I do enjoy the SAG Awards, in which actors dress up nicely and blather on about how proud they are to be actors. (Good for them, but it gets awfully old.) Anyway, the SAGs are meaningful, as award shows go, in that they are voted upon by the 120,000-plus-member Screen Actors Guild union and therefore serve as a pretty good reflection of what actors think of other actors. (A few thousand of those SAG members are also Academy members; making the SAGs a decent but not foolproof prediction of the Oscar winners. Last year, it got all four right.) So, three out of four of last night’s movie-category SAGs basically served to make their categories a slam-dunk: Let’s just go ahead and hand those Oscars to Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) right now, and well-deserved, too.
And yet, things got a little interesting in the Best Actor category. I had been thinking that it was going to be a cakewalk for Michael Keaton — how could the Academy resist the story of a former superhero actor’s career revival, in a movie about exactly that? And, indeed, “Birdman” won for best acting ensemble (despite none of its players winning an individual award) — and Eddie Redmayne, looking shocked, won Best Actor, for “The Theory of Everything”. And he gave a speech so graceful and charming and not-quite-memorized that I think momentum may have just swung his way: