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5 reasons why Jamie Lee Curtis (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’) could pull off a SAG Awards shocker

It was 28 years ago that Jamie Lee Curtis attended the inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards, as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Helen Tasker in the action comedy “True Lies.” She would watch as Dianne Wiest accepted the prize for her portrayal of another Helen (Sinclair) in the gangster gag show “Bullets Over Broadway.” (Wiest would go on to claim the Oscar, a bookend to her first statuette for 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters.”)

Now, almost three decades later, Curtis has once again been singled out by the SAG Awards. She contends for the ensemble award as part of the cast of A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” And she has another shot at the supporting actress title for her turn as the unpitying IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre. “Everything Everywhere” holds an overwhelming lead in the Gold Derby odds for SAG’s top honor, making it almost inevitable that Curtis will become an official champion come February 26.

But can she make it two for two? Some might think it impossible. Others may say that it’s unlikely. But I’m here to tell you that it could very well happen. Here are five reasons why Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) could pull off a Best Supporting Actress shocker at the upcoming SAG Awards.

SEE 2023 Oscar nominations: Full list of nominees in all 23 categories

1. She’s Jamie Lee Curtis.
When it comes to SAG-AFTRA, never underestimate the importance of name recognition. And her three names make her among the best-known and most beloved actors in the industry. Remember, her big screen career began almost a half-century ago, as heroine Laurie Strode in 1978’s horror classic “Halloween.” She’s since appeared in almost 50 features, including popular films like 1983’s “Trading Places,” 1988’s “A Fish Called Wanda,” 1991’s “My Girl,” 2003’s “Freaky Friday and 2019’s “Knives Out.” (And as referenced earlier, her Golden Globe-winning and SAG-nominated turn in 1994’s “True Lies.”) She additionally has a solid TV resume to boot, with credits in everything from romantic comedies like 1989-92’s “Anything but Love” (Golden Globe winner) to television movies such as 1995’s “The Heidi Chronicles” (Golden Globe nominee) and 1998’s “Nicholas’ Gift” (Emmy nominee) to 2015-16’s horror comedy “Scream Queens” (Golden Globe nominee).

She’s also an accomplished children’s book author and prominent human rights activist. In short, she’s a genuine icon. And that’s hard for voters to ignore. I can’t help but think back to the 17th SAG Awards, when the late and legendary Betty White competed at the laurels for the first time for the TV series “Hot in Cleveland.” Emmy and Golden Globe recipient Jane Lynch in “Glee” look poised to complete a hat trick by grabbing the award for Best TV Comedy Actress. But White gleefully took to the stage, leaving Lynch out in the cold. The reason? Checking off the name of the beloved White proved to be irresistible to SAG voters. Curtis actually paid tribute to White at last year’s Academy Awards. This year, JLC could follow White’s footsteps by becoming another SAG surprise honoree.

2. She arguably has the strongest SAG material.
I know, this is very subjective. So let me try and break this down as objectively as possible. First of all, Curtis is cast completely against type as a disgruntled, unpleasant and seemingly unhappy cubicle worker. She’s strikingly transformed onscreen, almost unrecognizable with the bad bob cut wig, old-fashioned eyeglasses and atrocious attire. And she plays numerous versions of an already quirky character, with a series of intense dramatic exchanges with “Everything” leading lady (and SAG Best Actress frontrunner) Michelle Yeoh. Can anyone else in the category top all of this? SAG Awards members usually go with the fiercest and flashiest performance. That means that JLC (and her hot dog fingers) could fight her way to the finish.

3. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” could sweep the SAG Awards.
The guild showered “EEAAO” with a record-tying five nominations. As I wrote earlier, it’s all but assured to take home SAG’s top ensemble award. Both Yeoh and Best Supporting Actor nominee Ke Huy Quan are almost locks in their respective categories. If guild members vote for “Everything” everywhere on the ballot, Curtis could ride the wave to victory.

4. She gets bonus points for “Halloween Ends.”
2022 was a signature year for the celebrated scream queen. While she said hello to “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” she also said goodbye to the “Halloween” franchise after more than 40 years. No more Laurie Strode. No more Michael Myers. No more shrieks, stabs, thrills and kills. She was heavily visible on the talk show circuit throughout the fall, promoting “Ends” while also touting “Everything.” A great many SAG members grew up watching Curtis in the “Halloween” movies. They could view voting for her as a way to reward her achievements in “Everything,” while also giving her a farewell hug for “Halloween.” Curtis’ first career Oscar nomination ironically comes after the “Halloween” ending. A SAG triumph for “Everything” could just be the beginning.

5. I’m hearing lots of votes for her.
And by lots, I do mean LOTS. During SAG awards season, I make a point of surveying as many SAG-AFTRA card-holders as possible. I acknowledge the fact there are well over 150,000 members, meaning that a sampling of a few hundred can’t really be a reliable measure. Nonetheless, my polling has proven to be accurate on a number of past occasions. Four years ago, I boldly guaranteed that Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody” would champion at SAG over odds-on favorite Christian Bale in “Vice.” Two years ago, I advised that Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” would likely topple SAG competitors Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” and Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.” Just last year, I promised that Troy Kotsur in “CODA” would hear his name called out over Kodi Smit-McPhee in “The Power of the Dog.” (Again, these were all about the SAG contests, not the Oscars.) So there is some power in extensive polling. And while I’ll concede that my results thus far can’t guarantee that Curtis will conquer, I can assure you that she’s definitely in the running. SAG voters absolutely LOVE “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” (About 80% of members I’ve spoken with are checking it for it for ensemble. If you’re one of the few predicting “The Banshees of Inisherin” to pick up the prize, you’re jumping off of a cliff.) They also LOVE Jamie Lee and LOVE her performance. So don’t be terribly shocked in the event that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” indeed wins almost everything everywhere at SAG, making Jamie Lee Curtis scream like she’s never screamed before.

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