‘Trial of the Chicago 7’ forged wins at SAG Awards. And adds intrigue to Oscars


The Screen Actors Guild Awards were handed out Weekend night. Well, to be specific, they were actually awarded via Zoom last week and those pre-recorded segments were then transmitted in a brief, one-hour telecast Sunday.

Inevitably, the news of who seem to won had already distribute around town. While that didn’t leave much area for suspense, the leakages did free up everyone’s Easter Sunday — a cause for celebration even for those not fortunate enough to win. And those winners were historic: Initially, all four individual movie respects went to actors of colour.

The SAG Awards, voted on by the 129, 500 active users of SAG-AFTRA, are a reliable precursor to the Oscars. All individual SAG Awards movie winners have gone on to take the Oscar in two of the last three years, such as the 2020 quartet of Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Laura Dern and Brad Pitt. (Feels like 100 years ago, right? )

Can we see a similar sweep this year? Let’s take a closer look at how things may shake out at the School Awards on April 25.



Winner: “The Trial of the Chicago 7″

The past: The champion of this award went on to take the best picture Oscar 12 of 25 years, including this past year when “Parasite” won both prizes. Still, it’s effortlessly the SAG Awards’ least-trustworthy Oscar precursor. (The outfit prize wasn’t awarded in 1994, the SAG Awards’ first year. )


Will history repeat itself? Nah. “Chicago 7″ and “Minari” were the only real two of SAG’s ensemble nominees even in the best picture race. Oscar front-runner “Nomadland” was absent because its cast was populated mostly by nonprofessional actors, and guild voters aren’t going to reward that. The ensemble omission used to be a big deal till recent years, when “The Form of Water” and “Green Book” won the best picture Oscar without a SAG cast candidate selection. So “Nomadland” partisans have got little cause for issue.

That said, you can find people — some of them not even employed by Netflix (a number shrinking by the day in Hollywood) — who argue that Aaron Sorkin’s “Chicago 7″ stands as a plausible alternative to the “Nomadland” Oscar coronation. It is certainly a more conventional film — a perfectly fine courtroom drama full of rousing idealism, Essential Truths and excellent acting. (With this deeply bench, this movie was almost laboratory engineered to win the SAG ensemble award. ) “Chicago 7″ might not be most people’s favorite nominated movie, but it’s liked well enough to show up high on film academy members’ ranked preferential ballots .

But , honestly, I don’t know if “Chicago 7″ will probably elicit that many second- or third-place picks. And if voters happened to see “Mangrove, ” one of the five films in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology on Amazon . com Prime, they will come away with a clearer understanding of “Chicago 7’s” shortcomings in its approach to history. That the academy’s directors branch ignored Sorkin is really a sign that a good lots of people are already hip to this information.



Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

Viola Davis as Ma Rainey within “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. ”

(David Lee / Netflix)

Winner: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

The past: SAG and the academy possess matched 19 of 26 years, with Zellweger capturing both prizes last year.

Will history repeat itself? SAG Awards’ voters really like Davis. This is her fifth individual win, encompassing four different projects. (She earlier won for “The Help” and “Fences” and for the girl starring turn on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Homicide. ”) Her win on her rather brief screen period (at least, for a prospect turn) as the swaggering blues singer in “Ma Rainey” throws the Oscar race into disarray. ( Hurray for intrigue! )


I’d think Carey Mulligan remains the favorite for “Promising Young Woman, ” provided the film’s overall power with academy voters, including nominations for picture, director and original screenplay. (“Ma Rainey” was not nominated for optimum picture. ) But Davis doesn’t have a lead celebrity Oscar (her “Fences” earn came in supporting), and there might be a movement to show her respect in the primary classification.


Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

Chadwick Boseman as Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom part. ”

(David Lee / Netflix)

Winner: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

The past: This category has been the most reliable indicator of Oscar victory, with SAG and the academy matching 21 of 26 times. There are occasional exceptions: Denzel Washington won here three years ago, simply to see Casey Affleck take those Oscar.


Can history repeat itself? Boseman has been the overwhelming favorite to win since voters first noticed his electrifying turn as Levee, a Black musician raging at injustice and God as he fights with regard to his place in the world. It’s the last chance to honor Boseman , not just for this excellent functionality but also for a career marked simply by warmth, generosity and objective. There’s no way the school passes up that possibility.


Alan Kim and Yuh-Jung Youn in "Minari."

Alan Betty as David and Yuh-Jung Youn as his grandmother Soonja in “Minari. ”


Winner: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”


The past: The particular SAG award winner went on to take the Oscar 18 of 25 times. (Kate Winslet won this type in 2009 for “The Reader” but was nominated for — and won — the Oscar for lead actress for that performance. )

Will history repeat itself? This race looked like it could go any number of ways, especially since the supporting actress Oscar has offered some surprises over the years. But Youn’s earn feels like it’ll stick with the academy, if for most reason that it’s a nice way to honor a movie that will everyone likes. “Minari” is a wonderfully intimate plus absorbing family drama that’s elevated to next-level greatness when Youn arrives midway through the film.


Darrel Britt-Gibson, Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Daniel Kaluuya as Chairman Wendy Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah. ”

(Glen Wilson or Warner Bros. )


Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Dark Messiah”

The past: The particular SAG winner has gone onto win the Oscar seventeen times in 26 yrs, including Pitt’s victory (and subsequent stand-up routine) this past year.

Can history repeat itself? After Kaluuya’s costar LaKeith Stanfield earned a surprise Oscar nomination in assisting (Warner Bros. had campaigned for him in lead), there was some concern that the two great actors may divide the votes among the “Judas” contingent, leading to a victory for someone else. (Perhaps “Chicago 7″ standout Sacha Baron Cohen? ) Which could still happen, but Kaluuya’s SAG win strengthens their front-runner status. And hopefully, Stanfield gets his Oscar somewhere down the road.