It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the nominees for best ensemble at the Screen Actor’s Guild often mirror the eventual Oscar Best Picture nominees. After all, actors comprise of the largest branch of the Academy. In two of the last five years, the five SAG ensemble nominees matched Oscar five for five. Here are our predictions for 2007.

“The Departed”
“Little Children”
“Little Miss Sunshine”

Since the category is ensemble, films featuring an A-list cast are rarely overlooked. That being said, “Dreamgirls” and “The Departed” are as close to sure things as they come. “Little Miss Sunshine” boasts less big name stars, but features numerous Oscar-caliber performances by the likes of Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin. “Babel” is a close call, but we think the recent PGA nomination indicates it has more support than might originally appear. Plus, Rinko Kikuchi, Adrianna Barraza, and Brad Pitt (although undeservedly, in our opinion) are all contenders for best supporting actress/actor.

The biggest toss-up is the final slot, which to us is a showdown between “The Queen” and “Little Children.” “The Queen” has got to be the favorite, given its myriad awards and strong performances by Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen. However, beyond Mirren and Sheen, there is hardly anyone else. Thus, we’re siding with “Little Children,” which showcases the talents of Kate Winslet, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, and Jennifer Connelly. We’re also betting that SAG will want to be slightly different than the PGA, and “The Queen” seems like the weakest film of the bunch, at least when it comes to ensemble.

SAG nominees in the actor/actress categories are also revealed tomorrow and the nominees usually become instant frontrunners for Oscar nominations. But we’ll save that discussion for another time.

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