SAG Thoughts: What Today Means to the Oscar Race?




JenniferAniston_CakeThe Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced earlier today with a few surprises and a few shocks to this year’s race to the Oscars.  Leading the tally was “Birdman” picking up four nominations for Cast Ensemble, Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone.  “Boyhood,” “The Imitation Game,” and “The Theory of Everything” were next in line with three mentions each including Cast Ensemble.

In the Cast Ensemble category, the four are joined by “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which was the film’s only mention. 

On to the acting categories: Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” was shutout this morning with no mentions for its cast of star David Oyelowo.  It is known that screeners did not go out to members and that only theatrical screenings were made available.  Perhaps not enough saw it?  Or maybe they just didn’t take to it like Los Angeles and the New York critics did.  Also shut out was J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,” with no mentions for Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain and “Interstellar,” whose campaign has heavily cited the film’s cast.

Some things worth noting is the Supporting Actor lineup, which is likely our Oscar lineup.  Robert Duvall makes it in as suspected for “The Judge” and should coast nicely to an Oscar nomination.  If he also scores a Golden Globe nomination tomorrow, it’d be hard to bet against him for nod.  Then again, he pulled a similar showing with “Get Low” a few years ago and missed out in the end, so you never know.

Naomi Watts becomes the headscratcher of the morning picking up a Supporting Actress nomination for “St. Vincent,” the film’s sole mention.  Was it a way of rewarding her for “Birdman” as well or was it just slim pickings in the field?  Not even Laura Dern or Carrie Coon could muster a mention.  And over Chastain?  Come on. 

Jennifer Aniston begins her compelling case for a Best Actress nomination with “Cake” sneaking in over Marion Cotillard and Emily Blunt.  The film had come on very strong the past few weeks, even leading me to predict her in Best Actress.  This may be her biggest shot of her career and a deserved one. 

Creating some waves the past few weeks is “Nightcrawler” and its star Jake Gyllenhaal, who scored a nomination in Lead Actor this morning.  Open Roads just re-released the film, and Gyllenhaal as been making his rounds and campaigning heavily for the film.  Perhaps Gyllenhaal is finally able to score his second Oscar nomination since 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”  SAG also revived the campaign for Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher,” who desperately needed this. 

Though “Unbroken” did manage a mention for Stunt Ensemble, no other nominations came in sight for the cast or its stars Jack O’Connell and Miyavi.

On the television side of things, “Mad Men” from AMC had a bad morning with no mentions for the Cast or Jon Hamm.  Best mention of the morning is Uzo Aduba for her work on “Orange is the New Black,” which also was nominated for Cast Ensemble, likely the (PLEASE GOD) winner of the category. 

SAG is a great barometer for the Oscar nominations but they are announced rather early before AMPAS has been playing catch up.  If anything, this leads them to make sure they pop in “Cake,” “Nightcrawler,” and “St. Vincent” over the holiday break.

Later today, we’ll get the Golden Globes Preview piece up.  For now, we have to take in the actor’s branch and see what this all really means.

Comment and discuss.