Tonight marks another important stop on the road to the 2013 Oscars: the SAG awards. This is one of my favorite award shows of the year because I love actors; I love acting. Everyone has their criteria for judging the merits of a film: Some make cinematography or direction their first priority; others care most about the merits of the script. For me, I’m always drawn to performances. The actors—the way their voices break, the way their eyes light up or go dark, the way they are able to create chemistry just by standing next to each other—are the ones who draw me into a film and make me care about it. So naturally, I love the award show that is all about my favorite aspect of moviemaking.
Just like I did for the Golden Globes, I’ll be live tweeting the red carpet and the ceremony starting at 6 p.m. on the NGN Twitter. And I’ll have a recap of the ceremony along with my best and worst dressed stars tomorrow.
Now it’s time to make some picks for tonight’s winners. (Hopefully I’ll be a little bit more accurate than I was for the Golden Globes.)
Male Actor, Lead
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Denzel Washington, Flight
My Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis. DDL’s triumphant march to Oscar glory will continue tonight. There’s almost no doubt about that.
Male Actor, Supporting
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
My Pick: Robert De Niro. While I think the award could definitely go to Tommy Lee Jones, I think De Niro is going to be rewarded by his peers for his nuanced, beautiful return to form as a father struggling with his son’s bipolar disorder and his own demons. His performance was heartfelt, layered, and very honest, which is something I think his fellow actors will appreciate more than any other voting body.
Female Actor, Lead
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
My Pick: Jennifer Lawrence. This is the race I’m most torn about. While Jessica Chastain has huge amounts of critical acclaim and a lot of respect from her peers on her side, I just think Lawrence’s performance is too emotionally gripping to ignore. What she was able to do with the character of Tiffany—the maturity, the powerful stillness, the believable but intense range of emotions, the total vulnerability, the surprising humor—is acting at its finest. In Silver Linings Playbook, she did what great actors are supposed to do; she made me feel for this woman in a way that made me forget she was a fictional character.
Female Actor, Supporting
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
My Pick: Anne Hathaway. Her dedication to this role is something no one can deny, and her passion for making Fantine feel like a real woman rather than just a tragic symbol of the downtrodden gave her performance a raw edge that has become many viewers’ lasting impression of Les Mis. Hathaway—like Daniel Day-Lewis—is on her way to well-deserved Oscar glory this year, and tonight’s results will almost surely confirm that.
Cast in a Motion Picture
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Silver Linings Playbook
My Pick: Silver Linings Playbook. This film is a true ensemble work, and every member of its cast brought their A-game to it. Silver Linings Playbook is a true actor’s film, with rich, complex characters from the leads to the most minor roles. The entire cast of this film brought an honesty to their performances that allowed such a simple movie—without many of the flashier elements of other nominees—to be so compelling and moving.
Male Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Ed Harris, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
My Pick: Kevin Costner. With an Emmy and a Golden Globe already for this performance, it seems only right that he would complete the trifecta with a SAG award win.
Female Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias
My Pick: Julianne Moore. I’m sure the other women in this category were all great in their respective roles, but no one is beating Moore for her multiple-award-winning turn as Sarah Palin.
Male Actor, Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
My Pick: Damian Lewis. Jon Hamm could pull an upset based on his Hollywood popularity and his continually excellent work on Mad Men, but I think this—like all other award shows this year—is Homeland’s to lose.
Female Actor, Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
My Pick: Claire Danes. Her fellow actors seem as enamored with Danes as critics and audiences have been—and for good reason. Danes is playing one of the most challenging, complex roles in any medium right now, and she seems to be relishing every second of it.
Male Actor, Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis CK, Louie
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
My Pick: Alec Baldwin. With 30 Rock ending, this is a chance for Baldwin’s peers to once again honor him for his charisma, charm, and comedy before this week’s series finale.
Female Actor, Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
My Pick: Amy Poehler. I will keep picking Poehler until she wins because I truly believe that no woman in comedy is more deserving of recognition. The humor, heart, and hopefulness that Poehler brings to Leslie Knope every week makes Parks and Rec such a unique and wonderful show. This season more than any other has been a chance for Poheler to show both her laugh-inducing and tear-producing chops, and I think her fellow actors will be the ones to finally honor her for her great work.
The Big Bang Theory
My Pick: Modern Family. Out of all of the nominees, Modern Family has the most consistently funny cast on television. I’m still bitter about Parks and Rec being snubbed yet again in this category, but I’ll be the least sad to see the Modern Family cast win.
My Pick: Homeland. In order for its crazy storylines to work, Homeland needs actors who are able to keep audiences emotionally engaged, and this cast seems more than up to the task. The reason audiences care about each plot twist is because they care about the characters, and that wouldn’t happen without a strong ensemble.
Now that you’ve seen my picks, I want to know yours. Who do you think the big winners will be tonight?