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SAG Awards Are Oscars' Crystal Ball

January 28, 2002

Want to find a genuinely reliable prognosticator of this year's Academy Awards for best actor and actress? Then pay attention to the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

On Tuesday at 6:40 a.m., actress Marisa Tomei of "In the Bedroom" and Ted Danson of the TV sitcom "Becker" will join SAG President Melissa Gilbert at the Pacific Design Center's SilverScreen Theatre to announce the eighth annual SAG nominations in film and TV. Winners will be selected by the guild's 98,000 members.

For the last seven years, the SAG Awards have proved an uncannily accurate barometer of what to expect when the Oscars roll around, at least in the acting categories.

How accurate? Well, in six of the last seven years, the SAG statuettes have gone to actors who went on to win the Academy Award. Only Russell Crowe, who won the Oscar last year for "Gladiator," did not capture a SAG Award the same year--although SAG's best actor, Benecio del Toro in "Traffic," did win best supporting actor at the Academy Awards.

In the leading actress category, SAG twice failed to foreshadow the Oscar winner: when Jodie Foster won the SAG Award for "Nell," and Jessica Lange went on to win the Academy Award for "Blue Sky," and when Annette Bening took the SAG honor for "American Beauty," only to see Hilary Swank get the Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry."

Executive producer Jeff Margolis, who is overseeing his fourth SAG Awards telecast, said actors take the awards seriously because they are conveyed by their peers. The show will be broadcast March 10 on TNT from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Compiled by Times staff writers

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