It's like baseball, only with fewer names to memorize

By Alex Heigl
Updated January 23, 2015 08:40 AM
Credit: Illustration By Debra Cartwright

One of the great things about awards season is that it provides a rich field for statistic analysis. Attentive viewers can use the Golden Globes (the first major awards show of the season) and SAG Awards (the second) as a sort of predictive measure for the major acting awards at the Oscars.

We looked at the Oscar-nominated roles in the four major acting categories (sorry, Jen and Naomi), and cut out anyone who didn’t win or get nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG. Then, we went back five years (because any more than that is insane – who are we, Nate Silver?) and looked at instances in which Oscar wins followed Golden Globe wins and SAG noms. This is by no means 100% accurate, so if you make bets based on this and have some heavy debts come Oscar time, don’t come crying to us. But it’s more accurate than throwing darts at a board covered with glossy pictures.

Best Actress

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Since 2010, the Oscars haven’t followed the Globes and SAG Awards for actresses the way they have for actors (see below). All three went to Natalie Portman in 2010 for Black Swan, and Cate Blanchett swept again last year for Blue Jasmine. The years 2011 and 2012 were all over the place: Meryl Streep won the Globe and Oscar in 2011 but not the SAG Award (for The Iron Lady), and while Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar and SAG Award in 2012 for Silver Linings Playbook, Jessica Chastain picked up the Golden Globe for Zero Dark Thirty ahead of those wins.

All that said, this year probably comes down to Julianne Moore for the Oscar win if she snags the SAG. Otherwise, either Felicity Jones or Rosamund Pike may stage an upset.

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Since 2010, the Best Actor Oscar has exactly followed the Golden Globe and SAG wins, with one exception: In 2011, Jean Dujardin wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe for The Artist, which seems like an odd snub. So assuming the SAGs follow the Globes and reward Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, he probably has the Oscar on lock as well.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

This one’s kind of a lock, with the only odd year out being 2013, when J.Law won the Golden Globe for American Hustle over Lupita Nyong’o (which the less we say about, the better). Anyway, with Patricia Arquette’s Globe win, look to the SAGs to predict the Oscar: If Arquette wins the SAG, the Oscar’s probably a lock. If Keira Knightley wins, get ready to flip a coin come Oscar time.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

This one actually breaks the same as Best Supporting Actress: The Oscars followed the SAGs, which followed the Globes, in each of the past five years, except in 2012, when Tommy Lee Jones earned a SAG win for Lincoln. Of course, the person he “upset,” Christoph Waltz, wasn’t even nominated, so there’s that. If Simmons wins the SAG Award, he’s probably got the Oscar secured. Otherwise, it could be anyone’s ball game.

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