Thursday, December 15, 2011

Controversy: Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Nominations

I'm worried too, Michael.
Following a string of United States Critics Associations recently nominating and awarding the year's best work, there have been some curious choices, but it has been on the rare occasion that I have been surprised or displeased by a selection. Along come the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, notorious for being a pretty accurate guide for the Oscar nominees. You win the SAG and you're likely to be the favourite to take out the Oscar. It is for this reason that these selections are shocking. I am yet to watch some of these films so I can't comment on some of the selections, but each of the categories are pretty open this year, with most running seven/eight deep. It feels a bit like a lottery this year with no clear favourites. It also feels like the Screen Actors Guild have brought in the seventh and eight on the depth chart. Here are the nominees:

Male Actor in a Leading Role

Demian Bichir - A Better Life
George Clooney - The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Brad Pitt - Moneyball

This is the first time I have seen Demian Bichir nominated, but I can only assume it is a wonderful performance, considering who was left out. Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, Ryan Gosling for Drive, Michael Fassbender for Shame, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Woody Harrelson for Rampart have all been recently considered, and from what I have been hearing about Fassbender and Oldman, I assumed they would claim a spot. Shannon's exclusion is unforgivable. DiCaprio had fallen out of favour I thought, considering the poor reception for J. Edgar. I really liked Pitt in Moneyball, so I champion his inclusion, but I figured that he, Clooney and Dujardin would figure in the other two spots. Still, this is quite disappointing.

Female Actor in A Leading Role

Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis - The Help
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

No real surprises here, except for the exclusion of Charlize Theron for Young Adult. Close, Davis and Streep seemed locked in. Tilda Swinton could very easily win it, but the film has been divisive, and Williams has received nothing but praise for her work in Marilyn. Still, Albert Nobbs' reception has been subpar so it could be Close who misses out eventually.

Male Actor in A Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh - My Week With Marilyn
Armie Hammer - J. Edgar
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Christopher Plummer - Beginners

I have come to expect that Branagh and Plummer will be on the ballot come Oscar day, but the other slots should be made up of at least Albert Brooks in Drive and John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Both excluded here. I would also nominate Brad Pitt for The Tree of Life but he will likely be nominated for Moneyball in the lead category. But if he misses out on a nomination there, I hope voters consider him in this category. I am glad to see Nolte here, because Warrior was a fantastic film. Armie Hammer is a surprise, as is Jonah Hill. I loved Moneyball but his performance does not compare to Brooks or Hawkes. A real screw up.

Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer - The Help

Another frustrating category. I'm glad Jessica Chastain got recognised for one of her roles. Bejo and Octavia Spencer's inclusion also didn't surprise me, but if I had to nominate just two of the cast, it would have been Davis and Chastain. I have also heard that Janet McTeer is excellent in Albert Nobbs. Shailene Woodley in The Descendants is fantastic, and I think deserves a slot, especially over McCarthy who turned in a fine supporting performance, but I wouldn't nominate her because it does seem better than it is because the film she stars in is terrible, and the laughs came from few other places. Also, no Carey Mulligan. That's a shame.

Cast in a Motion Picture

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

Bridesmaids again. That doesn't make sense to me. No Ides of March. The other four nominess I can't argue with. Especially the inclusion of The Descendants, which would be my choice to win.

So there you are. As you can tell, I am displeased by these selections. What are your thoughts?


  1. I'm not really happy with the nominations either. I'm upset that Albert Brooks isn't nominated for Drive. He was the one person I was hoping to get nominated and I thought was the most likely from that film as I figured that Ryan Gosling wasn't likely to be nominated.


  2. I've seen Drive three times now and still don't really get the hype for Brooks! But that's just me..

  3. These awards are pretty 'meh'. I don't expect them to have much of an influence in the long run. I wonder what the Golden Globes will do...

  4. I was really surprised that Albert Nobbs has been receiving subpar reviews. It didn't blow me away but I thought it was still quite good. I have a feeling Streep will probably win it - again - unless Tilda Swinton can nab it.

    And Bridesmaids? Really? 0.o It's anyones game this year....

  5. No Shailene Woodley breaks my heart. And makes me fear for her Oscar future.

    I also have to say, I agree with Anna about Albert Brooks. I don't get the hype either. He just came across to me as very.....basic.

  6. Great round up Andy! My theory is that SAG is a good indicator for the top spots, but for those on the bubble sometimes it can oddly be better to miss, at least sometimes. This year, I'm thinking that for Fassbender and Mulligan in particular, their absence from this list could potentially be the very thing that pushes them into Oscar's top 5, precisely because their snubs are a bigger story than their inclusion would have been.... At least that's what I'm telling myself!

  7. Chastain should have been recognized for her work in The Tree of Life rather than The Help. Not too happy with Jonah Hill getting a nod, or even Brad Pitt. Pretty head-scratching choice, given who's left on the outside, looking in.

  8. I liked Bridesmaids a lot but it doesn't belong here. Very strange.

  9. @ Steven - I expect Drive will be considered for some tech awards - cinematography and score possibly, but Brooks looks like biggest chance, unless it gets Best Picture love. You never know - if there ends up being 9-10 slots.

    @ Anna - The first time I watched it, he and Cranston stood out (in add. to Gosling), but the second time I saw it I thought he was badass. I have been surprised that he has taken out as many awards as he has, but I got the idea in my head that he would be nominated. Now it is likely that he won't. He would sit behind Hawkes and Pitt for me - but I expect Plummer to take it out.

    @ Stevee - The thing is, they have in the past. Most winners of this go on to win the Oscar. It's different with the nominations I guess. Who knows what the GG mean anymore either? Especially after last year. But hopefully they respect some of the indie films (at least in the acting categories).

    @ Ruth - I think it will be Tilda Swinton and Meryl Streep (unless Michelle Williams' perf. is as good as some say). Yeah Bridesmaids. Ugh.

  10. @ Nick - Yeah, I was displeased about Woodley's exclusion. I know what you mean about Brooks, it's what I initially thought, but now I find him pretty badass.

    @ NevertooEarly - I hope you're right. I think that some of the more divisive films (ToL, Drive, Take Shelter, Shame etc.) might get more consideration from the Academy.

    @ Castor - I was content with Pitt's inclusion, but not Jonah Hill's. I thought Chastain was excellent in The Help and ToL, but I'd nominate her for Take Shelter above all.

    @ Pete - I did not like Bridesmaids, and the ensemble inclusion irritates me.

  11. Andy, I know you've not seen it yet, but Bichir is absolutely brilliant in A Better Life. I said back then, in October, that he'd get my vote (if I had one) for Best Actor.

  12. These are a joke. Best Actor is just simply awful.

  13. @ Colin - Wow! I guess it's more the shock. Most of us have been throwing around eight names (not including Bichir) with the spots seemingly wide open. Suddenly there is a new player. I haven't seen J. Edgar, Tinker Tailor, Shame, Rampart, The Artist or A Better Life - so I probably shouldn't complain about the selections. I'll have seen them all by the Oscars (except maybe A Better Life) so then I'll know how I feel.

    @ Alex - They are disappointing, that's for sure. Even though a lot of these categories are deep. Best Picture is going to be incredible uninspiring. The GG make things a bit more clear - Hoping that TREE OF LIFE gets in on a wild card (or because the Academy wake up) it will probably join THE ARTIST, HUGO, THE DESCENDANTS, MONEYBALL, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, THE HELP and THE IDES OF MARCH. 8 nominees.

  14. Nice post so many informative things you are post thanks for share it and please keep it up by regular posting.
    screen actors guild awards tickets