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Screen Actors Guild Awards to offer Oscars preview

FILE - This Jan. 27, 2019 file photo shows a replica of The Actor statue on the red carpet at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

The 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards will kick off with a "Hamilton" reunion, feature a lifetime achievement award for Helen Mirren and, maybe, supply a preview of the upcoming Academy Awards.

The SAG Awards, taking place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, begin at 8 p.m. EST Sunday and air on both TNT and TBS. (The show will also be available to stream Monday on HBO Max.) After the January Golden Globes were a non-event, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be Hollywood's first major, televised, in-person award show — complete with a red carpet and teary-eyed speeches — this year.

While the Academy Awards aren't mandating vaccination for presenters (just attendees), it's required for the SAG Awards, which are voted on by the Hollywood actors' guild SAG-AFTRA. One actor in the cast of the Paramount series "Yellowstone," Forrie J. Smith, has said he won't attend because he isn't vaccinated.

"Hamilton" trio Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs will open the ceremony. Kate Winslet is to present the actors' lifetime achievement award to Mirren, a five-time SAG Award winner.

A starry group of nominees — including Will Smith, Lady Gaga, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman and Ben Affleck — will make sure the SAG Award don't lack for glamour.

Five films are nominated for the SAG Awards' top honor, best ensemble: Kenneth Branagh's "Belfast," Sian Heder's coming-of-age drama "CODA," Adam McKay's apocalypse comedy "Don't Look Up," Ridley Scott's high-camp "House of Gucci" and Reinaldo Marcus Green's family tennis drama "King Richard."

The leading Oscar nominee, Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog," failed to land a best ensemble nominations but three of its actors — Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee — are up for individual awards.

Winning best ensemble doesn't automatically make a movie the Oscar favorite, but actors hold the largest sway because they constitute the largest percentage of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Last year, the actors chose Aaron Sorkin's 1960s courtroom drama "The Trial of the Chicago 7," while best picture at the Oscars went to "Nomadland." The year before, SAG's pick of "Parasite" presaged the Oscar winner.

In the television categories, Apple TV+'s "Ted Lasso" comes in with a leading five nominations, closely trailed by HBO's "Succession," Apple's "The Morning Show" and Netflix's much-watched "Squid Game" — all of which are up for four awards.

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