Ahead of Oscars, Screen Actors Guild to hand out awards

Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman will have two chances to win Sunday night at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards, but the award show's ability to forecast the Oscars looks cloudy.

Stars were arriving on the red carpet Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. TNT and TBS will broadcast the show beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

Awards for stunt ensemble were announced ahead of the ceremony, with prizes going to Marvel's "Avengers: Endgame" and HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Among the films vying for the screen actors’ top honour, best ensemble, are Oscar heavyweights "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" and "The Irishman." They are competing with "Parasite" (only the second foreign language nominee after "Life Is Beautiful," which received a nod in 1999), "Jojo Rabbit" and "Bombshell."

Because actors make up the largest percentage of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, their picks are closely watched. But the last two years, the SAG ensemble winner has not gone on to win best picture: "Black Panther" last year and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" in 2018.

Two of this year’s top best-picture contenders at the Oscars — "Joker," more of a one-man show; and "1917," more acclaimed for its technical acumen — weren’t nominated for best ensemble. On Saturday, "1917" won top honours at the highly predictive Producers Guild Awards, which 21 of the last 30 years has lined up with the eventual best picture winner.

Coming three weeks ahead of the Oscars, it will be an early test for the chances of the Academy Awards front-runners, among them Renée Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern. Johansson is a nominee for both "Marriage Story" and "Jojo Rabbit," as is Kidman for "Bombshell" and the HBO series "Big Little Lies."

That show is one of the nominees for best drama series ensemble, along with "The Crown," "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid’s Tale" and "Stranger Things." Up for comedy series ensemble are "Barry," "Fleabag," "The Kominsky Method," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Schitt’s Creek." Apple TV Plus’ "The Morning Show" also landed three nominations, for Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup.

Robert De Niro will be honoured with the guild's lifetime achievement award. Of his career, De Niro said on the red carpet: "I hope it's set a good example for actors."

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