Screen Actors Guild Nominations: 2015

Trumbo poster
A stronger showing than anyone could’ve expected.

SAG announced their nominations today.

Historically, the film that wins Best Ensemble here has to be considered the Best Picture frontrunner. Looking at that category, it seems pretty likely.

But as far as the individual acting categories are concerned…things can get strange. Sometimes SAG nominates actors who seemed primed for an Oscar nod and failed to connect (Oprah in The Butler, for one), and other times they nominate someone seemingly out of the blue (Naomi Watts in St. Vincent, Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy).

I can’t speak about the former, but the latter is surely on display today.

Johnny Depp Whitey Bulger
Not out of the race yet.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Johnny Depp, Black Mass
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Ugh. We really had to let Eddie Redmayne in?

Looking at the rest of the nominations, I see absolutely no reason why they couldn’t have gone for Ian McKellen instead. And, though I haven’t seen The Danish Girl, I have to assume his was the bettter performance.

And even then, there’s Abraham Attah, Matt Damon, Michael B. Jordan, Will Smith…they could’ve done better.

On the other hand, it’s nice to see Cranston here. I saw Trumbo the other day and really liked it. I don’t know if this’ll translate into an Oscar nod–probably not, but if the Globes nominate him too…maybe–but he’s good in it (my #6–Damon is my #5, but it’s very, very close), and given how weak this year has been for this category, I wouldn’t mind his being there at all.

Fassbender, of course, is my #3, and Depp my #4, with Leo likely to make the top 5 whenever I’m able to see that film. So not a terrible category. Could’ve been better, but that’s life.

I’m guessing Leo wins?

Woman in Gold Helen Mirren
In the mix, somehow. (Source)

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back


For THAT?!

Thanks a fucking lot, Harvey.

To be fair, she was apparently good in that film. But the Weinsteins absolutely bought that nomination.

Charlotte Rampling, Blythe Danner, Charlize Theron…there are so many better choices that could’ve been made.

I can’t see the Oscars going for her, but…this really threw me for a loop.

And that’s without mentioning Silverman. I guess I should try and see that film. It’d help to know anything about it.

She’s a wife and mother suffering from depression and drug addiction. 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Seemingly a film that was built to showcase her work.

I’m glad for her, but these “showcase” roles always feel like bad choices for awards. I think that’s why Cake went nowhere.

As for the rest of the list…Larson and Ronan (my #2 and the only one I’ve seen so far) are locks. This race is really between them. Blanchett will almost certainly get in, but she isn’t winning. Not so soon after her second Oscar.

I’ll give the slight edge to Ronan, but Larson could easily win this.

Beasts of No Nation Idris Elba
Welcome to the party, Mr. Elba. (Source)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
  • Jacob Tremblay, Room


Still need to see that film, but he’s inherently awesome. I really hope he can get an Oscar nod for this. (The whole being-a-Netflix-film issue might fuck him over, but I’ve heard nothing to confirm that.)

I like this category all right, actually. I’ve only seen Rylance (my #6), but I love Michael Shannon (though an Oscar nod is probably out of reach), and I’m really glad Jacob Tremblay got noticed, since he seems to have been snubbed most of the season in favor of Larson and “Youth Performer” awards.

Bale seems like a throwaway, though. I’m now fully willing to give that film a chance, but I don’t see why they didn’t just go with Tom Hardy. Or Stallone (who’s probably a genuine snub here). Paul Dano probably got screwed because of category confusion.

Also, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo aren’t here. I’m not complaining (I don’t think Ruffalo was that good), but it does make me wonder about their chances.

I’m actually not sure who might win this. Rylance, possibly, but I don’t quite see it (as a winner).

A good day for both of them. (Source)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Mirren again?!

Okay, I can sort of understand it here. She’s good in the film–she plays Hedda Hopper, who’s firmly in you-love-to-hate-her territory. She’s my #19.

Still…really? Over Kristen Stewart, Julie Walters, and Jennifer Jason Leigh? It feels like a throwaway. Both of her nominations do, honestly. I have no idea what happened there.

Mara, category issues aside, is pretty much a lock. McAdams is solid (#11 on my list), so I’m okay with her being here. Vikander I’m fine with because she had a good year (though if she got on for Ex Machina, I’d be ecstatic). Winslet is my #6, so she works.

Not really sure who’ll win this. I’ll guess Vikander. Mara could upset. Or Mirren, and I just shit myself.

Straight Outta Compton poster

Cast in a Motion Picture:

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Trumbo

Um…okay, then.

Let’s just go through these one by one.

Beasts is a strange case–only three cited actors (Abraham Attah, Elba, and Kurt Egyiawan). This could actually give it a solid Oscar boost. Don’t bank on it, but the fact that it got in at all suggests there might be significant support in the industry.

The Big Short feels like the kind of film that was made for this category. It’s still weird to think of it as an awards contender–yes, everyone else did from the start, but I was, as you know, not at all convinced–but here we are. I still don’t think it’s an Oscar lock, but its stock is definitely rising. It also has the advantage of being one of the few true comedies of the year with any real shot at awards attention. So if it does well with the Globes tomorrow…consider yourself warned.

It won’t win this, but this is very much a point in its favor.

Spotlight I still consider overpraised–though I’ve mellowed on it a tad–but I actually am okay with it winning this (which it will–I can’t see anything else taking it), because the ensemble here is really greater than the sum of its parts. Many of the best performances in the film are from those on the edges of the story–like Neal Huff, who could probably contend for an Oscar if he had more screentime–and the result is a film with few true standouts, but a mostly very consistent standard of performance.

Straight Outta Compton, as I’ve said elsewhere, I really need to see again before I can offer up my thoughts. I don’t recall the acting being so good that it needed to be nominated, but the fact that two films with mostly POC casts made this list, in a year where few POC are in the running for major awards, is pretty awesome.

I really have to imagine this has a legitimate shot at getting into Best Picture now. The Globes will help confirm that (though they are in of themselves not a sure thing), but it’s a very real possibility.

Trumbo is a complete left-field pick. I don’t even really get it (and three nominations? I didn’t think Bleecker Street had such deep pockets), since aside from Cranston the performances aren’t really awards-caliber. It’s a good film (I honestly like it more than Spotlight) but I would be very shocked if it received any further major nominations.

As for omissions here, let’s just go down the list:

  • Carol – Not enough outside of Blanchett and Mara? Probably it was close to getting in.
  • The Hateful Eight – Hasn’t been seen, I guess?
  • Joy – Reviews aren’t too hot. It’s probably done for (though no Jennifer Lawrence is a surprise).
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – Wishful thinking.
  • The Martian – Not sure how this missed out (completely, no less). I’ll guess genre bias.
  • The Revenant – Too much a one-man show, maybe? Gravity didn’t get in, either.
  • Steve Jobs – I can’t explain this one. They gave it two nods, so they obviously liked it. Or maybe they felt that was enough.


Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:

  • Everest
  • Furious 7
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Nice to see some attention for Everest.

But Max should take this in a landslide, and probably will.

Tomorrow are the Globe nominations. Tomorrow this shit finally starts to take shape.

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