For the SAG Awards producers, the seating chart is half the fun. How else would we have gotten that epic GIF of Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet hugging if they weren’t seated next to each other when DiCaprio won best actor at the 2016 show?
“It really is a living, breathing puzzle,” producer Dana Kenerson tells PEOPLE. “That’s part of what makes it fun and part of what makes it different each year. It’s a painting, and it’s funny on show day to see that painting come to life. It’s fun to see how it takes a shape and a life of its own.”
As for what’s in store this year, Kenerson, along with director of awards Jen Coyne-Hoerle and supervising producer Jon Brockett, gave PEOPLE an exclusive sneak peek of the seating chart, which is a bit different than in years past since they opted for round tables instead of the usual rectangular ones this time around.
“This year feels brand new because we’ve switched from our long rectangular tables of the past to rounds, which actually makes it a little easier math-wise to flip flop and play and switch positions,” Coyne-Hoerle says. “All of our tables used to be different sizes so it was more precise like, we have 18 that can fit here, we have 24 that can fit here. So it actually made things a little easier this year.”
This year, though, Coyne-Hoerle says they’ve had to take into account more crossover between nominees and projects than they’ve ever had to before.
“Scarlett Johansson, for example, is individually nominated in support for Jojo Rabbit, she’s part of the cast for Jojo, but she’s also nominated for Marriage Story, so we’re trying to get Jojo near Marriage Story,” she says. “But then you also have Alfie Allen who’s in Jojo and also in Game of Thrones. He wants to sit in Game of Thrones and be close to Jojo, and then you have Sam Rockwell who’s sitting with Jojo but wants to be close to [Fosse/Verdon costar] Michelle Williams.”
“Nicole Kidman is sitting with Big Little Lies but we want her close to Bombshell, obviously,” she continues. “Then we also sometimes have to take into account that there’s some famous dates in the mix. Like Keith Urban with Nicole Kidman or Catherine Zeta-Jones with Michael Douglas or Naomi Watts with Billy Crudup or Joe Jonas with Sophie Turner.”
Coyne-Hoerle says that when they’re figuring out seating, they also take into account who is seated at tables nearby and could possibly be in the background of a shot.
“We’re thinking, ‘Who are we seeing from the stage? When we’re getting an individual shot of this person, who might we see behind them?'” she says. “Once we’ve kind of gotten the nuts and bolts and numbers down, then we can play a little more with the surprises of who you might see behind Jennifer Aniston and things like that.”
While Aniston is seated a few tables behind ex Brad Pitt (who is seated with Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood costar DiCaprio), Kenerson admits he “has some secret hopes” of a run-in between the two (like the rest of the world).
When first starting the seating chart, Kenerson, Coyne-Hoerle and Brockett placed the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood table at the center of the “family tree” and built on the chart from there since they wanted to keep star Margot Robbie, who is also nominated for Bombshell and sitting at that table with costar Charlize Theron, nearby.
A few tables over, at table 31, there will be an In Living Color reunion between Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez, who both appeared on the ’90s sketch show. Seated amongst them is Rocketman actor, Taron Egerton.
“We just thought it was fun if that stays,” Kenerson says. “To see [artists like] Jennifer Lopez in the mix in the room is also a different element to see other actors interacting with them. I think it adds another fun flavor to the mix.”
At the end of the day, the three want the nominees to just enjoy themselves.
“We want this to be as fun as possible and also full of some nice reunions that might be a wonderful surprise for people,” Coyne-Hoerle says. “It’s a lot of mixing and mingling because you never know who is a fan of Game of Thrones or who’s a Schitt’s Creek fan or something like that. It’s fun to mix everybody together and ultimately it’s a showcase of all of our union members.”
Kenerson adds, “Sometimes we say it’s similar to a singles table at a wedding. People also meet. Sometimes they may have met before, sometimes they’re meeting that day. We are trying to make it a fun mix. Maybe they do have a history, they were in acting class together years ago.”
The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air live Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS.