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SAG Awards: We predict Sunday's big TV winners

January 27, 2012 |  2:06 pm

Boardwalk Empire cast
SAG loves to boast about the size of its voting membership. (Nearly 100,000 final ballots served!) Next year, though, when it randomly picks 2,100 members to choose nominees on the television side, it might want to somehow find a few who actually … you know … watch TV. That way, we wouldn’t be asking, “What the heck is ‘Suits’ and why are you nominating Patrick J. Adams for lead actor in a drama?" (No offense, he’s Canadian, so we’re sure he’s a nice guy and all.)

Now that we’ve unloaded that burden, let’s figure out who, apart from Mr. Adams, might win the Actor on the TV side this year. Look for our film predictions here.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Good Wife”

And the winner is … SAG tends to reward shows with huge, sprawling casts (“The Sopranos,” “Lost,” “Mad Men”), another reason why the omission of Showtime standout “Homeland” remains a head-scratcher. (Who, exactly, constitutes “Dexter’s” ensemble?) Playing the numbers game, we’ll go with last year’s winner, “Boardwalk Empire,” narrowly over “Thrones.”

Unless … More SAG members grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons than we realize.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Glee,” “Modern Family,” “The Office”

And the winner is … “Modern Family” snags the repeat win.

Unless … Every SAG member who has snagged a “Glee” guest spot votes for it and convinces all their friends to do so as well.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: Patrick J. Adams, “Suits”; Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”; Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”; Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”; Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”

And the winner is … Cranston. Absolutely stunning that he has never won here, reinforcing the notion that SAG members fill out the TV slate with their brains on autopilot.

Unless … Buscemi repeats. Or the “Suits” audience is composed solely of SAG members.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

The nominees: Kathy Bates, “Harry’s Law”; Glenn Close, “Damages”; Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”; Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”’ Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

And the winner is … Logic would indicate a Margulies three-peat to go with the two Actors in this category for “ER.”

Unless … Some “Albert Nobbs” love filters into this category and Close makes good in her fourth try for “Damages.” Lange could also pull off the victory here as well.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”; Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”; Steve Carell, “The Office”; Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”; Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”

And the winner is … SAG’s TV awards have no supporting categories, pushing Stonestreet and Burrell to lead. Baldwin has won this award five years running, showing SAG’s profound love for his work as well as a decided lack of imagination. But Tina Fey’s pregnancy delayed the start of “30 Rock’s” sixth season, perhaps leaving the door open for a nice parting gift for Carell.

Unless … Voters have been going crazy TiVoing “30 Rock” in syndication.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

The nominees: Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”; Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”; Tina Fey, “30 Rock”; Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”; Betty White, “Hot In Cleveland”

And the winner is … The “Modern Family” members again crowd the category, leaving TV’s best comic actress, Amy Poehler, stupidly out of luck. Figuring White can’t repeat (can she?) and Fey won’t win for a fourth time, we’ll go with Bowen.

Unless … It’s her cast mate Vergara.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

The nominees: Laurence Fishburne, “Thurgood”; Paul Giamatti, “Too Big to Fail”; Greg Kinnear, “The Kennedys”; Guy Pearce, “Mildred Pierce”; James Woods, “Too Big to Fail”

And the winner is … HBO has an eight-year winning streak here and four of the five nominees. (Sorry, Greg.) Pearce won the Emmy; the Actor will make a nice bookend.

Unless … The well-respected Giamatti wins his third SAG award. Fishburne, who has never won, is also long overdue for recognition.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

The nominees: Diane Lane, “Cinema Verite”; Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”; Emily Watson, “Appropriate Adult”; Betty White, “Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Lost Valentine”; Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce”

And the winner is … Winslet. “Mildred Pierce” divided critics and audiences, but it’s catnip for anyone doling out awards. Like Pearce, Winslet won the Emmy for this role.

Unless … Everyone younger than 50 abstains from voting in this category.

RELATED:

SAG Awards: Slew of 'film actors' recognized for television work

SAG Awards: Who should win the ensemble honor?

SAG Awards: Demian Bichir on his surprise nomination

-- Glenn Whipp

Whipp writes the Gold Standard awards blog for The Envelope.

Photo: "Boardwalk Empire" cast members, from left, Steve Buscemi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Badalucco. Credit: Abbot Genser / HBO

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