Oscars 2013 Update: Screen Actors Guild Nominations

It’s gonna be a double whammy of nominations today and tomorrow. Today, SAG has announced their nominations, and tomorrow are the (irrelevant but fun) Golden Globes nominations. Let’s focus on today, because today is the big one.

SAG, as we all know, is a really good prognosticator for guessing Oscar nominations. I’m going to get to specifics in a bit, but the actors branch is the biggest branch of the Academy, so what they like tends to be mirrored in the Oscar nominations. The only real difference between SAG and the actors branch of the Academy is that the Academy skews older. So while SAG will nominate a cool, up and coming actor in a film, the Academy is more likely to stick with veterans. Example: in 2007, SAG nominated Emile Hirsch and Ryan Gosling for Best Actor (for Into the Wild and Lars and the Real Girl, respectively), whereas the Academy nominated Tommy Lee Jones and Johnny Depp (for In the Valley of Elah and Sweeney Todd) instead. That’s the kind of stuff that happens. So don’t always take the SAG nominations to heart.

That said, though, they’re a really good prognosticator for who’ll be nominated for the acting awards. So let’s show just how accurate they usually are, and then get into this year’s SAG nominations.

All right… I’m gonna do this fairly quickly.

We’re gonna mostly ignore the Best Ensemble award, since a lot of times, while they do vote for mostly Best Picture nominees, sometimes legit ensemble movies with a lot of respected actors will get nominated, like last year’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, or Bridesmaids, Hairspray, Bobby — you get the picture. So I won’t get into that. That award doesn’t matter as much.

But the other awards… we’re getting into.

Best Actor.

Last year, SAG matched the Oscar four of five nominees (we’re only talking about nominations here. Not wins. We’ll get into that when the actual awards night comes). SAG had John Hawkes for The Sessions while Joaquin Phoenix got nominated for the Oscar for The Master. (Rightfully so, I’d add, subjectively.) But even that can sort of be considered them going for the “veteran.”

In 2011, SAG went with Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar (and you know how much the Academy loves snubbing Leo for the Oscar nom), while the fifth spot (the other four matched) went to Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (again, rightfully so). Oh, right, that’s the other thing I didn’t mention. Veterans and Brits. The BAFTA contingency is also a strong one, that’ll get someone nominated. So you need to look at SAG, but also check the veterans and the Brits before you finalize, because there’s always that potential fifth nominee spoiler.

In 2010, they matched four of five again. Robert Duvall got SAG for Get Low and Javier Bardem got the Oscar nomination for Biutiful. Which actually surprised me. That they didn’t go veteran there.

In 2009, they matched all five. Same for 2008. I mentioned 2007 in the intro, with SAG having Hirsch and Gosling, and the Academy having Tommy Lee Jones and Depp. 2006 matched all five.

2005, Russell Crowe got a SAG nomination for Cinderella Man and the fifth Academy nominee was Terrence Howard for Hustle and Flow. Which is also a fun little outlier.

2004, Paul Giamatti got SAG for Sideways and the fifth Oscar nominee was Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby. Classic veteran situation.

2003, four of five. Peter Dinklage got SAG for The Station Agent and the fifth Oscar nominee was Jude Law for Cold Mountain. Brits. And I guess veteran? Maybe more like Weinstein campaigning.

2002, Richard Gere got SAG for Chicago and Michael Caine (vet and Brit) got the fifth Oscar nomination for The Quiet American. One of the bigger shockers in recent memory. That and Tommy Lee Jones are the two that come to mind.

2001, SAG nominated Kevin Kline for Life as a House, and the fifth Oscar nominee was Will Smith for Ali. I think we all understand that one.

2000, Jamie Bell was nominated by SAG for Billy Elliot (oh yeah, youngin’s. Thems the other ones they nominate, SAG), and the fifth Oscar nominee was Ed Harris for Pollock. Oh, and SAG gave Best Actor to Benicio del Toro for Traffic, which he won the Supporting Actor Oscar for. And that spot went to Javier Bardem for Before Night Falls.

I think you guys get the point. Almost always, SAG is responsible for 4/5 of the Oscar category. And if it isn’t, you can spot it.

Onto Best Actress.

Last year, only 3/5 matched. But one of those was Quvenzhané Wallis not being SAG, and the other was Emmanuelle Riva, who also might not have been SAG (?) either. But either way, 3/5.

2011, 4/5. Tilda Swinton got We Need to Talk About Kevin SAG, and Rooney Mara got the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (YES!) Oscar.

2010, Hilary Swank got the SAG nom for Conviction, and the fifth Oscar nominee was Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (pretty shocked that didn’t get the SAG nom).

2009, they matched all five. 2008, 4/5, because SAG had Kate Winslet for the wrong movie. So essentially, they got 5/5.

2007, Angelina Jolie got a SAG nom for A Mighty Heart, but the fifth Oscar nominee was Laura Linney for The Savages.

2006, all five. 2005, SAG had Ziyi Zhang for Memoirs of a Geisha and the Academy had Keira Knightley for Pride and Prejudice. (Brits.) 2004 had all five.

2003 — three of five. SAG had Patricia Clarkson for The Station Agent and Evan Rachel Wood for Thirteen, and the Oscar category had Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider and Samantha Morton for In America. (Hughes got a Supporting SAG nomination.)

2002 and 2000, they had all five, and 2001, they had four of five, but SAG had Jennifer Connelly lead and she went Supporting for the Oscar (and won it). Nicole Kidman slid in that spot for Moulin Rouge, by the way.

So, mostly 4/5. In the past thirteen years, the big changes seem to be when kids get nominated. Which — twice is kind of a lot. They like young girls but not young boys. They’re usually not SAG, I’m guessing, and that’s why. But either way — typically it’s four of five, and a lot of times, SAG is more boring and conventional than the Academy is. That Hilary Swank nod in 2010, for example.  Or Helen Mirren last year. Easy choice. Baity. But the Brits come in and give you some more interesting nominees. Or whatever. It’s usually either British or indie that gets that fifth spot. Usually. But Best Actress is an animal of its own. This is where the intrigue is this year, so it’s more of a category to evaluate based on who SAG nominated and who the other contenders are.

Best Supporting Actor.

Last year, four of five. Bardem got a SAG nod for Skyfall (was never happening), and the fifth Oscar nod went to Christoph Waltz, who won it. (Pretty sure Django wasn’t seen by SAG in time to nominate, though. Pretty sure I heard that last year.)

2011, Armie Hammer got SAG for J. Edgar and the fifth Oscar spot went to Max Von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Veteran over youngin’.

2010, all five. 2009, all five. 2008, four of five. Dev Patel got SAG for Slumdog (film support nod), and the fifth Oscar spot went to Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road.

2007, four of five. Tommy Lee Jones got SAG for No Country for Old Men. Academy put him lead (for a different film, admittedly, but it’s hard to score the double nomination, most years, especially for men), and the fifth Oscar spot went to Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson’s War (which made me so happy).

2006, Leo got a Departed nod from SAG (notice how often his name is left off the Oscar lists? I’m building to something), but there was a weird category issue and him refusing to campaign opposite the other actors, so he ended up getting the Blood Diamond nod that year. But anyway, that spot went to Wahlberg for The Departed instead. It’s pretty obvious they wanted to give it to someone.

2005, four of five. Cheadle got a SAG nod for Crash but William Hurt scored the fifth Oscar spot for A History of Violence. (Fuckin’ right, he did. He was amazing.)

2004, three of five. And somehow, the second Jamie Foxx nomination went through both. James Garner got a Notebook SAG nom, and Freddie Highmore got a Finding Neverland SAG nom, but the two Oscar spots went to Clive Owen for Closer (not sure how SAG missed him. But the Brits clearly had that one) and Alan Alda for The Aviator, which I think was a surprise for a lot of people. I remember that coming as a shock on Oscar morning.

2003, four of five. Chris Cooper got a SAG nod for Seabiscuit, and that Oscar spot went to Djimon Hounsou for In America.

2002, three of five. Dennis Quaid got SAG for Far from Heaven and Alfred Molina got SAG for Frida, while the Oscar category included Paul Newman for Road to Perdition and John C. Reilly for Chicago. So, veteran and dude who was in three of the five Best Picture nominees that year.

