It’s no secret that the Screen Actors Guild, which is comprised of over 160,000 members of SAG and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) utilizes a randomly selected group of about 2000 members – the SAG nom comm – to come up with the yearly nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In that group, while many live in LA and NY where they can attend screenings for late-breaking films (oh those pesky Christmas Day releases…) but as it is a random group they can be from all over the US and not have that level of access. That’s where screeners come not only in handy, but become crucial for a nomination here and why we sometimes end up seeing left of center or reeeally left of center names pop up each year.
This year was certainly no different; almost every category has at least one nomination added or missing that is a bit of a head scratcher. For many today was simply a notch in their awards belt on the way to Oscar. For some this might be the only place they show up (I’m looking at you, Emily Blunt) but for others this might have been a crucial miss.
Something very telling happened this morning. Both female acting categories shut out women of color entirely. From ROMA to Widows, both of which had contenders in Yalitza Aparicio and Viola Davis as well as for their casts, there was a white blanket laid over those nominations. It’s especially worth noting that while two films with almost entirely non-white casts earned Outstanding Cast nominations – Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians – no individual from either film was recognized. Where is Regina King If Beale Street Could Talk? Where is Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther? Where is Michelle Yeoh in Crazy Rich Asians?
Sometimes these snubs and surprises are limited to the fact that one group makes these decisions – just as any nominating committee does. It doesn’t mean the Oscars will necessarily follow to the letter. When you look at the nominations from Critics’ Choice (where The Favourite led) and Golden Globes (where Vice led) against today’s SAG noms (where A Star Is Born led) there’s a chance we won’t see the same kind of rubber stamping we saw last year. But then, two of this season’s breakout critics’ favorites – Ethan Hawke and Regina King – just got snubbed.
The SAG Awards’ final round of voting is open to all dues-paying SAG-AFTRA members and will take place from December 18th through January 25th. The 25th SAG Awards ceremony takes place on January 27th and will be hosted by four-time SAG-winning actor Megan Mullally.
Here are some of this morning’s most shocking nominations and misses.
Bohemian Rhapsody in Outstanding Cast
A head scratcher if there ever was one but it’s no secret that the film has been playing extremely well with voters, as it has with audiences. Another musical biopic, Straight Outta Compton, was nominated here a few years ago but it didn’t translate into a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) – Female Actor in Supporting Role
SAG loves Blunt, they nominated her for The Girl on the Train, but this is still a surprise. Her nomination for Mary Poppins Returns makes sense but her strength within the industry is clearly there.
Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots) – Female Actor in a Supporting Role
No Critics’ Choice or Golden Globe nomination, a late screener but here she is. Showing up without her leading co-star Saoirse Ronan is a bit of a feat. Showing up at all against competition like Claire Foy (First Man) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) is especially surprising.
The Favourite in Outstanding Cast
The Favourite becomes the 22nd film in SAG history to earn three individual nominations but to miss out on a Cast nom. There’s little to explain why this would happen other than two films with much larger casts made it in.
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) – Female Actor in a Supporting Role
The critics’ leader so far, this is an unconscionable snub. It should be noted that SAG has never individually nominated King before (she was nominated as a part of the cast of Ray), despite winning three of her four Emmy nominations in as many years.
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) – Male Actor in a Leading Role
The other top critics’ pick to not show up today. Hawke also missed the Globe last week and now just has BFCA (and its seven nominees) and Spirit nominations. A24 is going to need a hail mary to get him in now.
ROMA in Outstanding Cast, Female Actor in a Leading Role
Only two films have missed a SAG Cast Oscar nomination and then gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar – one of them just happened last year, The Shape of Water. But that film at least earned two individual SAG noms first. Not only did ROMA miss the top nom (despite voters being inundated with screeners and Netflix’s excellent history here) but breakout actress Yalitza Aparicio missed out too. She really needed this.
Widows in Outstanding Cast, Female Actor in a Leading Role
It will confound me for a long time trying to understand why Widows has made no dent in this season’s awards race. Did voters shy away from its tepid box office? Viola Davis could have proven herself to be like Meryl Streep and simply nominated for anything and everything but failed to do so here, all but sealing her fate at a possible Oscar nomination. The film’s huge, award-winning and nominated cast missing out is a puzzler.
Nicole Kidman in Female Actor in a Leading Role (Destroyer), Supporting Role (Boy Erased)
You’d think Kidman, with two wildly diverse roles and in two different categories would have been able to make it but voters said no. The Oscar, Emmy and SAG-winning actress has been very popular here in the past (remember that nomination for The Paperboy?) but not today.
First Man in Male Actor in a Leading Role, Female Actor in a Supporting Role
A film that has been on one of the strangest awards trajectories I’ve ever seen. A critical hit, then a box office flop. Massive snubs from the Golden Globes, then 10 nominations from Critics’ Choice. Now it’s crashed back to Earth. What it means for its Oscar chances is a bit of a mystery.