Who Votes For The SAG Awards?

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
Every awards show has a personality. The Golden Globes are a party. The Academy Awards are prestigious. And for those in the know, the SAG Awards, which honor outstanding performances in TV and film, are practically psychic.
The SAG Awards are chosen by members of the SAG-AFTRA guild. Historically, the SAGs have been a top-notch predictor for the Academy Awards. The award shows’ overlap is often uncanny. Last year, for example, Gary Oldman's performance in Darkest House and Frances McDormand's in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri garnered them SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance. A few weeks later, both Oldman and McDormand went on to receive Oscars. Also, films that win the SAG Awards’ Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture often go on to nab Best Picture, like last year’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
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Why have the SAG Awards developed a reputation as the forecaster of awards season? It all goes back to the SAG Awards’ voting party. Meet SAG-AFTRA; discover its power. When you watch the SAG Awards on January 27 at 8 p.m., watch with your Oscar predictions ready.
Real quick: What's are the SAG Awards?
The SAG Awards are a relatively new addition to awards season. They've been around since 1995, and telecast since 1998. The awards are chosen by SAG-AFTRA, two unions that merged in 2012: the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
As of 2012, there are 165,000 active members of SAG-AFTRA. According to the organization’s website, members include, “Actors, announcers, broadcasters journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals..”
That is a lot of people. How does SAG Awards' nomination process work?
It is a lot of people, especially when compared to other award show voting bodies, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, has 7,000 voting members. The Golden Globes are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press, an exclusive group of 90 foreign journalists.
The SAGs are nominated by a whittled down group of SAG-AFTRA members. Each year, two groups of 2,500 randomly chosen SAG-AFTRA members form a television nominating committee and a film nominating committee. These two committees choose nominees in 15 categories across television and film.
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Once the nominees are announced in December, all members are eligible to vote on the winners. After serving in the Nominating Committee, members are ineligible to serve again for eight years.
Why are the SAGs such an honor for actors?
Obviously, receiving any award is an honor. But the SAG Awards are special. These are the only accolades for actors chosen entirely by an actors’ peers in SAG-AFTRA.
Is there an overlap between the SAG Awards' and the Academy Awards' voting parties?
Yes, you wise one. The Academy is comprised of people throughout the entertainment industry, from makeup artists to actors. So, many SAG voters are also members of the Academy.
What does this mean for the Academy Awards?
It means the SAGs are a good predictor for the Academy Awards. When it comes to the Oscars, only actors vote for awards in acting categories. So, the same people voting for Best Actor in the Academy Awards are also the people voting for Best Actor in SAGs. For further insight into the Academy Awards' directing and writing categories, tune into the Directors Guild Awards and Writers Guild Awards.
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