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Even among fans, awards shows have a tendency to stir up discussion. And for the Hollywood awards season, the big culmination — also known as the Academy Awards — is coming up fast. For months, fans and pundits have watched the Oscar race shake out. Now the 2022 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards could be about to shake up everyone’s expectations for Best Picture by handing the equivalent prize to Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast.

Kenneth Branagh wears a suit and smiles
Kenneth Branagh | Dave J Hogan

Many consider the SAG Awards a predictor of the Oscars

Although it’s not a wholly reliable predictor, the SAG Awards often have at least some correlation with the eventual Oscar winners. The two ceremonies each feature four acting categories, for both lead and supporting female and male actors. And while the Oscars award the Best Picture, the SAG Awards recognize the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Many pundits consider this category the SAG Awards’ version of Best Picture.

Although the two awards shows are connected, that doesn’t mean they always overlap. In fact, only two of the 2021 winners — supporting actor winners Daniel Kaluuya and Youn Yuh-jung — matched. And in the case of the big prize, eventual Best Picture winner Nomadland wasn’t even nominated for the SAG Awards’ cast award. Instead, The Trial of the Chicago 7 walked home with that trophy at the 2021 SAG Awards.

‘Belfast’ could be about to boost its Best Picture chances

Bearing that in mind, it’s possible this year’s Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award could tip the scales in favor of a particular film. This year, the smart money is on Belfast beating out other nominees CODA, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, and House of Gucci. As was the case in 2021, the current Best Picture frontrunner at the Oscars — The Power of the Dog — failed to get nominated. But that doesn’t mean Belfast can’t still get a boost.

After all, Gold Derby — which tracks awards season odds and predictions — puts Belfast closely behind The Power of the Dog in the Best Picture race. A SAG Award win could give it a bit more of an edge, potentially putting the film over the top. Belfast‘s seven Oscar nominations — behind only The Power of the Dog and Dune — already indicate there’s a lot of support for the movie. Awards season can be unpredictable, as this year’s edition has proven.


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What if the SAG Awards diverge from the 2022 Oscars?

More likely than not, The Power of the Dog will still triumph at the Academy Awards. But it will be interesting to note whether Belfast takes the SAG Award. The film is the only one of the five cast nominees posing a legitimate threat in the Best Picture race. And given how many fans feel Oscar snubbed actors like Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan, this is a chance during awards season to reward them for their work in Branagh’s film.

The 28th SAG Awards will air simultaneously on TNT and TBS on February 27, 2022.