Sarah just wrote in the previous post about the Best Actress Oscar race and how it’s pretty much a dead heat between Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett now after the SAG Awards. On the Best Actor side, it’s tight too. Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan is really the only acting category where there’s an overwhelming favourite. I don’t think anyone can say with certainty in the other three categories that there’s a safe bet. 


So where the Best Actor race is concerned, coming into the SAGs, Austin Butler was picking up a lot of momentum, especially off his Best Actor win at the BAFTAs last week. Austin previously won the Golden Globe, which secured his nomination. His win at the BAFTAs surprised a few experts so, coming into the SAGs, it was a big question mark which way the actors’ union would break. 

And they broke for Brendan Fraser in The Whale which definitely puts him in the lead for the Oscars as voting begins this coming Thursday with the actors branch making up the biggest voting block of the Academy. Everyone at this point of the conversation gave a worthy performance – so this isn’t about quality, and it may not even be about preference; this is about the personal narrative. 


Brendan’s is an amazing comeback story. So many actors, in and out of that room, can relate to the experience of being nearly broken by an industry that sometimes doesn’t love you back. So many of them are hoping that they’ll get the opportunity that Brendan seized for himself, the opportunity that brought him to this place, with the SAG trophy in his hand. That emotional acceptance certainly helped – his voice raw, his eyes wet, his hands shaking, Brendan made his case to the Academy. 

But Austin wasn’t entirely invisible either. The seating arrangement worked in his favour. Netflix knew what they were doing here, putting Austin and Zendaya side-by-side in the center of the room so that the cameras could find them, consistently. 


A word here, then, on this new world of streaming award shows. Because that’s where we’re heading, with SAG the first to go online only – no conventional television broadcast – and it’s not like Netflix doesn’t know how to cater to an online audience. They know exactly who Twitter and TikTok want to see. They also know that that’s the viewership they need to make this sh-t viable going forward. So they served up the visuals that will deliver on social media. I mean, just look at this table: 

That’s a meme dream, the Avengers of Twitter right there. And the combination of Austin and Zendaya…

They are friends and co-stars (Dune 2). Which means that there could be a chance, in our near future, when Austin and Zendaya will be joined by two other social media cultural superstars, Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh. That might be the thing that actually burns out the motherboard. More on Zendaya later. 


For now, back to Austin and his Oscar chances. He’s definitely not in the lead for Best Actor, but he’s still working that goodwill. Given his seating assignment, he was in perfect position to be the escort last night. He walked Jennifer Coolidge up the steps:

And Sally Field too. 

That might play well with the older voters. Although Sally’s the winner here, in more ways than one. This tweet killed me. 


Austin’s chivalry will definitely earn him some points. But enough points? Austin’s strength in the race, on top of his performance as Elvis, is that many more people saw Elvis than The Whale, and his film is boosted by multiple nominations, including Best Picture. That said, the Academy tends to award actresses on the younger side but not actors on the younger side. Austin is 31 years old. And while he’s been acting since he was a kid, there are probably a lot of people in the industry who think that he’s got time, that now is not his time. We’ll find out soon enough. We’re inside two weeks now to the Oscars. 

Before we go though… 

Let’s just appreciate the fashion. This red suit is SO GOOD on him. With the waistcoat and a slight flare in the pants. I can’t with how attractive he is. Also how happy he was for Ke Huy Quan.