2021 SAG Awards Nominee Predictions

The 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards airs February 27th and the nominations will be unveiled this Wednesday (01/12). It’s often a more reliable precursor to the acting nominations for the Oscars. Therefore it’s time to make my picks on who and what will grab the nods later this week.

As a reminder, the big prize here is Best Ensemble and not Best Picture. That often favors films with a larger cast though a potent mix with four or more actors can make the cut. Similar to Golden Globe estimates and my forthcoming final Oscar picks, I’ll give you my five contenders along with a runner-up and second alternate with a bit of commentary.

Here we go!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Predicted Nominees:



Don’t Look Up

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: King Richard

Commentary – The three Best Picture frontrunners for the Academy (Belfast, Power, West Side) all seem like pretty safe bets here. If anything is vulnerable, it might be the quartet from Power considering it has a smaller troupe of performers. There’s also some chatter that West Side could be vulnerable because it sent out late screeners for voters, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. For the other two spots, I’m favoring Don’t Look Up‘s large and sprawling cast should make it in. I’ll go with the CODA clan as well though I could easily see Licorice Pizza, King Richard or The Harder They Fall making the cut.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Runner-Up: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Commentary – The last four years has seen a 4/5 match with SAG and Oscar when it comes to leading ladies. My current Academy lineup is the same as here (though that’s certainly subject to change). Quite honestly, I tried to make room for Cruz but couldn’t land on who to take out. The most vulnerable could be Chastain, Gaga, or Kidman. I also wouldn’t completely discount Jennifer Hudson for Respect and would have her ranked above Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) for SAG.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in Leading Role

Predicted Nominees:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Nicolas Cage, Pig

Commentary – Just as I am with the Oscars – feeling confident about Cumberbatch, Garfield, Smith, and Washington. It’s that fifth slot that’s tricky. I’ll give Dinklage the ever so slight nod over Leo (who’s currently my fifth with the Academy). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Cage sneak in.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Marlee Matlin, CODA

Second Alternate: Ann Dowd, Mass

Commentary – I’m banking on the Guild not passing up a chance to put the legendary Moreno in with her costar DeBose. Speaking of Passing, you’ll notice Ruth Negga (my fifth Oscar player at the moment) isn’t here but she could certainly surface.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Predicted Nominees:

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Mike Faist, West Side Story

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Commentary – Bit of a guessing game as Supporting Actor is a head scratcher for 2021 pics. Going with both Belfast boys and the love continuing for West Side Story with Faist. As for the winner, that could be between Kotsur and Smit-McPhee (I also wouldn’t discount his costar Jesse Plemons getting in). If Leto misses here (and with the Globes omission), his Oscar chances probably disappear.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble

Predicted Nominees:

Black Widow


No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Runner-Up: The Matrix Resurrections

Second Alternate: The Harder They Fall

This means I’m projecting 4 nominations apiece for Belfast, The Power of the Dog, and West Side Story. I’ll have a recap up Wednesday with my reaction and how well (or not) I did!

P.S. – Golden Globe reactions coming up this evening…

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