Sat. Aug 15th, 2020

Screeners, screeners, screeners. It’s the age old conversation whenever we discuss the Screen Actors Guild, especially in the nominating phase. The Screen Actors Guild nominating committee is a randomly chosen group of about 2100 of SAG’s 160K+ membership (which also includes AFTRA – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). With many of those members not living in the Los Angeles area where screenings are plentiful this time of year, in hand screeners are crucial to a film or a performance being recognized. This is why we sometimes get what seem like wild snubs or head-scratching inclusions.

This year is no different, with some studios getting their films out early (Sony Classics’ The Wife was the first) to others finally landing this last week before the deadline. While a late screener doesn’t always spell doom, if a voter doesn’t want to wait around and has already voted there’s not much that can be done to overcome that. This year, Annapurna Pictures was the last studio to get their films into voters’ hands, meaning the chances for films like Vice, Destroyer and If Beale Street Could Talk hang in the balance of those voters who have waited until the last minute to vote (the deadline was Sunday, December 9th).

Tomorrow will test the strength of someone like Viola Davis, a SAG and Oscar winner whose film, Widows, did not hit at the box office or with Oscar predictions as many, myself included, expected. In a year of so many powerhouse lead actress performances (Davis’s included) she’ll be facing stiff competition but it she makes it in she’ll cross an actor threshold that few of her peers get to.

I think the category we’ll all be paying the closest attention to though is Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. When looking at the likely candidates here you’ll find films that could earn two or three individual acting noms, some that might only be competitive in this top category (like blockbusters Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians) and those in between. A quick look into SAG’s 25-year history shows us that, excluding the first SAG Awards (they didn’t have the Cast category for 1994), 21 films have gotten three individual SAG nods. Of those, five missed a Cast nom (As Good As It Gets, The Contender, Jerry Maguire, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air). That’s about 25% of the time that a film with three individual nods misses Cast, a higher ratio than one would expect if so much support for the performances was clearly there. This year, that film could be A Star Is Born. Most of us could safely predict nominations for Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott (although that Globe miss is curious) here but outside of those three there isn’t much of a ‘cast.’ Are voters going to rubber stamp it for their top award because it’s a major Oscar contender or will it end up one of the five mentioned above?

Green Book is another film that is easily expected to earn two nominations – for Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali – but it could be seen as a two-hander the way that La La Land was just two years ago.

ROMA might be the biggest curiosity. A black and white foreign language film with no name actors? Well, Netflix and SAG have had a very successful relationship in the past and the sheer accessibility that Netflix makes of its films (to SAG in particular) makes ROMA a realistic contender, especially as the current critics’ leader and for many, the Oscar Best Picture frontrunner.

Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8 star Awkwafina and SAG-winning Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox will announce the nominees, live from West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center. They will be introduced by Screen Actors Guild President Gabrielle Carteris following the announcement of the stunt ensemble awards, which will be delivered by SAG Awards Committee chair JoBeth Williams and SAG Awards Committee member Elizabeth McLaughlin.

Nominations will be announced tomorrow – Wednesday, December 12th at 7am PT / 10am ET – live on the TNT website; the TruTV website; TNT’s YouTube channelFacebook page, and Twitter feed; TBS’ YouTube channelFacebook page, and Twitter feed; and the TBS, TNT, and TruTV apps. You can also watch them on an television by tuning in to TBS, TNT, or TruTV. The stunt ensemble announcement will only be available via the TNT site, the SAG site, and the TNT and TBS YouTube channels.

Here are my predictions for the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for Motion Picture.

Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture
Black Panther
Crazy Rich Asians
The Favourite
A Star Is Born

Then: BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice, Widows

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Leading Role
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Ryan Gosling, First Man
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Then: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed; Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased; John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Leading Role
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Viola Davis, Widows
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Then: Yalitza Aparicio, ROMA;Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns; Nicole Kidman, Destroyer; Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex; Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Then: Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther; Daniel Kaluuya, Widows

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Supporting Role
Claire Foy, First Man
Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Then: Amy Adams, Vice; Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Leave No Trace; Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians

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