SAG Preview (TV Edition)

Today we continue our coverage of a very meaningless awards show, but one that will give us the opportunity to see our favorite stars get drunk tomorrow. For television shows, the SAGs mean very little, other than earning recognition in the places where the Globes made mistakes. But since the Globes were a tree that fell in the forest that no one heard, maybe it does matter, maybe the actors will give a shit. So, for their sake, for the television actors that make millions and now are getting time off, we’ll preview the Primetime Television categories today.

To get a feel for the SAGs, I went back and looked at the last seven awards, to see what kind of diversity they had. Obviously the most successful shows stay constant over time, so I was curious if the SAGs awarded repeats or liked to give it to new winners. Here’s the numbers for different winners in each category over 7 years.

Female in Drama: 6.
Male in Drama: 5.
Female in Comedy: 5.
Male in Comedy: 4.
Ensemble Comedy: 5.
Ensemble Drama: 5.

So, without question, we do get some repetition. Sean Hayes won three SAGs for his role on “Will and Grace”, so did Megan Mullally for her spot on the show. The SAGs loved “The West Wing”, “Six Feet Under” and “Desperate Housewives”, and seems to love “Grey’s Anatomy” too. It’s interesting that Male in Comedy offered the least winners, as Hayes and Tony Shalhoub took it down for five years. Let’s start there, as Alec Baldwin looks to defend his crown:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy – “30 Rock”
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott – “The Office”
RICKY GERVAIS / Andy Millman – “Extras”
JEREMY PIVEN / Ari Gold – “Entourage”
TONY SHALHOUB / Adrian Monk – “Monk”

I think the main competition here is Carell, because The Office won Best Ensemble last year, and the SAGs do have this odd trend to award actors on good shows the year after the show wins, if that makes sense. Shalhoub could repeat, but he hasn’t won since 2005, and if Piven hasn’t won yet, he’s not going to. I’ve called Jack Donaghy the best character on TV before, so I bet the SAGs continue their trend of male comedy continuity and go with Alec Baldwin.

Let’s move at random to the category that has seen six winners over the last six years, and with last year’s winner Chandra Wilson not nominated, only one nominee could prevent it from being the seventh:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes – “Damages”
EDIE FALCO / Carmela Soprano – “The Sopranos”
SALLY FIELD / Nora Walker – “Brothers & Sisters”
HOLLY HUNTER / Grace Hanadarko – “Saving Grace”
KYRA SEDGWICK / Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson – “The Closer”

This is just not a very deep year, so I could see the SAG going in a few different routes here. Close and Field represent sentimentality, it’s Falco’s last go for Sopranos, and Hunter and Sedgwick probably have more screen time than the other three. I sort of want to pick Field here, but I think outside of Jennifer Garner’s win, the SAG is recognizing the show as much as the actor. In that vein, let’s go with Falco pulling out her second SAG. Let’s stay with the ladies and move onto Female Comedy, which has a rather formidable field of names:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
CHRISTINA APPLEGATE / Samantha Newly – “Samantha Who?”
AMERICA FERRERA / Betty Suarez – “Ugly Betty”
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 Rock”
MARY-LOUISE PARKER / Nancy Botwin – “Weeds”
VANESSA WILLIAMS / Wilhelmina Slater – “Ugly Betty”

I think the big question here is whether Ferrera repeats her win from last year, or whether Williams’ nomination is indicative that Ugly Betty might have two names split the vote. In that case, the favorite would have to be Tina Fey, who gets unsaid bonus points for writing the show, too. I’d love Mary Louise-Parker to win just to give her more on-screen time in her dress, but because I like my splitting the votes theory, I’m going Fey. With Baldwin and Fey getting my predictions, will the SAG have to award “30 Rock”?

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 ROCK
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
ENTOURAGE
THE OFFICE
UGLY BETTY

It’s certainly a fight between three in my book: “30 Rock” which might have two winners, “Ugly Betty” which has a previous winner and two formidable nominees, and the repeat “Office”. While the latter is my favorite, I don’t think this is the year. So it becomes a toss-up. Every year Mullally and Hayes won, the SAG did not give “Will and Grace” the award. But when Allison Janney and Martin Sheen both won for two straight years, so did “West Wing”. I’m going “Ugly Betty” here, and entering my prediction of “30 Rock” in 2009 into the book now. Onto male drama, where somehow C.T. was not nominated for his amazing performance in MTV’s The Gauntlet.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
JAMES GANDOLFINI / Tony Soprano – “The Sopranos”
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan – “Dexter”
JON HAMM / Don Draper – “Mad Men”
HUGH LAURIE / Dr. Gregory House – “House”
JAMES SPADER / Alan Shore – “Boston Legal”

On one hand, we could see Hugh Laurie win for the second consecutive year, and establish himself as one of the great TV actors of his generation (oh, the hyperbole). Or, this represents the fight that will come up big on the next award: newbie (Jon Hamm) vs. old bag (James Gandolfini). But I’m going to use some backwards logic here, and say Hamm wins here, and The Sopranos win their first Ensemble win in our last category:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
BOSTON LEGAL
THE CLOSER
GREY’S ANATOMY
MAD MEN
THE SOPRANOS

Don’t count out Mad Men, though.

Official WHAP Predictions for SAG Awards

Best Dramatic Female: Edie Falco
Best Comedic Female: Tina Fey
Best Dramatic Male: Jon Hamm
Best Comedic Male: Alec Baldwin
Best Drama Ensemble: The Sopranos
Best Comedic Ensemble: Ugly Betty.

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