guild.

The winners are history making, too. Three Black actors, and one South Korean. For the first time, no white actors have won the SAG acting awards for movies. This is an extraordinary moment. Additionally, the two lead actors– Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, are from a movie that wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Then there’s Daniel Kaluuya, who’s had an amazing year playing Black Panther Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Like all the SAG winners, he was told on Thursday that he’d won. Two days later he hosted “Saturday Night Live.” He must have been bursting to tell everyone, but had to keep it a secret.

Yuh-Jung Youn, who played the grandmother in “Minari,” doesn’t speak English well. She’s a star in South Korea. She’s 73, and sort of their Judi Dench. She was nearly in tears when she won last night. And I loved the expression on Glenn Close’s face. She was beaming with happiness for Youn. Everyone on their Zoom looked delighted.

Boseman, of course, is being rewarded for his incredible but short career posthumously. Davis has an Oscar, for “Fences,” but that’s in supporting. This will be her first win as a lead actress. She deserves that statue for her stunning transformation into Ma Rainey. While Frances McDormand is excellent in “Nomadland”– which I think will still win Best Picture– but she has two Oscars and has more or less abdicated. She knows it’s Davis’s moment.

Last night’s wins are particularly poignant while the trial of George Floyd’s accused murderer, Derek Chauvin proceeds, and while we’re in the middle of this insane time of violence against Asian Americans. What better symbols of justice could there be? Seeing those four with their gold statues on April 25th will be an absolute pleasure.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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