Monday, January 30, 2012

SAG Serves 'The Help' Three Awards

The acclaimed Southern drama The Help took top honors at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday evening. Along with its prize for Best Cast in a Motion Picture, The Help also garnered Best Actress honors for Viola Davis and the Best Supporting Actress award for Octavia Spencer. See the complete list of winners here.

Christopher Plummer won the Best Supporting Actor trophy for Beginners as expected, but Jean Dujardin's Best Actor win for The Artist came as the biggest surprise of the evening. Fellow nominee George Clooney had been favored to win for The Descendants. This marks the first SAG award ever given for a performance in a silent film, and comes as the most notable upset in the Best Actor category since the 10th Awards when Johnny Depp bested Sean Penn. (The actors were nominated for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Mystic River, respectively; Penn went on to win the Oscar for the latter.)

In the way of prognostication, the winners of this year's SAG Awards make the outcome of this year's Academy Awards all the more unpredictable. Though Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer appear to be rock-solid locks for the two supporting acting trophies, the other categories are tougher to call. Jean Dujardin could very well repeat his SAG award victory on the Oscar stage. Then again, Oscar voters could decide to give George Clooney his second statuette. (Both The Artist and The Descendants are nominated for Best Picture, making the race all the more competitive.) Viola Davis could cruise on the momentum of her Critics Choice and SAG award wins to claim the Best Actress Oscar. On the other hand, Michelle Williams could follow the three-times-a-charm rule for My Week with Marilyn after two previous Oscar nominations. Of course, Meryl Streep could collect her third Oscar for The Iron Lady.

In the way of Best Picture, The Help is currently riding high on SAG Award glory. The 84th Academy Awards are four weeks away, however, and plenty can happen between now and then. Hugo may lead the pack with eleven nominations, but The Artist has jewels from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Broadcast Film Critics Assocation, the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, and most recently, the Directors Guild in its crown. Even if the general consensus tilts toward the lauded silent film between now and February 26th, there is still the chance of a jaw-dropping shock at the opening of the Best Picture envelope not seen since the 78th Academy Awards.

What effect do you think this year's SAG Awards will have on the Oscars? Leave a comment and let me know where you stand.

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