Thursday, December 16, 2010

Screen Actors Guild Nominations

JoBeth Williams welcomes you! "They're heeeeeeeee--eeeere"

Giggly Rosario Dawson & Angie Harmon announced the SAG nominations at 9:00 AM EST after being introduced by JoBeth Williams.

Though this is the last major clue as to where Oscar acting nominations will go, it is not the "this is it!" twin that many like to claim.

Important Differences From SAG to Oscar: Contrary to what you often read on the internet there is not significant overlap in the voting pools between SAG and Oscar. Unless they've recently changed their rules, SAG randomly chooses a sliver of its membership each year to do the nominations. Some miniscule percentage of them might be Academy members but the numbers don't add up to a big percentage. SAG is a mammoth union, representing 200,000 film, tv and background performers and all dues paying members can vote on the winners. Oscar's acting branch is infinitely harder to join; it's a final club on steroids to use The Social Network as handy 2010 reference. There are 1,205 voting actors in the Academy who all get nominating ballots. All of the Academy's 1,000+ actors are or were SAG members (having acted in films for years) but the other 198,795 SAG members are definitely not members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Other key differences: SAG nominators are (statistically) fonder of child and very young adult actors than Oscar. They're also arguably more populist in their choices overall having given the big prizes to people from smash comedies like RenĂ©e Zellweger in Chicago (2002) or Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) and arguably more influenced by your place in the Hollywood food chain, choosing legends over newbies for wins in hotly contested contests like Bening beating Swank in 99/00, Day-Lewis over Brody in 02/03 or Christie beating Cotillard in 07/08.  They are also not allowed to vote their own mind when it comes to "lead" versus "supporting" issues. Oscar voters may vote for you in whichever category they personally feel is correct. SAG voters may only vote for you in the category that your studio submits you in (which explains Keisha Castle Hughes' bizarre "supporting" citation at SAG for Whale Rider).

Nominations with commentary after the jump


Best Female Actor (Drama Series)
  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Mariska Hargitay (L&O: SVU is a Comedy)
  • Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife)
  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
This lineup is really gross to me, indicating that SAG voters really really love their procedurals. I do not. Procedurals are death to actors who want to dig in deep to characterizations.
    Best Male Actor (Drama Series)
    • Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
    • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
    • Michael C Hall (Dexter)
    • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
    • Hugh Laurie (House)
    Applause in the room for Michael C Hall. People sure do love his death-dealing. After Six Feet Under and Dexter... what can his third morbid series role be? Doesn't death come in threes?
      Best Female Actor (Comedy Series)
      • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
      • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
      • Jane Lynch (Glee)
      • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
      • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland)
      White continues her ubiquity. Didn't she win lifetime achievement last year? I haven't seen Cleveland otherwise this is a gorgeous lineup. I'd love to see Falco or Vergara at the podium though.

      Best Male Actor (Comedy Series)
      • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
      • Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
      • Steve Carell (The Office)
      • Chris Colfer (Glee)
      • O'Neill (Modern Family)
      Another terrific lineup. Well chosen.

      Best Female Actor (Miniseries/Movie)
      • Claire Danes (Temple Grandin)
      • Catherine O'Hara (Temple Grandin)
      • Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin)
      • Winona Ryder (When Love is Not Enough)
      • Susan Sarandon (You Don't Know Jack)
      It's like a Temple Grandin key party up in there. Could vote splitting make this a big comeback for Winona?
        Best Male Actor (Miniseries/Movie)
        •  John Goodman (You Don't Know Jack)
        • Al Pacino (You Don't Know Jack)
        • Dennis Quaid (That Special Relationship)
        • Edgar Ramirez (Carlos)
        • Patrick Stewart (Macbeth)
        I didn't even know John Goodman was in You Don't Know  Jack. Remember when he was married to Roseanne or when he used to always be in the Coen Bros pictures. Carlos is confusing me. I do not like it when things get prizes in both film & television. Stop blurring the lines! Big screens or small screens. Me no likely medium sized screens.
          Best Ensemble (Drama)
          • Boardwalk Empire
          • The Closer
          • Dexter
          • Teh Good Wife
          • Mad Men
          Best Ensemble (Comedy)
          • 30 Rock
          • Glee
          • Hot in Cleveland
          • Modern Family
          • The Office
          It wasn't enough to give Betty White one nomination when you can give her two. As much as I continue to love 30 Rock and admire Glee for casting actors who can actually sing... Modern Family deserves this ten-fold. Such a seamless cast, no weak spots; everyone is hilarious.

