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  Category: Articles » Arts & Entertainment » TV & Movies » Article

Screen Actors Guild Awards a Good Predictor of Academy Award Winners

By Tuesday Knight

If the past Screen Actors Guild award ceremonies have taught us anything, it's that influence can never be underestimated. Take last years Academy Award winners, for instance. In 2006, the Screen Actor's Guild appointed the film Crash (starring Matt Dillon and Sandra Bullock) as the best outstanding performance by an ensemble cast in a motion picture. Crash went on to win the Academy Award for best picture, beating the odds on favorite Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (starring Heath Ledger and Jack Gyllenhaal).

Though actors constitute a small portion of the 6500 plus Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, they do remain influential in the industry as a whole. This is true for both their votes as part of the SAG constituency as well as for their opinions on the productions their peers are involved with. Though they were once without any real voice in the motion picture industry, the right actor is now just as likely to help a project get off the ground as the director or the producer. Films are cast with the movie going public in mind, and those who fill theaters can not only command top dollar, but loosen the pockets of the production companies behind the films as well.

This year, the exclusion of the popular film Dreamgirls (starring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx) from the Academy Award nominee list has left industry insiders clamoring for direction. This means that in all likelihood, the SAG awards may hold even more influence than usual. Though Dreamgirls is nominated for best ensemble performance by a cast, there are plenty of other tempting choices for voters this year. Should another film win, its chances of being best picture at the Academy Awards are greatly increased.

Other films nominated for the category include Emilio Estevez's Bobby (starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Lindsay Lohan, Harry Belafonte, Heather Graham, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, to name a few, Martin Scorses's The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson), the indie film Little Miss Sunshine (starring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Abigal Breslin and Alejandro G as well as "Babel", a multi-location, interweaving story of love and adversity with a cast of relative unknowns.

Though it's uncertain as to which film is the definite frontrunner, the film that wins will either gain ground in the race for Best Picture at the Oscars or, in the case of Dreamgirls, solidify the notion that the film was erroneously overlooked.
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