Predicting the Academy Awards field

First hint of who'll win an Oscar comes with SAG, Globes

A comparison of the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees with the actors and actresses nominated for Golden Globes puts this year's Oscar race in sharper focus.

Four actors were nominated for leading roles by both SAG and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.: Frank Langella (Universal's "Frost/Nixon"), Sean Penn (Focus Features' "Milk") Brad Pitt (Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and Mickey Rourke (Fox Searchlight's "The Wrestler"). This means Langella, Penn, Pitt and Rourke are now the favorites to get Oscar nominations, with the fifth slot wide open.

In the lead actress category, SAG and the Globes also overlapped on four contenders: Anne Hathaway (Sony Pictures Classics' "Rachel Getting Married"), Angelina Jolie (Universal's "Changeling"), Meryl Streep (Miramax's "Doubt") and Kate Winslet (DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage's "Revolutionary Road"). Again, look to those four as favorites for Oscar noms.

In the supporting categories, SAG and the HFPA were again in sync on four actresses: Amy Adams and Viola Davis (both for "Doubt"), Penelope Cruz (Weinstein Co.'s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona") and Kate Winslet (Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader"). It was in the supporting actor category that the two awards bodies were least in sync, agreeing on only three names: Robert Downey Jr. (DreamWorks/Paramount's "Tropic Thunder"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt") and Heath Ledger (Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight").

So should pundits veer toward SAG or the Globes in choosing their Oscar picks?

Over the last three years, every actor/actress Oscar winner has been nominated for both Golden Globe and SAG awards, with one exception: Alan Arkin. The "Little Miss Sunshine" supporting actor was nominated by SAG but not the HFPA.