SAG Awards: ‘Trumbo’ and ‘Beasts’ Surge, ‘Spotlight’ Actors and Matt Damon …

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Trumbo’ leads SAG noms in murky awards season.

On Wednesday morning, some 2,200 actors who normally have to beg for the attention of Hollywood’s bigwigs like everyone else instead had their undivided attention.

The comedian, who is of Mexican descent and spent part of his childhood there, is up for the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series alongside “Modern Family’s” Ty Burrell, William H.The people who have been closely following this awards season will be the first to tell you that the nominations from the Screen Actors Guild this year are pretty wild. That’s because the former, in their capacity as members of the SAG Awards nominating committee for film awards, had determined and were revealing the nominations for the 22nd SAG Awards, which could shape the Oscar prospects of the latter’s top contenders.

Mirren was also nominated for a supporting performance for “Trumbo.” The lead actor nominees were more expected, with recognition for Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), and Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”). Well, it’s actually more appropriate to use the past tense — were — since voting, which closed on Dec. 7, began way back on Nov. 18, long before anyone saw The Hateful Eight or Joy, among other closely-guarded later releases. In a year when Hollywood’s lack of diversity has become of critical concern following last Oscar’s all-white acting slate, the individual performance nominees for movies remained largely monochromatic, save for Elba’s supporting nominations. And since some SAG nom-com voters don’t like to go to the cinema, or live in places between New York and LA where advance screenings are not held, screeners — or the lack thereof, in the case of the two aforementioned films — can also shape their decisions.

On the television side, the political drama “House of Cards” led with three nominations, including best drama ensemble, best male performance in a drama for Kevin Spacey and best female performance for Robin Wright. With those caveats firmly in place, I can note that SAG-AFTRA spread really its love around this year — 16 different productions were represented in the 25 non-stunt-related slots for film work — which basically is consistent with the still-existing perception that this is a wide-open year in virtually every major category. There were more diverse individual nominees in television than film, though, thanks to nominations for Elba, “Orange is the New Black’s” Uzo Aduba and Viola Davis of “How to Get Away With Murder.” The morning was unexpectedly great for Bleecker Street’s Trumbo, which landed one of the five coveted ensemble noms, plus noms for lead actor Bryan Cranston and supporting actress Helen Mirren; a year after Birdman’s big showing, perhaps we should have remembered how much the industry loves stories about itself. The leading actress SAG Award category, especially, has a few wild card slots in it this year with surprise nominees Helen Mirren (Woman in Gold) and Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back) joining more expected contenders like Brie Larson (Room), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), and Cate Blanchett (Carol).

Mirren and Silverman are also very reliable when it comes to spicing up a red carpet or delivering an unforgettable awards show speech, but can anyone really hold a candle to J. SAG-AFTRA is a more diverse group than the Academy and, for its open-mindedness, deserves a positive hashtag (#SAGNotSoWhite) just as the Academy’s aversion to color at last year’s Oscars merited a negative one (#OscarsSoWhite). But the reality is that the Compton cast, which is led by three actors nobody had heard of at this time last year, has gotten to this point because they earned it.

Other big winners today include Room, which didn’t get an ensemble nom — nobody expected it to — but did get two acting noms, only one of which (lead actress Brie Larson) was assured; the supporting actor nom for nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay is significant not only because of his age, but because it also cues Academy members about which category to vote for him in (at least in the hopes of A24). Also, Helen Mirren got a ringing endorsement from her peers, with a lead actress nom for the February release Woman in Gold — don’t complain to these people, Harvey Weinstein — to go with her supporting actress nom for Trumbo. And who couldn’t be happy for two underdogs who earned their acting noms — the only noms their very indie films received today — the old-fashioned way: not through campaigning (although they tried their best to keep up with the big guns), but through busting their asses and giving career-best performances. In other words, its worst nightmare came true: its wealth of supporting actor options, led by Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, may have canceled out each other’s prospects. Between now and the start of voting for Oscar noms on Dec. 30, Open Road may have to more clearly throw its support behind some members of its ensemble for individual acting noms.

Oddly, The Revenant might have felt better had it been entirely shut out this morning, as opposed to landing a single nom (for lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio), since its backers then could have argued that not enough voters saw it to give it a fair hearing. They have been downplaying expectations for it, noting that screeners of it were mailed with a watermark (to guard against piracy for a movie not yet in theaters) and that some nom-com members refuse to accept watermarked DVDs (not wanting to assume risk). For instance, the HFPA has designated The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander, Carol’s Rooney Mara and The Big Short’s Christian Bale — all nominated on Wednesday for supporting work — as leads. (Segel also was eligible as a lead). I expect the Globes to brighten the week for the male members of Spotlight’s cast, to champion The Big Short even more than SAG-AFTRA did and, as usual, to throw in a few wild-cards, such as an acting nom for Trainwreck’s lead actress Amy Schumer.

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