Award season is starting to SAG.
That’s right. The 2020 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards air Sunday night on TBS and TNT. Voted on by the 160,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, these prizes give a valuable glimpse into the mindset of the Oscars’ largest voting bloc: actors.
For instance, the SAG and Oscar best actor winners have overlapped in 90 percent of cases over the past 10 years. In the best actress category, that’s a still-impressive 80 percent. Their record as a predictor of the best picture Oscar winner is much spottier, with the SAG best ensemble victor taking the Academy Award just four of the last 10 times. “1917,” a major best picture Oscar contender, isn’t even nominated this year.
The Post talked to eight anonymous SAG voters about what films and actors have earned their ballot love in 2020 — and their answers suggest we’re in for quite a dogfight.
Best Ensemble: Toss-Up
One was gung-ho for “Parasite” because “this is our version of ‘best picture,’ and I’m voting for my favorite film of the year, which could only succeed on its very tight ensemble.”
A fiery “Jojo Rabbit” fan said, “Those kids and [Taika] Waititi’s Hitler are better than [Robert] De Niro’s blue eyes,” taking a punch at the “Irishman” actor’s computer-altered irises.
A lone voter, meanwhile, didn’t care for any best ensemble nominees and said he’s checking the other categories’ boxes for Netflix’s “Marriage Story” “straight down.”
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
Among our small sample, the best actor race was much clearer — but not for a certain anarchist clown.
Half the respondents said their vote is going to Leonardo DiCaprio for his role as a washed-up TV actor in “Once Upon A Time in … Hollywood.” That’s a shocker, because so far DiCaprio has been low on oddsmakers’ lists, especially after losing to Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) at the Golden Globes. But an upset could be in store.
Adam Driver trailed with two votes for “doing good honest work” in “Marriage Story.” And Joaquin Phoenix got one for yukking it up in “Joker.”
Egerton also got one vote here for playing the lead in the Elton John biopic. His voter’s reasoning? “Because he did everything Rami Malek was supposed to do [in “Bohemian Rhapsody”] and, s–t, he won one!”
Best Actress: Toss-Up
Renée Zellweger is the favorite to take the Oscar — by a long-shot — for playing Judy Garland in “Judy”. But our esteemed group wasn’t entirely convinced, giving the past Academy Award winner just two votes to win a SAG award.
“I love Renée’s performance,” said one. “But, I thought, was it a bit of an impersonation?” That SAG member, and one other, voted instead for Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet” because “Cynthia created an original and heartfelt performance of a character who we don’t have piles of audio and video to compare her against.”
One Zellweger proponent was adamant that this is her year, however. “It’s a major performance from an actress who’s been treated poorly by this industry and though the movie underwhelmed me, the performance was extraordinary,” the voter said.
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Hanks
With “The Irishman” losing steam — or, conversely, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino possibly dividing voting bodies — Brad Pitt has been leading the pack for his performance as a stuntman in “Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood.” But not this pack, three of whom went with Tom Hanks for playing Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
“This movie didn’t get the appreciation it deserved,” said one. However, another Hanks voter says his check mark was a shrug. “I don’t think anyone in this category deserved one.” Another, feeling similarly, abstained from voting here entirely.
Still, Pesci had a sole defender. “I think he’s being overlooked,” the voter said. “I thought Pesci used to play the flashy roles in ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Casino’, and he was so subtle and so effective in ‘The Irishman.’ ”
Otherwise, Pitt got two votes and Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy”) managed one.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lopez
The voters we talked to, though, are full of enthusiasm for her turn as a veteran stripper in “Hustlers,” with three of them picking her.
“I don’t see the big deal about Laura Dern’s performance,” said one. “And I want to see Jennifer Lopez keep doing cool, inventive acting work like ‘Hustlers’.”
Dern still secured the love of two voters, with Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”) and Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”) each getting just one.
But a lone voter made a defiant stand for an actress they believe has been unfairly overlooked: Kathy Bates, who wasn’t nominated for a SAG award for her role in “Richard Jewell,” but is up for an Oscar.
“She won’t win,” the voter said. “But she should.”