Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SAG nominations

The Screen Actors Guild is the first major trade group out of the gate this year, and even though their nominees are always somewhat predictable, there's always a surprise or two to stir the pot.

Nominees and individual commentaries on the film categories after the jump.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
12 YEARS A SLAVE
AMERICAN HUSTLE
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER

12 Years a Slave, being the awards magnet that it is, is surely formidable for its deep and diverse ensemble. It was always a good bet that SAG would also spring for the broad, starry rosters of August: Osage County, The Butler, and American Hustle. The big surprise in this category (really the biggest of the day) is the inclusion of Dallas Buyers Club. Many will point to this as a bellwether that the voters really like the film more so than its relatively small principle cast, but let's not understate just how wonderfully acted it is.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRUCE DERN – Nebraska
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR – 12 Years a Slave
TOM HANKS – Captain Phillips
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY – Dallas Buyers Club
FOREST WHITAKER – Lee Daniels' The Butler

The big loser here is Robert Redford for his strong, silent, and committed work in All Is Lost. I commented in my review how (by design) it's not really an accessible performance. More to the film's artistic benefit, I think, but not so good when it comes to winning love from awards bodies, who like characters they can attach to. Is all lost for Redford? I wouldn't underestimate the level of love for him within the Academy, but it's a really tight year in this category.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT – Blue Jasmine
SANDRA BULLOCK – Gravity
JUDI DENCH – Philomena
MERYL STREEP – August: Osage County
EMMA THOMPSON – Saving Mr. Banks

This is identical to the lineup pretty much every Oscar blogger has had predicted for months. Amy Adams isn't picking up any steam from the critics groups to unseat anyone here.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
BARKHAD ABDI – Captain Phillips
DANIEL BRÜHL – Rush
MICHAEL FASSBENDER – 12 Years a Slave
JAMES GANDOLFINI – Enough Said
JARED LETO – Dallas Buyers Club

Yay, Barkhad Abdi! I was worried the unknown first-timer from Somalia might be overlooked in favour of a more established thesp, but I'm glad he slid in here; he needed this to keep his Oscar hopes alive. The talk for Daniel Bruhl's fine work in Rush had dissipated pretty quickly after the film came and went, but his appearance here suggests that he is indeed remembered. Even though it constitutes category fraud, I hope he gets nominated for the Oscar, if only as belated recognition for Goodbye, Lenin. I had a feeling sentimental favourite James Gandolfini might get a posthumous nod from the TV-friendly SAG, but I'm not sure Enough Said has been widely seen enough to make the same impression with the Academy. Rounding it out is Michael Fassbender's fairly inarguable tour-de-force in 12 Years a Slave, and our current frontrunner Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
JENNIFER LAWRENCE – American Hustle
LUPITA NYONG’O – 12 Years a Slave
JULIA ROBERTS – August: Osage County
JUNE SQUIBB – Nebraska
OPRAH WINFREY – Lee Daniels' The Butler

Not many surprises here, although Julia Roberts is, by all counts, a lead in August: Osage County. Sucks to be Margo Martindale.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
ALL IS LOST
FAST & FURIOUS 6
LONE SURVIVOR
RUSH
THE WOLVERINE

Can I start a petition to get Robert Redford's name on the stunt ensemble for All Is Lost? Dude performed the bulk of the stunts himself.

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