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Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin: SAG Awards Predictions

Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help

The Screen Actors Guild will announce its nominees in a few hours. Here are a few last-minute predictions in the following motion picture categories: Best Cast, Best Actor, Best Actress (or Best Female Actor), Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

For Best Cast – which isn't really an equivalent to Best Picture regardless of what some people say – the most likely contenders in our view are the following:

Other strong possibilities include Bennett Miller's Moneyball (Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill), Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks), Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn), and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow).

Also, Steven Spielberg's War Horse (Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston), Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn (Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne), Mike Mills' Beginners (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent), and Paul Feig's Bridesmaids (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy).

In addition to Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard), Roman Polanski's Carnage (Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly), Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar (Leonardo DiCaprio, Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer), and even David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint).

The Help photo: Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises

Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Moneyball

For Best Actor, the top five contenders are Michael Fassbender (Shame), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), George Clooney (The Descendants), and Ryan Gosling (Drive). Runners-up: Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and Woody Harrelson (Rampart).

For Best Actress, the top five are Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Viola Davis (The Help), and … This is a tough one. Much like last year, the list of potential Best Actress contenders is both longer and generally more interesting than the list of potential Best Actors. We'll go for Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs merely because the SAG voters tend to prefer bigger names than, say, the National Society of Film Critics – or even the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Close, however, has so far been all but ignored by US-based critics' groups.

Runners-up for Best Actress include Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Emma Stone (The Help), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).

Moneyball photo: Melinda Sue Gordon / Columbia TriStar

Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, The Help
Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, The Help

Best Supporting Actor shoo-ins are Albert Brooks (Drive) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners). The other three slots will possibly go to Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Nick Nolte (Warrior), and Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn). Runners-up include John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Jeremy Irons (Margin Call), Christoph Waltz (Carnage), and Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is a shoo-in – in Nick Nolte's slot, if actors opt to ignore the “performance capture” technology inextricably tied to Serkis' work.

The list of potential Best Supporting Actress nominees is nearly as long as the cast of The Help. Narrowing it down to five: Jessica Chastain (The Help or The Tree of Life), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), and Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs). That leaves out the just-as-likely contenders Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) and Carey Mulligan (Shame), and the not-to-be-discarded Sissy Spacek and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster (Carnage), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), Marion Cotillard (Midnight in Paris), and Judi Dench (J. Edgar). We'd say that Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus) has a better chance at the Oscars than at the SAG Awards. But we could be wrong.

The Help photo: Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises

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