Nearly every individual professionals-union in Hollywood that hands out yearly awards (which is most of them) would like to think of their ceremony as a bellwether of Academy Awards taste, but few can lay as much claim to that notion (at least in practical terms) as the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Given that SAG members make up the largest voting bloc within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences membership itself, the yearly SAG Awards are often seen as the last major "predictor" of where The Academy's opinion might land come Oscar Night; and as such the ceremony (which airs on the TBS cable network) is typically a must-watch for Oscar handicappers.
Given that, those involved in the somber historical journalism drama Spotlight may want to stock up on statue polish. The film just took home the award for Best Performance By a Cast in a Motion Picture - the SAG Awards' equivalent to Best Picture.
It was a night of both surprise upsets and easy calls for the closely-watched award ceremony, which covers both film and television-specific categories along with separate awards for stunt-performers. As widely expected, Leonardo DiCaprio took home Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his grueling performance in The Revenant, beating out Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Bryan Cranston and Eddie Redmayne. DiCaprio, whose lack of an Oscar to call his own despite two decades of celebrated performances is almost a running gag at this point, is now an overwhelming favorite to win Best Actor come Oscar Night. On the other hand, Brie Larson scored what many are calling a "surprise" win as Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor for Room, as many had expected the prize to go to Cate Blanchett for the period lesbian romance Carol.
Also going home unsurprising winners were Viola Davis (Drama Series, How to Get Away With Murder), Kevin Spacey (Drama Series, House of Cards) and Jeffrey Tambor (Comedy Series, Transparent); while surprises included Uzo Aduba winning for Orange is The New Black and a rare double victory for Idris Elba, who was honored for the television series Luther and also the Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation. Newcomer Alicia Vikander also continued her Awards Season hot streak, picking up another win for her well-reviewed supporting turn in The Danish Girl.
The win for Spotlight leaves Oscar-watchers divided on predictions to a greater degree than in many years previous. While the film had always been among the heavy favorites for Best Picture, the underdog victory of the financial-collapse comedy/drama The Big Short at the recent Producer's Guild Awards had many assuming it was now the presumed front-runner. With producers and actors together comprising the bulk of Academy membership, it is now unclear which (if any) nominated film is the clear favorite heading into the home stretch. A complete list of SAG Award winners follows:
2016 SAG AWARD WINNERS:
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Spotlight
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Brie Larson (Room)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Downton Abbey
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Orange is The New Black
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Uzo Aduba (Orange is The New Black)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Queen Latifah (Bessie)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Idris Elba (Luther)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Mad Max: Fury Road
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series: Game of Thrones
Source: The Screen Actors Guild