Wednesday, December 14, 2016

23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Nominations and Analysis

La La Land. La La Land. La La Land. What the hell just happened with La La Land? This hurts its front runner status, no doubt, and the folks for Fences, Moonlight, and Manchester By the Sea are probably jumping for joy today. But I think this is a trend we are going to have to realize will eventually come to an end. With the addition of AFTRA we have started to see less SAG effect on the Oscars. This past year was the first time, in 22 years, that a SAG acting winner for film did not earn at least an Oscar nomination (Idris Elba). The Oscar game is changing as well.  Remember when Argo couldn't win without Affleck? Remember that we have had only one director match up with Best Picture in four years? Remember that last year Spolight was missing the Eddie, and The Revenant and Mad Max the SAG ensemble, and they ended up being the three big winners of the night? While this stings for La La Land, with the preferential ballot, I am still picking it to win over darker choices like those films celebrating today mentioned above. The early date, the changing group that votes for SAG is pulling it further from Oscar. I think this could be the first year since 1995 that a film wins Best Picture without an Ensemble nod. The Revenant almost became the first last year. But it was not the SAG snub that ended The Revenant's march to glory. Hell, Tom Hardy sneaked in with zero major precursors, so the actors clearly liked this film. It was the preferential ballot that put Spotlight over the top. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

As for the other categories, there were some big surprises in the lead races, as the supporting races started to solidify. The current Best Supporting Actress nominees match the Globes 5/5. While BAFTA could throw a wrench in that plan. it looks like these are the five that are going for the gold. I was a bit surprised that Octavia Spencer got in over Janelle Monae, and I know that the team behind Hidden Figures is surprised as well, since they put their eggs in Monae's basket. But like Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water over his co-star Ben Foster, these voters are picking the actor they know and love already, over the newcomer they are unsure of. After the surprise inclusions of Simon Helberg and Aaron Taylor-Johnson at the Globes in Supporting Actor it looks like SAG steadied the ship a bit. I was interested to see if Ben Foster or the Fences trio could make a mark, but right now these five look poised to also go the distance to Oscar.

After the relative calm of the supporting categories, the lead ones threw me for a loop. I didn't expect Isabelle Huppert to continue her critical run here (BAFTA will probably nominate her), but the inclusion of Emily Blunt over Annette Bening or Ruth Negga was a shocker. The Girl on the Train was a critical dud, with the exception of Blunt, and honestly, I didn't even put her in my top ten. This is a big loss for Bening. I really thought that there was a distinct possibility that voters would rally behind the overdue veteran in a year with too many choices. It looks like this is the Portman v. Stone battle for the gold. However, now that I have had time to let these set in, Blunt's nod seems to make a bit of sense, at least from the actors. They have missed so many opportunities to reward here, including last year for Sicario. This is their way of finally making up for lost time. Best Actor has four actors that feel like they are locks: Garfield, Affleck, Washington, and Gosling. But then there is Viggo Mortensen, and Captain Fantastic in the ensemble list. A day after surprising at the Globes, Mortensen continues to surprise. Let's see who BAFTA puts in that final slot (it could be Edgerton for example). But for now, I think that Mortensen is setting himself for a surprise second Oscar nomination.

I will delve into the television nominations later, but after a couple of years of horrifying nominations, I think that despite a few major snubs, that they have done a much better job this time around.

Ensemble in a Film
Captain Fantastic
Hidden Figures
Manchester By The Sea

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester By the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, "Captain Fantastic"
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress
Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Emily Blunt, “The Girl on the Train”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester By the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester By the Sea”

Best Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things

Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
John Lithgow, "The Crown"
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, "Stranger Things"
Claire Foy, "The Crown"
Thandie Newton, "Westworld"
Winona Ryder, "Stranger Things"
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Tituss Burgess, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Best Actress in a ComedySeriesUzo Aduba, "Orange Is the New Black"
Jane Fonda, "Grace and Frankie"
Ellie Kemper, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Lily Tomlin,  “Grace and Frankie”

Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseires
Riz Ahmed, "The Night Of"
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
John Turturro, "The Night Of"
Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Bryce Dallace Howard, "Black Mirror"
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

Best Stunt Ensemble - Film
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Hacksaw Ridge
Jason Bourne
Nocturnal Animals

Best Stunt Ensemble - Television
Game of Thrones
Marvel’s Daredevil
Marvel’s Luke Cage
The Walking Dead

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