2012 SAG Nominations: 10 things you should look for

Early tomorrow morning the Screen Actor’s Guild will get a jump on the HFPA and announce the nominees for the 2012 SAG Awards.  Unlike the Golden Globes, the SAGs are held in much higher esteem by most actors because they are being honored by their peers.  Of course, with such a large group of voters on the nominating committee(4,200 randomly selected members) you’re bound to get a few strange nods here and there.  Moreover, as the largest branch in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, how the actors (er, SAG) falls is generally (but not always) a good indicator of where the Academy Award nominations will land.  That being said, before you get up bright and early to hear Regina King and Judy Greer announce this year’s nods, keep these 10 things in mind.

[And, of course, look for complete team coverage of the SAG Awards beginning at 9:00 AM EST, 6:00 AM PST Wednesday morning on HitFix.]

Melissa McCarthy may be the new Betty White.
Not only could McCarthy land a best female in a comedy series nod (“Mike & Molly”), but female actor in a supporting role and ensemble nod for “Bridesmaids.”  They like you Melissa.  They really do! (We think so at least).

There are only three locks for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.
“The Artist,””The Descendants” and “The Help” are but guaranteed.  “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “The Tree of Life,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Drive” or, yes, “Bridesmaids” could fill out the rest of the field.

If “Hot in Cleveland” lands another outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series..
Now you know why everyone in LA knows you never date or marry actors.  Truth hurts.

Newsflash: “Mad Men” is not eligible this year.
Don’t panic yet Hamm fans. If “Bridesmaids” receives an ensemble nod that means Jon Hamm is still coming to the show.

Looking for a surprise nominee in supporting actor in a motion picture?

No, not Andy Serkis for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” but Jonah Hill for “Moneyball.”

Could “The Closer” be cut out?
SAG voters have traditionally given a lot of love to the venerable TNT series, but there may just be too much competition this year.

If Glenn Close can’t land a nomination for outstanding performance by an actress in a leading role…
She’s out of the Oscar race.  No matter what happens with the Golden Globe nominations.

Supporting players dominate the TV comedy nods, but are ignored in the drama category.
Because of the strange categories set up, last year six of 10 comedy acting nominations went to “supporting” performances, while 0 of 10 drama acting nominations went to “supporting” performances. 

If “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” receives zero nominations it’s not out of the Oscar game
Stephen Daldry’s emotional drama was the last player to screen and the first screening for the SAG nominating committee was only nine days before ballots were due.  To say that’s cutting it close is an understatement. 

Possible surprise nominees on the movie side include:
Ryan Gosling for “Drive” (lead actor), Joseph Gordon-Levitt for “50/50″(lead actor), Sandra Bullock for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (supporting actress), Woody Harrelson for “Rampart” (lead actor), Ben Kingsley for “Hugo” (supporting actor) and Rooney Mara for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (lead actress).

Look for complete team coverage of the SAG Awards beginning at 9:00 AM EST, 6:00 AM PST Wednesday morning on HitFix.

For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.

Daniel Fienberg contributed to this story.