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SAG shakes up Oscar race

January 28, 2013 - Andy Gray
The weekend’s film awards made the Oscar forecast cloudier than the sky over the Mahoning Valley on Monday morning.

The status of “Lincoln” as the Best Picture frontrunner looks more precarious after “Argo” won the equivalent of Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday and the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.

The PGA prize isn’t a shock. As others have pointed out, it’s a movie where a Hollywood producer is a hero, aiding in the rescue of American hostages in Iran.

But the SAG Award is a surprise. SAG doesn’t have a Best Picture; it has Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Only one “Argo” cast member secured an individual nomination (Alan Arkin), and the movie really is more story-driven than performance-driven. For it to be singled out by SAG members – who make up the largest bloc of voters in the Academy – dramatically improves its chances at a Best Picture trophy at Oscar time.

And in their head-to-head showdown, Jennifer Lawrence (“The Silver Linings Playbook”) beat Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Sunday’s SAG Awards also included some local content. Youngstown native Ed O’Neill picked up as SAG Award as the cast of “Modern Family” won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

And in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries, Julianne Moore compared her “Game Change” cast to a basketball team and thanked several members individually, including Warren native Austin Pendleton. Pendleton played Sen. Joe Lieberman, although most of his part was cut from the film.


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