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Streaming Platforms Dominate SAG Awards But Theater Owners See A Ray Of Hope

Chadwick Boseman (playing trumpet) and Viola Davis each received SAG Award nominations in lead actor categories for their roles in the Netflix film, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." (David Lee/Netflix)
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Four non-white performers took home the top film acting prizes, while streaming services collected a lot of trophies at Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards. But the weekend wasn't all bad for traditional major studios thanks to two giant beasts fighting it out at the multiplex.

Actors make up the biggest bloc among voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so the SAG Awards are often a harbinger of the Oscars. Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman won the lead actor and actress prizes for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

In fact, none of the acting winners were white: Daniel Kaluuya from Judas and the Black Messiah won for supporting actor, and Yuh-Jung Youn of Minari was best supporting actress.

The best ensemble award -- SAG’s equivalent of the best picture Oscar -- went to the Netflix film, The Trial of the Chicago 7.

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The major studios took home just a single SAG honor, Kaluuya's win for the Warner Bros. movie Judas and the Black Messiah. Yet there was some very good news for studios elsewhere: Godzilla vs. Kong set a pandemic box-office record with an opening gross of more than $48 million.

That’s about triple the previous Covid-era best, sety by Wonder Woman 1984. Those returns came even though theater attendance, especially in major markets, is often capped at 25% of capacity. What’s more, Godzilla is also available for streaming. One analyst said that without the attendance limits and streaming option, Godzilla could have grossed nearly $100 million.

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