The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards are this Sunday, in which actors reward themselves ― well, their peers, that is ― by choosing the standout performances of the year.
Typically, the SAG Awards are a good prognosticator of who will win the Oscar ― the wins tend to line up, largely because actors make up the largest branch of the Academy, too, so it’s a lot of the same people voting.
However, there have been a few notable exceptions. So in anticipation of this weekend’s awards show, we’re taking a look at 10 performers who were rewarded by SAG and then ignored by Oscar.
1. Johnny Depp ― SAG Best Actor, 2003
Lost the Oscar To: Sean Penn
In 2003, Johnny won the SAG Award for the first Pirates of the Caribbean with his instantly iconic (and totally unexpected and offbeat) performance as the rum-loving Captain Jack Sparrow. However, Sean's angsty father in Mystic River was more the Academy’s speed. Seriously, though, which of these characters is more memorable a decade later? (Here's a hint: there is no Mystic River ride at Disneyland.)
2. Benicio Del Toro ― SAG Best Actor, 2001
Lost the Oscar To: Russell Crowe
Benicio’s role as a Mexican drug cop did win an Oscar, just not Best Actor. The Academy decided Traffic was an ensemble piece and nominated him for Best Supporting Actor instead, meaning Russell was free to have his vengeance in Best Actor field as Maximus in Gladiator.
3. Daniel Day-Lewis ― SAG Best Actor, 2002
Lost the Oscar To: Adrien Brody
When is a supporting performance not a supporting performance? When it’s played by scene-stealer Daniel Day-Lewis, who chewed the scenery and then started munching on the costumes and camera as villainous Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. But perhaps the Academy felt his role in the movie was a bit too slight after all, because they preferred Adrien in The Pianist.
4. Renee Zellweger ― SAG Best Actress, 2004
Lost the Oscar To: Nicole Kidman
Renee sang! Renee danced! In Chicago, Renee shot a man, landed in prison, and then orchestrated one hell of a media circus during the trial to keep herself out of the slammer, all while putting on a song and dance! And she wore a razzly-dazzly silver dress! Meanwhile, all Nicole Kidman did was put on a fake nose and a lot of drab house dresses, appearing in The Hours for roughly 20 minutes while staring into space looking depressed. Roxie Hart would’ve shot her before she had a chance to kill herself.
5. Jodie Foster ― SAG Best Actress, 1994
Lost the Oscar To: Jessica Lange
At the very first SAG Awards, Jodie Foster knocked out her competition for the challenging role of Nell. Jodie didn’t repeat that victory at the Oscars, though ― which is too bad, because she gives such memorable speeches.
6. Viola Davis ― SAG Best Actress, 2012
Lost the Oscar To: Meryl Streep
Viola’s SAG peers thought “you is kind, you is smart, you is beautiful” when they gave her their Best Actress accolades. But despite a tight Oscar race, “you is Meryl Streep” ended up trumping all that when Meryl won for The Iron Lady.
7. Meryl Streep ― SAG Best Actress, 2009
Lost the Oscar To: Kate Winslet
SAG members had no Doubt when they picked Meryl Streep’s severe nun as their favorite female performance this year, but then things got all topsy-turvy. Kate was SAG-nominated this year as Best Actress for Revolutionary Road and Best Supporting Actress for The Reader (which she won), but then the Oscars nominated Kate’s Reader performance for Best Actress and ignored her turn in Revolutionary Road altogether. That put Kate up against Meryl, and Kate won. (Meryl didn't take it too hard, though.)
8. Kate Winslet ― SAG Best Supporting Actress, 1995
Lost the Oscar To: Mira Sorvino
Long before she was nominated for flawless performances in virtually every movie she’s in, Kate Winslet turned up in the Jane Austen period piece Sense and Sensibility. SAG loved it, while the Academy preferred Woody Allen’s hooker in Mighty Aphrodite.
9. Gloria Stuart ― SAG Best Supporting Actress, 1998
Lost the Oscar To: Kim Basinger
Kim and Gloria actually tied as co-winners of the Best Supporting Actress SAG Award this year, but there was no such luck for Old Rose when the Oscar came around. Kim’s L.A. Confidential hooker (the Academy loves hookers, you see) beat the Titanic survivor, probably because voters were still mad at her for throwing a priceless necklace off the back of a ship just before dying in her sleep (seriously, who does that?), screwing her perfectly nice granddaughter out of a multimillion-dollar inheritance. (Not that we’re still mad about it.)
10. Eddie Murphy ― SAG Best Supporting Actor, 2007
Lost the Oscar To: Alan Arkin
Eddie made his big comeback in Dreamgirls, earning rave reviews for his musical performance. SAG agreed, chossing him over Little Miss Sunshine’s Alan Arkin. But this was right around the time the critically-panned comedy Norbit came out, reminding Academy voters that their Dreamboy was still capable of slumming it in some of the most wretched comedies imaginable. They rewarded Little Mr. Sunshine instead.
11. Paul Giamatti ― SAG Best Supporting Actor, 2006
Lost the Oscar To: George Clooney
It’s not easy competing with George Clooney. Just ask Paul Giamatti, whose Cinderella Man performance bested peers Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon (both from Crash) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) along with George. But it was George who ended up winning his first Oscar for Syriana.
12. Ian McKellan ― SAG Best Supporting Actor, 2002
Lost the Oscar To: Jim Broadbent
SAG was enchanted by Sir Ian as Gandalf in the first Lord of the Rings movie. But the Academy said “You shall not pass!” and went for Iris’ Jim Broadbent. Luckily there are about 105 more Hobbit movies coming out, so he still has a few more chances.
Which SAG-winning performance was your favorite?
Who are you rooting for in this year's race?