LOS ANGELES, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Lady Gaga and the cast of musical drama “A Star is Born” are competing for awards from Hollywood’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) on Sunday at a red-carpet ceremony that may provide clues about which film has an edge in next month’s wide-open Oscars race.
Gaga and co-stars Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott are in the running for best movie ensemble, the top film honor at the SAG Awards, alongside the casts of superhero flick “Black Panther,” historical dramedy “BlacKkKlansman,” romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” and Golden Globes best drama winner “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
With 160,000 members, SAG-AFTRA is Hollywood’s largest actors union. The SAG awards are closely watched because actors form the largest voting group in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars.
Only one film in the last 23 years has won the prestigious best picture Oscar without being nominated for SAG’s ensemble prize. That was last year’s fantasy romance “The Shape of Water.”
That scenario could be repeated this year as best picture contenders, including Spanish-language drama “Roma,” British period comedy “The Favourite” and Golden Globe best comedy winner “Green Book,” did not make it into the SAG Awards contest. Awards experts say no clear leader has emerged for best picture, which will be awarded during the Feb. 24 Oscars telecast.
“A Star is Born” is a remake of a classic Hollywood story about a young woman trying to make it in show business. Both Lady Gaga and Cooper are nominated for their individual performances.
“Star is Born” is the favorite in the close SAG race, but experts say the top prize could go to “Black Panther,” the first big-budget superhero movie with a predominantly black cast and the year’s second-highest-grossing movie worldwide.
Other lead actress nominees include Glenn Close for her performance as a devoted spouse in “The Wife,” and Olivia Colman as a narcissistic queen in “The Favourite.” Both won Golden Globes acting awards.
Best actor nominees include Golden Globe acting honorees Christian Bale, who has been widely praised for transforming himself into a portly U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for political satire “Vice,” and Rami Malek as the late Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The SAG Awards ceremony also will honor the year’s best television performances. Top nominees include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a comedy about a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian, and drug cartel drama “Ozark.”
SAG also will recognize M*A*S*H” TV star Alan Alda with a lifetime achievement award. “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally will host the televised ceremony.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Richard Chang