Numlock Awards: Most of the acting races have their frontrunner
Numlock Awards is your one-stop awards season newsletter. Every week, join Walt Hickey and Michael Domanico as they break down the math behind the Oscars and the best narratives going into film’s biggest night. Today’s edition comes from Walter.
Last week’s SAG Awards were particularly revealing in a bunch of the acting categories, and in some specific races, they were the best-quality data we’re going to get all year. Let’s dive in and see where these races stand.
Best Supporting Actress
Given her lead so far, Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) is going to be our frontrunner no matter what happens at the Critics’ Choice Awards or BAFTA. The only way we’d have a competitive situation here is if Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) picks up hardware at both BAFTA and the Critics’ Choice, but even that wouldn’t be enough to give her a hypothetical lead.
Best Supporting Actor
Troy Kotsur won big at SAG. CODA also took the top prize, which put the movie on even more people’s radar, which could be great for Kotsur. This race is far from over, but the two most-predictive awards, the Globe and the SAG, have gone out and split. Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) is very much still in this, but losing the SAG head-to-head matchup against Kotsur isn’t great for that campaign. We’ll see what happens at the Critics’ Choice — so far, local critics’ groups have favored Kodi Smit-McPhee according to the model.
It’s really looking to be Will Smith’s year! He’s won both of the awards up for grabs, and he won them against the same people he’ll be facing off against at the Academy Awards. The BAFTA is weird this year — we talked a little bit about their nomination tweaks in early February — but it’ll be interesting to see if Smith can beat Cumberbatch on his home turf, and the Critics’ Choice, while not particularly adept at Best Actor recently, will be one to watch to see if Smith’s momentum holds.
This category is wild this year because the BAFTA, normally the best predictor of Best Actress, completely whiffed it — none of the women nominated at the BAFTAs are also nominated for an Oscar. As a result we’re flying with some broken instruments this year, and we’ll likely be a little less confident in our final forecast. That said, Jessica Chastain’s win at SAG for The Eyes of Tammy Faye will make her the inevitable frontrunner going into Oscar night, and she’s got a great case this year I think: a movie she fought to produce, involving a real person, and as a well-regarded but un-awarded actress. I can see it! If the Critics see it too, you can bet on it.
The win at SAG was a huge shot in the arm for CODA’s campaign, but it’s still a tight race out there. With no BAFTA or DGA nomination, it’ll really have to get a win at the PGA to be considered a major contender going into Oscar night, but the SAG win put it seriously in the mix.