On the premise that every category rates a thread, a few words about one of my 99% slots.
Mahershala Ali (GREEN BOOK)
Adam Driver (BLACKKKLANSMAN)
Sam Elliott (A STAR IS BORN)
Richard E. Grant (CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?)
Sam Rockwell (VICE)
I daresay Sam Rockwell would be embarrassed if he were to, by some miracle, win. This seems as clear a case of hangover-nomination as we've ever seen.
For Adam Driver, this is the first step of a possible journey to an Oscar, not the culmination.
Sam Elliott -- on sentiment -- and Richard E. Grant -- on achievement -- are waiting in the wings should the front-runner falter.
But, so far, Mahershala Ali has not faltered. He's the only performer to sweep the TV awards, and no one who's done that has ever been denied the Oscar. (Eddie Murphy seemed to be a case in 2006, but that was before we understood that BAFTA had joined the run-up.) By all accounts he's a respected actor, with a prominent TV role people can watch during the voting period. And he's the least controversial element of his film -- even non-fans of Green Book, like me, can concede he's the best thing about it.
So, with all that, why do I say 99% rather than 100? The glaring fact that Ali won this category just two years ago, and there might be voters a bit more chary about dispensing seconds.
Don't throw Christoph Waltz at me. He was competing with an all-winner field; that was as close to a jump-ball as any race of recent years. Here we have serious competition who've never been awarded -- notably Grant, who was far more feted by critics groups than Ali.
I know: the repeat factor hasn't hurt him so far this year. But, of course, two of his TV wins (Globe/BAFTA) were at places he didn't win in 2016. The SAG win is his best argument that the race is over, but I don't find that 100% persuasive. Just 99%. Which is fine: it means I can muster interest while the envelope is being opened.