With more big wins at the PGA and SAG Awards, Oscar frontrunners emerge (hello, Frances McDormand)

The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri each scored two more huge wins. And the same four actors (Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney, and Sam Rockwell) have now won at the SAG Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, and Golden Globes.

If you’re the betting type, the Oscars forecast became a lot clearer this weekend after Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards and Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. Here’s how to read the tea leaves.

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Best Picture

Unlike the four acting races below, there isn’t yet a consensus frontrunner… there are two. Guillermo del Toro’s woman-meets-sea creature fairy tale The Shape of Water was the big winner at the Producer’s Guild Awards, beating out a field of 10 other contenders for the top prize, the Darryl F. Zanuck Award. Del Toro, who shares the prize with co-producer J. Miles Dale, missed the Beverly Hilton-set gala to be with his sick father in Mexico, but dispatched star Richard Jenkins to deliver a heartfelt message.

At Sunday’s SAG Awards, it was another Fox Searchlight release, Martin McDonagh’s darkly comedic crime drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, that claimed the night’s top film honor (Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and company).

As we noted after last week’s haul at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards — along with nods from the BAFTAs and Director’s Guild Awards — Shape and Billboards have the most Oscars mojo in a year that seemed devoid of favorites until now.

PGA and SAG wins don’t always translate to Oscar triumphs. The PGA Awards had a run of eight straight years, from 2008-15, where its top trophy predicted Oscar’s Best Picture (that did include one tie, when 12 Years a Slave and Gravity shared the honor in 2014). In 2016, the producers went with The Big Short (the Oscar went to Spotlight), and in 2017 La La Land (the Oscar went to Moonlighteventually, anyway).

The SAG Awards have less synchronicity in part because the guild honors acting ensembles and not the picture as a whole. Still, the top SAG winner has gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars six of the last 10 years (Spotlight, Birdman, Argo, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men).

Does that mean other contenders like Get Out and Lady Bird stand a chance? Anything’s possible, especially with the Academy’s tough to predict preferential ballot system. Get Out, for example, still has a very passionate fanbase and did claim the PGA’s honorary Stanley Kramer Award (with director Jordan Peele delivering the night’s most memorable speech), so it’s too soon to write off the hit horror film.

Best Actor and Best Actress

Gary Oldman has been considered the frontrunner for Best Actor since critics first got a hold of his transformative portrayal at the fall film festivals — no, actually since we first saw the first trailer of him as the history-altering British prime minister back in July.

Oldman has won pretty much every Best Actor prize there is since, including the SAG Award Saturday, where he appeared humbled and teary-eyed on stage. SAG’s Best Actor victor has gone on to claim the Oscar 12 of the past 13 years, differing only last year when Denzel Washington won the SAG Award for Fences but lost the Oscar to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.

There had been a bit a bit more drama in the Best Actress race, which initially appeared to be a tight three-way race between Frances McDormand (Three Billboards), Saorise Ronan (Lady Bird), and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water).

But McDormand has been on quite the winning streak for her fierce turn as a grieving Midwestern mother, scoring at the Golden Globes, a Critics’ Choice Awards, and the SAG Awards. The famously press-shy actress, an Oscar winner for Fargo, doesn’t care to campaign or hobnob: Just look at how quickly got the hell out of Dodge during the Three Billboards‘ winning ensemble photo op.

SAG’s Best Actress winner has gone on to take the Academy Award seven of the past 10 years, including the past five years straight.

Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress

Willem Dafoe was looking like a good bet to win his first Oscar for his lovable and understated turn as a tough-luck hotel manager in The Florida Project, and then a cop from Missouri started raining on his parade. It seemed like a major surprise when Sam Rockwell won the Golden Globe for Three Billboards, but now it’s becoming a pattern after wins at the Critics’ Choice Awards and SAG Awards. And not even a little Billboards backlash can stop Rockwell, just ask his dad.

The race for Best Supporting Actress appeared to be a bit tighter from the onset, between two likely first-time nominees, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Allison Janney (I, Tonya). While Metcalf claimed a handful of critics’ prizes earlier in the season, Janney has been, to put in language her Tonya character would endorse, been on a goddamn f**king tear, winning the Globe, the Critics’ Choice Award and the SAG Award.

So how often does Oscar also go to SAG’s supporting winners? Eight of the past 10 times, in both categories (including the last eight years straight for supporting actress). In other words, things are looking pretty rock-solid right now for Mr. Rockwell and Ms. Janney.

Watch Allison Janney talk about her foul-mouthed performance in I, Tonya:


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