After SAG Awards Win, Oscar Buzz Spikes for Will Smith

'King Richard' role may earn him first Academy Award; same for Jessica Chastain for Tammy Faye biopic
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2022 7:55 AM CST
After SAG Awards Win, Oscar Buzz Spikes for Will Smith
Will Smith accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Barker Hangar on Sunday in Santa Monica, Calif.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

It's not a guarantee that if you win a Screen Actors Guild Award you'll also be taking home an Academy Award, but your odds do shoot up. That's why there's now Oscar buzz around Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, who both took home the top acting prize at Sunday's SAG event, for their performances in King Richard and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, respectively, per IndieWire, which calls Smith "the most likely to repeat at the Oscars." It would be the first Academy Award win for both actors, who've been nominated in the past: Smith for best actor in 2002 for Ali, then again in 2007 for The Pursuit of Happyness; Chastain for supporting actress in 2012 for The Help, then for best actress in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty.

Variety notes that if Smith and Chastain pull off Oscar victories, it would also be the first time a pair of actors won for films they produced. IndieWire notes that in recent years, "the SAG Awards and the Oscars have grown increasingly disparate," with plenty of surprises: In 2020, for example, the same actors in all four main acting categories took home both SAG and Academy awards, while in 2021, Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman both won the leading actor SAGs but failed to nab Oscars. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Glenn Whipp offers his predictions on whether "history will repeat itself" for this year's SAG winners at the Oscars. His forecast for Chastain: maybe. For Smith: a resounding "yes."

The SAG Awards were also notable this year for some historic wins, including best supporting actress winner Ariana DeBose of West Side Story, who became the first Latina to take home a SAG Award in the show's nearly three-decade history, per USA Today. Meanwhile, best supporting actor winner Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor to take home an individual acting award for his turn in CODA, which itself won for ensemble cast. Kotsur especially touched show attendees with his moving speech, which he signed to the audience. "I've been a SAG member since 2001," he noted, per IndieWire. "I feel like I am finally part of the family. I know you are all artists and know what it's like to be a starving actor; I slept in a car and backstage and couch-surfed." See the complete list of this year's SAG Awards winners here. (More SAG Awards stories.)

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