2021 has given audiences what they’re always craving: new and returning scripted television. This is especially important for a comedy series, as they usually bring us laughs when we’re down (and in year 2 of a pandemic, they’re a necessity). SAG nominations are approaching quickly on January 12, with the eligibility dates being between March 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, so it’s time to look at what is eligible and competing this year for the SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Unlike the Drama Ensemble category, the Comedy Ensemble category actually has a couple of shows that were nominated for last year’s awards that are eligible again this year. One of those shows is AppleTV+’s hit Ted Lasso. Ted Lasso scored multiple times at the Emmys, winning individual awards for Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein. Jason Sudeikis also won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series last year, so consider Ted Lasso a lock for a nomination this year for Ensemble.
The other series that is eligible again this year is Hulu’s The Great, which not only scored an Ensemble nomination last year at the SAG Awards, but also scored a nomination for Nichoulas Hoult in the Male Actor in a Comedy Series category. The comedy received great reviews for its just-aired second season and would be a surprising omission from this year’s list if not nominated. While not as sure a lock as Ted Lasso, The Great seems poised to repeat last year’s nominations (while perhaps also adding Elle Fanning to the list of Female Actors in a Comedy Series).
Thus concluding the list of last year’s nominees who are eligible again this year, it’s time to take a look at shows that could gain their first SAG nomination this year.
Even though it is on its third season and hasn’t been recognized by SAG-AFTRA yet, What We Do in the Shadows is a bonafide comedic hit for FX. The series has been recognized by the Television Academy, nabbing Emmy nominations for its second season. Since the series premiered in September of this year, it was ineligible for the 2021 Emmys. This could be the time that SAG-AFTRA finally embraces What We Do in the Shadows, as it has gained popularity over the past couple of years.
A series that came out this year that would seem to be heading towards a nomination is Only Murders in the Building, the Hulu comedy starring Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin. A comedy murder-mystery set in a beautiful apartment building with Martin Short and Steve Martin? Sounds almost too good to be true, which is why it would make sense for SAG to take note and nominate it for its ensemble.
A series that just premiered this year that has been getting its own share of recognition lately is FX’s Reservation Dogs. It was an AFI TV Program of the Year, it was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy Series, and it won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series. Having quite the end-of-year party with these nominations, it seems that Reservation Dogs could take it to the SAG Awards as well. How it would fair in the individual achievement categories is to be determined, but it might have enough steam to garner itself an Ensemble nomination.
Another series that premiered this year that could find itself nominated for the Ensemble in a Comedy Series prize is HBO’s Hacks. The series won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for its lead, Jean Smart, and also gained several other nominations and wins at the ceremony, including a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. With so many people having seen this show since its premiere, it would stand to reason that it will prevail and get a SAG nomination for its entire cast.
Insecure aired its final season this fall/winter and could find its star, Issa Rae, vying for an individual award, but will its ensemble be able to break through? It seems unlikely, given that the HBO comedy has never earned a single SAG nomination. There are sometimes surprises from the guild, though, and this could be one of them. Netflix’s The Kominsky Method, which aired its final season this year, has earned SAG nominations for its stars and ensemble before, but what about this year? Seems unlikely.
These are my predictions for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
- Ted Lasso
- The Great
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Reservation Dogs
Photo: Shane Brown/FX