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SAG Awards give actors a chance to evaluate colleagues

Fetch the designer duds and start the juice cleanse. Next stop on the awards train: The Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.

Although not an exact predictor of the Academy Awards – but cherished in their own right – the SAG Awards will give moviegoers a sense of how actors feel about their fellow performers in some of the highest profile films of the year.

Some answers and questions about Sunday’s show:

1. What time do the SAG Awards start? And where can I find them on TV?

The show starts at 8 p.m. Sunday on cable’s TBS and TNT.

2. Who won a year ago?

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto from “Dallas Buyers Club,” Cate Blanchett from “Blue Jasmine” and Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave,” took top SAG honors and all repeated at the Academy Awards. “American Hustle” won the prize for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, but the Oscars crowned “12 Years a Slave” best picture.

This year, the cast in a motion picture nominees are: “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything.”

Those five are among the eight Oscar nominees for best picture along with “American Sniper,” “Selma” and “Whiplash.”

3. Who votes for these prizes?

Two randomly selected panels of 2,200 members each choose the nominees for movies and TV. All active SAG-AFTRA members in the United States, or 111,228 people, receive voting information. That’s far more than the 6,124 Academy Award voting members although the actors branch is the largest.

4. Do nominations for the SAG Awards and Oscars match up this year?

No. The five actors nominated for a leading role are Steve Carell from “Foxcatcher”; Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”; Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”; Michael Keaton, “Birdman”; and Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything.”

For the Academy Awards, Gyllenhaal didn’t make the cut, but Bradley Cooper from “American Sniper” did.

In the leading actress category, SAG voters nominated Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”; Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”; Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”; Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”; and Reese Witherspoon, “Wild.”

Oscar voters added Marion Cotillard from “Two Days, One Night” to the mix and omitted Aniston.

The supporting actor contenders for the Oscar and SAG Award match exactly: Robert Duvall from “The Judge”; “Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”; Edward Norton, “Birdman”; Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”; and J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash.”

For supporting actress, the Oscars invited Laura Dern from “Wild” to the party while SAG Award voters opted for Naomi Watts from “St. Vincent.” Both voting blocks singled out Patricia Arquette from “Boyhood,” Keira Knightley from “The Imitation Game,” Emma Stone from “Birdman” and Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods.”

5. Is there a lifetime award?

Yes, and Debbie Reynolds, 82, a veteran of movies, Broadway, TV, cabaret and concerts, will receive it. She also has been a champion for preservation of the artifacts of film history and for the understanding and treatment of mental illness. Her daughter, Carrie Fisher, will present the award.

6. Are there TV nominees?

Absolutely. Honors will be handed out for male and female actors in a TV movie or miniseries, male and female actors in a drama series, male and female actors in a comedy series, plus ensembles in drama and comedy series.

7. Who are the announced presenters?

Adrien Brody, Laverne Cox, Bryan Cranston, Cumberbatch, Eric Dane, Viola Davis, Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Redmayne, Tony Revolori and Simmons are the most recently announced presenters.

They join among others Keaton, Ellar Coltrane, Kevin Costner, SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard, Rashida Jones, McConaughey, Julia Roberts and Stone.

8. Is there anything unusual about these awards?

They honor stunt ensembles although recipients are named during the preshow. The red carpet will be webcast on sagawards.tntdrama.com along with sagawards.org and People.com starting at 6 p.m. The stunt winners will be named at 6:15 p.m.

Nominees for the film stunt ensemble are from “Fury,” “Get on Up,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Unbroken” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Competing in the TV comedy or drama series category: “24: Live Another Day,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “The Walking Dead.”

9. Who are pundits predicting to win?

Odds favor “Birdman” for ensemble, Keaton, Moore, Simmons and Arquette.

10. Who will the fashionistas be watching?

Jones, Stone and TV drama nominee Claire Danes, the latter to see if she redeems herself after her ill-fitting Valentino at the Golden Globes.

“E! Live From the Red Carpet” will start at 6 p.m. Sunday and “Fashion Police: SAG Awards” airs at 9 p.m. Monday.

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