SAG Awards: Weighing the Odds in the Wake of Gotham Awards, Critics Choice Nods

5:00 PM 1/19/2021

by Scott Feinberg

Nominating committees have begun voting to determine SAG-AFTRA nominees across film and TV categories.

Feinberg Forecast
Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures; Courtesy of Amazon Studios; Natalie Seery/HBO
  • Ensemble Film

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 

    Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, the stars of this Broadway adaptation for Netflix, received career tributes at the Jan. 11 Gotham Awards. Director George C. Wolfe hailed Davis' "purity of heart and passion and fire and rage." Boseman's widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, and 42 co-star André Holland accepted his honor.

    Malcolm & Marie

    This category is officially titled "outstanding performance by a cast," leading to the question of whether this marvelously acted two-hander starring John David Washington and Zendaya can get in. The smallest nominated casts have been for Million Dollar Baby and Beasts of No Nation, with three actors each.

    First Cow

    Apart from being named the New York Film Critics Circle's pick for best film, this latest work from Kelly Reichardt, who is an acquired taste, has racked up a lot of runner-up finishes but few wins. At the Gotham Awards on Jan. 11, it went 0-for-4, coming up short for best feature, screenplay, actor and breakthrough actor.


    The momentum is holding for this drama about people living out of their vehicles in present-day America. It won best picture, director, actress (Frances McDormand) and cinematography at the National Society of Film Critics Awards on Jan. 9, and then won best ensemble and the audience award at the Gotham Awards.

  • Actor, Film

    Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami

    The Brit, who plays Malcolm X in Regina King's film, did a SAG Q&A with his three co-stars and writer Kemp Powers on Jan. 10, then won best breakthrough actor at the Gotham Awards over Never Rarely Sometimes Always breakout Sidney Flanigan, among others. 

    John David Washington, Tenet

    The bad news for the 36-year-old is that he lost best actor in an action movie to Da 5 Bloods' Delroy Lindo at the first Critics Choice Super Awards on Jan. 10. The good news is that, with Tenet possibly fading, he stands an even better shot at recognition for Malcolm & Marie.

    Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

    The British Emmy winner picked up his first major win of the season, best actor, at the Gotham Awards for his powerful turn as a heavy-metal drummer who loses his hearing. He prevailed over Chadwick Boseman, whom he graciously acknowledged in his acceptance speech.

  • Actress, Film

    Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth

    For her portrayal of a single mom whose daughter is about to enter a beauty contest she once won, this up-and-comer was the surprise winner of the best actress Gotham Award, beating out the likes of Nomadland's Frances McDormand.

    Elisabeth Moss, The Invisible Man

    The actors' actor, who as an individual has accumulated six SAG noms, is now on the awards board — and possibly poised for further SAG love — for her pre-pandemic blockbuster, having won best actress in a horror movie at the Critics Choice Super Awards.

  • Actor, Drama Series

    Kevin Costner, Yellowstone

    This popular veteran is in contention for his work on the third season of Paramount Network's ratings leader, which is coming off its most watched season yet. His chances are only boosted by similarly lauded work in the recent Western film Let Him Go.

  • Actor, Miniseries

    John Boyega, Small Axe

    The Star Wars alum is widely considered the standout performer in Steve McQueen's five-film anthology (which is being considered as a miniseries at the SAG Awards) for his turn as a London cop confronting racially biased policing in the Red, White and Blue installment.

  • Actress, Miniseries

    Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You 

    Her portrayal of a rape survivor in the HBO limited series, which she also wrote and directed, has earned universal raves, and the show itself heads into SAG voting with a Gotham Award win for best breakthrough series — short format.

    This story first appeared in a January stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.