“Oppenheimer” Wins Top Prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards

“Oppenheimer” continued its dominance in Hollywood’s award season on Saturday by winning the top prize for an outstanding cast, alongside individual awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG).

As anticipation for the Academy Awards intensifies, Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic, already a winner at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, increasingly appears as the front-runner.

The SAG Awards, known for their predictive power regarding the Oscars, further bolster “Oppenheimer,” the leading nominee at the Academy Awards with thirteen nominations.

Winning a SAG Award doesn’t guarantee an Oscar. In the past, winners like “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Black Panther” didn’t secure an Academy Award despite their guild victories.

However, the last two years have seen a perfect alignment between the SAG’s top awards, including the best ensemble and the four acting winners, and the Oscar recipients, as seen with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “CODA.”

The evening’s most exciting victory was awarded to Lily Gladstone for her leading role in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a category fiercely debated by experts, torn between Gladstone and Emma Stone for “Poor Things.”

The competition between Murphy and Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers” was closely watched, yet Murphy’s consecutive wins at the SAGs, BAFTAs, and Globes hint at his advantageous position for the upcoming Academy Awards.

Supporting actor awards were claimed by Robert Downey Jr. and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, enhancing their prospects as Oscar contenders.

Robert Downey Jr. received his first SAG Award for his role in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”

“Why me? Why now? Why do things seem to be going my way?” said Downey Jr. “Unlike my fellow nominees, I will never grow tired of the sound of my own voice.”

Downey Jr., having outperformed Ryan Gosling in “Barbie” once more, along with Da’Vine Joy Randolph, are now leading contenders for the Academy Awards. Their victories on Saturday further solidify their positions as likely winners.

Randolph’s role in “The Holdovers” marked a significant milestone in her career at the age of 37, hinting at her potential Academy Award success.

“To every actor out there still waiting in the wings for their chance, let me tell you: Your life can change in a day,” Randolph said. “It’s not a question of if but when. Keep going.”

The 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards were broadcast live on Netflix for the first time, with the ceremony taking place at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles, featuring “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” as leading nominees.

“Personally, I can’t wait to get home and have Netflix recommend this show to me based on all the other stuff that I watch myself in,” joked Idris Elba, kicking off the show.

After over twenty years of broadcast on TNT and TBS, which saw a decrease in audience numbers, the broadcasting rights for the SAG Awards were secured by Netflix in early 2023.

This transition introduced new broadcasting standards, such as the absence of commercials and the allowance of explicit language. Elba, opening the ceremony on stage, hinted at a nuanced approach.

This year’s SAG Awards come on the heels of a months-long strike, during which the SAG-AFTRA union waged a fierce fight on several fronts.

A significant factor in the strike was the shift in the film and television landscape, primarily due to the rise of streaming services, with Netflix playing a pivotal role in these industry changes.