SAG Nominations: What Did We Learn Today?


The SAG Awards threw a wrench or two in the awards race today and we are feeling very giddy about it. Lots of moving pieces and analyses to make so here we go!

Best Ensemble correlating to Best Picture

The long-running stat that a Best Picture winner hasn’t been crowned without a SAG Ensemble nomination since 1995’s “Braveheart” (the first year that SAG existed) is still looking intact. However, it’s not that simple.  If you had been paying close attention, Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” was shut out of the nominations today. After checking in with a few SAG voters, nearly all of them expressed that they DID NOT receive screeners for voting.  This would explain the donut but, most importantly, it’s likely the one opportunity for the statistic to die.

As “The Post” continues to catch heat, especially after nabbing six Golden Globe nominations, it’s not over by a long shot.  I will confirm, Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” has just made a compelling case that it could very well win Best Picture in March– and that’s a win for everyone.

In other notes, “The Big Sick” bounced back after missing out on the Globes, while “Get Out” proves its strength with two nominations.  “Mudbound” and “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” are still within arms reach of nominations. They could even start making cases for themselves to be “the one” in the end, especially the latter.

Then there’s “The Florida Project” and “The Shape of Water” that missed today, that seemed all but assured spots.  What does it all mean for them?

The Acting Nominees

There were dings across the board, in every category.  Beginning with Best Actor, the Daniel Day-Lewis snub was expected as they didn’t receive screeners for “Phantom Thread” in time for voting.  He should still translate accordingly to an Oscar nomination in the end.

Timothee Chalamet landed a much needed SAG nomination, but co-star Armie Hammer was mysteriously omitted from Supporting Actor for “Call Me by Your Name” and I can’t fathom why.  We can’t blame it on screeners or anything of the sorts.  The only plausible reason is a vote-split with co-star Michael Stuhlbarg, but after we saw both men from “Three Billboards” make the cut, SAG knows how to check two boxes. If you ask me, “Call Me by Your Name” took the biggest beating of the day awards wise.

With Meryl Streep out of the SAG conversation due to screeners, it’s interesting that the next go-to person was Judi Dench in “Victoria and Abdul” over Jessica Chastain in “Molly’s Game“. It’s especially compelling for Emma Stone, considering they nominated Steve Carell for “Battle of the Sexes.”  In Carell’s case, I’m getting serious “Christian Bale-American Hustle” vibes as he’s scored BFCA, Globe, and SAG, and we don’t seem to be paying attention at all.  With another acclaimed performance in “Last Flag Flying,” which they seem to care less about now, he may become a default-like choice for them to make.

Dunkirk” pulled a donut today, which even though I predicted, is still surprising.  Mark Rylance’s nomination road is not lost but there’s serious debris on the ground. He’ll need BAFTA to pick him up.

Octavia Spencer’s miss in Supporting Actress was significant as was the Cast Ensemble snub for “The Shape of Water.”  Is Hong Chau (“Downsizing“) and/or Holly Hunter (“The Big Sick”) better suited for the nomination?  Chau could wreak of a Daniel Bruhl, Maria Bello, Idris Elba type of contender that gets everything she needs before missing in the end.  Hunter could be the representation of “The Big Sick” if it can’t find room in other categories, such as Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

Then there’s Denzel Washington in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”  Some will say, “it’s SAG, this is what they do.”  Others will say, “it means something.”  Though some are not big on the film itself, his performance are well-liked and he just lost by a narrow amount last year for “Fences.”  With Daniel Kaluuya on the table for “Get Out,” Lead Actor has just turned into a competitive little race (at least nomination wise). Even though they haven’t nabbed anything yet, Jake Gyllenhaal (“Stronger“), Christian Bale (“Hostiles“), and Robert Pattinson (“Good Time“) are waiting in the wings for that obligatory “WTF? Nomination” we get every now and again (i.e. Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah”).

What do the predictions say now?

“Lady Bird,” for the first time this year, is #1 in Best Picture and it looks and feels right. With that said, Christopher Nolan has been dropped from the Best Director lineup for the time being. This is the case with Nolan often, as it looks to be “his time” as he comes up short.  DGA and PGA could change all of that, but he seems flimsy at the moment.  The film DID score a Stunt Ensemble mention today though, so all is not lost!

Gary Oldman and Willem Dafoe hold on to their top spots while Margot Robbie and Laurie Metcalf seem to have strong #2’s and #3’s on their tails.

Oscar Predictions have been updated to reflect the new nominations as we trek forward toward January 23.