SAG Awards TV Predictions 2021: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ and Other Top Contenders

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are always a unique one to predict, given the sheer size of the voting body. There are usually around 120,000 eligible voters every year, and they are spread out across the country. Often, the safe bet is to go with popular choices or names, given the broad SAG-AFTRA membership.

This year’s TV categories will see almost all new winners, as most of last year’s major honorees — including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “Fleabag,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Morning Show” — aren’t back. The only winner from 2020 back in contention is incumbent drama winner “The Crown,” which naturally is this year’s front runner as well in the category. In comedy, the race could come down to a face-off between “Schitt’s Creek” and “Ted Lasso.”

“The Crown” and “Schitt’s Creek” led all TV nominees this year with five nods each, while “Ozark” was close behind with four. Among networks, Netflix garnered the most nominations, with 17 (followed by HBO with seven).

This year’s SAG Awards take place on Sunday via a short, hour-long pre-taped special at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT April 4 on TBS and TNT. The TV winners all actually learned their fate via secret, pre-taped Zoom gatherings on Wednesday. Which means there are folks out there who already know whether these predictions are right or wrong. We’ll see if anything leaks before Sunday; but for now, here are our TV predictions:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: “The Crown” (Netflix)

The SAG nominating committee may love “Ozark,” but it loves “The Crown” even more. Last year’s winner is immediately this year’s drama ensemble frontrunner, and its potential back-to-back win is reminiscent of another British drama that did quite well at the SAG Awards over the years: “Downton Abbey,” which won on three different occasions. If there’s an upset here, it might be yet another British ensemble: “Bridgerton,” which became a phenomenon over the holidays and might be more top of mind for SAG voters. (Plus,”Bridgerton” boasts the largest ensemble of any drama nominated this year.) “Ozark” and “Better Call Saul” are previous nominees, but SAG hasn’t yet shown “Saul” the same kind of love it gave “Breaking Bad” (which won drama ensemble in 2014). “Lovecraft Country” is also a spectacular cast that SAG will hopefully keep in mind.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)

It’s a category of all newcomers except “Schitt’s Creek.” And although “Ted Lasso” is on fire (and sure to earn star Jason Sudeikis a win — more on that in a moment), voters will likely take this final opportunity to give “Schitt’s Creek” a well-deserved comedy ensemble win. It would cap an amazing awards streak for “Schitt’s Creek,” and why would SAG Awards be any different? But from this point on, as “Schitt’s Creek” exits the TV awards race, it will be “Ted Lasso” territory.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)

Well, one thing’s for certain: The female actor in a drama series award will be given to someone from either “The Crown” or “Ozark.” So forget concerns about nominees canceling out other nominees from the same show: That’s the case of everyone in this category. But although “Ozark” has earned Linney three SAG noms and two for Garner, SAG voters also gave Clarie Foy two back-to-back wins for playing Queen Elizabeth II on “The Crown.” Foy is gone but Olivia Colman is here as QE2. But Colman was also nominated last year, and although she’s usually awards catnip, voters may gravitate to the new this year — and that was Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, and Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. This is a tough one — but because of Anderson’s bigger star power, I lean to her as the winner.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Rege-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”)

Jason Bateman and Sterling K. Brown are previous winners here. But “Bridgerton” star Rege-Jean Page is currently all the rage, while Josh O’Connor could ride “The Crown” wave. No one should ever discount Bob Odenkirk either, but “Better Call Saul” deserves more than it’s received so far at the SAG Awards, and those snubs are likely to continue until perhaps its final season. Weighing everything here, it feels like Bateman — a beloved actor who has now also impressed as a director and producer — is “Ozark’s” most likely win at this year’s SAG Awards.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”)

Catherine O’Hara has never won a SAG Award. That oversight will likely be corrected on Sunday, as she takes home the comedy female actor win in addition to the “Schitt’s Creek” ensemble. Kaley Cuoco has earned raves for both her starring role and producing “The Flight Attendant,” and could be the upset. But with the two deserving stars of “Dead to Me” potentially cancelling each other out, that leaves the two stars of “Schitt’s Creek.” Annie Murphy is great, but Catherine O’Hara is legend.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)

Expect a repeat of the Golden Globes here, where another legend, Eugene Levy, will have to be content with his Emmy win in September — which ain’t bad. But Jason Sudeikis as “Ted Lasso” is the TV hero we all need right now, and Sudeikis endeared himself even more to audiences by showing up on the Globes’ Zoom screen dressed in sweats. Sudeikis for the win, with the caveat that the huge SAG voting body may contain enough members voting a straight “Schitt’s Creek” ticket, which means Eugene Levy can pull it off. (Apologies to Dan Levy, but in a faceoff between father and son, dad’s still got it.) It’s great to see Ramy Youssef and Nicholas Hoult here, but the nomination will have to do.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”)

People are still talking about “The Queen’s Gambit.” And those who haven’t seen it still know, via buzz, that Anya Taylor-Joy is amazing in it. She’s the frontrunner, but “I May Destroy You” star Michaela Coel is such a revelation, and her work so powerful and important, that it would be nice to see her up on stage. Of course, they’re the two least-known performers in this category, and voters could always go with superstars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett or Kerry Washington. This is a category that has generally gone to big names, including Kidman for “Big Little Lies.” But Taylor-Joy appears to be quickly entering that pantheon, so we lean toward her.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Bill Camp (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Sam Rockwell (“Fosse/Verdon”)

I know this much is true: Mark Ruffalo is on an awards tear. He won the Emmy for “I Know This Much Is True,” and recently picked up the Golden Globe as well. The SAG Award is likely next. Playing spoiler could be Hugh Grant, a four-time SAG nominee who hasn’t yet won the award. Ethan Hawke is deserving, but it’s possible not enough people have seen “The Good Lord Bird” — their loss. And who doesn’t love Daveed Diggs and “Hamilton,” but voters may be confused by a Broadway musical-turned-movie being in a TV limited series category. Bill Camp could enjoy the “Queen’s Gambit” bounce, but he’s not in it enough to really make sense for a win. It’s not going to be a rough night for Ruffalo.

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