SAG Win Gives Spotlight a Boost

Awards Daily

By Sasha Stone
Jan 30, 2016

If Bernie Sanders needs to win Iowa to show he’s got the goods, Spotlight needed a big guild award for the same reason. Had it not won the SAG Award tonight, Spotlight probably would have been out of the Best Picture race. But a plurality tally of 160,000 film and television actors (as well as broadcast journalists, radio announcers and on-air television news talent) picked Spotlight to win.

At first, the night seemed like it might be headed in Straight Outta Compton’s or Beasts of No Nation’s direction, once Idris Elba won Supporting Actor, beating Christian Bale and Mark Rylance. For a while there, people were thinking the SAG voter’s display of diversity might end with Compton winning Outstanding Ensemble. But ultimately SAG maintained its tradition of awarding its Ensemble Award to one of Oscar’s Best Picture nominees. The other option was The Big Short, which many of us thought was poised to win. The reason being that the more dramatic and overall flashy performances usually win the day with SAG voters.

Perhaps the most important thing about Spotlight’s win was the way they made the most of it. The actors didn’t spend a lot of time at the mic thanking people personally, but went right to the heart of the film’s message about the widespread abuse of the Catholic Church and the countless victims left in its wake. They even said something like “the good guys win.” That puts it in direct contrast to The Big Short, where the bad guys definitely win, and pointedly so.

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