          Stunt Ensemble (Series)
          • Burn Notice
          • CSI New York
          • Dexter
          • Southland
          • True Blood
          I'm confused how five series get nominated for stunts but only three movies? Last I checked movies had lots of stunts, too.

          2010 NOMINATIONS FILM
          Mother & Son (The Fighter). Can they both take home SAG & Oscar?

          Best Female Actor (Supporting Role)
          • Amy Adams (The Fighter)
          • Helena Bonham-Carter (The King's Speech)
          • Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
          • Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
          • Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
          You can consider The Fighter women and HBC all locked up. As for Kunis & Steinfeld... I'd say they still have to fend off the amazing sixtysomething ladies (Jacki Weaver, Dianne Wiest, Barbara Hershey). Check out Scott Feinberg's list of awesome relevant stats. Many people are saying that Kunis is locked up after Globes & SAG nods but that's just not the case. Someone is denied nearly every year in that situation (though usually only one person).
            Best Male Actor (Supporting Role)
            •  Christian Bale (The Fighter)
            •  John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)
            • Jeremy Renner (The Town)
            • Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
            • Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech
            In a very rare occurences I like all five nominees in a supporting actor category. Two of them are probably leads but what can you do. I expect Oscar will embrace Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) here so one of these men will have to go. 
              Best Female Actor (Leading Role)
              • Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
              • Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
              • Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
              • Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
              • Hilary Swank (Conviction)
              Hilary Swank's surprise appearance here is noteworthy in that it shows how (still) hotly contested the Best Actress race is. The way I see it there are 3 locks (Bening, Portman, Lawrence) due to support for both the performances and the films which house them and then there is 1 probable but vulnerable (Kidman) due to support for performance but not the film and then there are still 6 women (Williams, Rapace, Moore, Swank, Swinton, Manville) trying to nab 1 remaining spot. Theoretically, any of them might for various reasons and 1, at least, will.

              Best Male Actor (Leading Role)
              •  Jeff Bridges
              • Robert Duvall
              • Jesse Eisenberg
              • Colin Firth
              • James Franco
              You can expect to see Eisenberg, Firth & Oscar host Franco nominated for Oscar but spots #4 & 5 are confusing; two spots for three men. Duvall, Bridges and SAG-shunned Ryan Gosling have to fight it out with one of them losing.
                Best Ensemble (Cast)
                •  Black Swan
                • The Fighter
                • The Kids Are All Rigth
                • The King's Speech
                • The Social Network
                This is a huge huge get for Black Swan, which is arguably in some ways a one-woman show. The rest of the field is much closer to the type of film that one would expect to see getting ensemble attention, for better and for worse. Not that the Swan ensemble isn't terrific. It's just not the thing you'd usually see here so it shows their heat as a film. UPDATE: "When a Nomination is Still a Snub" further notes on this always bizarre category.
                Stunt Ensemble
                • Green Zone
                • Inception
                • Robin Hood
                Why only 3 nominees? Is it because CGI are not stuntmen and movies have less and less reality and more and more coding? This was Inception's only nod today but we knew it was never going to be an 'actor's film'. They'll make up for it with votes from the tech branches of the Academy.

                Your turn. Share opinions in the comments. Particularly about those crazy tight fifth spots in all four acting categories.

                Related Post: SAG injustice (the ensemble category) BFCA & Globe nominations (good comparison points. In an unholy union of the three, you basically have your Oscar list)

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