2001, four of five, Hayden Christensen got a SAG nod (humorous, right?), for Life as a House, while that fifth Oscar spot went to Jon Voight for Ali. Veteran nod.

And 2000, three of five. Gary Oldman got a SAG for The Contender, while Oscar went with Benicio del Toro, who won Best Actor, as we know, by SAG.

So typically SAG is dead-on with these Supporting nominees. Category fraud is something that happens, and typically it’s the sneaky veteran nod that gets you at the end with the Oscars. Most of the time, you know when a SAG nominee isn’t making the Oscar list. So here, you can pretty much listen to what they do with Supporting Actor.

And finally, Supporting Actress.

Last year, 3/5. Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith got SAG nods (for Marigold Hotel and The Paperboy, reverse respectively), while the Oscar category had Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings and Amy Adams for The Master. Because how can you ignore giving Philip Seymour Hoffman a handjob?

2011, all five matched. 2010, Mila Kunis got SAG for Black Swan (ha), and the fifth Oscar nominee was Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom. (Veteran and Brit, essentially.)

2009, four of five. Diane Kruger got a SAG nod for Basterds (which SAG loved, since it won their ensemble award), and the fifth Oscar nominee was Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart.

2008, four of five, since Kate Winslet won SAG for The Reader. The fifth nominee ended up being Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.

2007, four of five. Catherine Keener got a SAG nod for Into the Wild while the Oscar ominee went to Saoirse Ronan for Atonement. (Another non-SAG member deal? Either way, Brits.)

2006, all five (surprisingly… or maybe not) matched. 2005, same deal.

2004, four of five. Cloris Leachman got SAG for Spanglish and the fifth Oscar spot went to Natalie Portman for Closer. Two things there — first, one thing to mention, in the Supporting categories, a lot of SAG nominees will typically be for lesser films, because they really nominate veterans a lot more than Oscar does. Oscar is more quality-based than SAG. SAG will nominate a veteran for the sake of nominating a veteran, but Oscar will nominate a veteran for a good movie and/or a great performance. That’s the difference. And second — something must have been up with Closer, since that movie got shut out of SAG.

2003, three of five. Keisha Castle-Hughes went Supporting for Whale Rider, as I mentioned, and Maria Bello got a SAG nod for The Cooler. The two Oscar nominees ended up being Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog and Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River.

2002, four of five. Michelle Preiffer got SAG for White Oleander, but Oscar went with Meryl Streep for AdaptationFascinating that SAG didn’t go with Meryl for once.

2001,  they matched ONE of five. Just Helen Mirren. The other four nominees were Cate Blanchett for Bandits, Judi Dench for The Shipping News, Cameron Diaz for Vanilla Sky and Dakota Fanning for I Am Sam. The other four Oscar nominees were Maggie Smith for Gosford Park, Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind (that’s why they switched her, the category was a cakewalk), Marisa Tomei for In the Bedroom and Kate Winslet for Iris. Really fascinating situation this year.

Oh, and 2000 was four of five. Kate Winslet got SAG for Quills and the fifth Oscar nominee ended up being Marcia Gay Harden, who won it.

So this one is up and down. Been real good lately, though, so that’s something.

Anyway, let’s get into this year’s nominees:

Best Actor

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Forest Whitaker, The Butler

I’m so far out of the loop this year that I don’t even know who the frontrunners in this category are supposed to be.

From what I can gather, the other people circling nominations are Robert Redford, maybe Leo, Oscar Isaac, the Fruitvale dude, Joaquin Phoenix, and then maybe Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. I’m trying to run through my mental rolodex.

I expect no love for Bale, unless the Academy loves American Hustle, which I don’t think they will for the men. Jackman needed the SAG nod for Prisoners to do anything (unless BAFTA loves it). Oscar Isaac could get on from some amazing Llewyn Davis love, but I don’t know if I see it. (I’m also curious to know if enough of SAG even saw that movie, along with Wolf of Wall Street and the December movies to nominate them.)

Michael B. Jordan… not seeing it, but maybe they galvanize the love at the last minute for that movie.

I’d say Redford, maybe Leo and definitely Joaquin are your potential sleepers come Oscar time.

As for the category at hand — the Forest Whitaker nomination is kind of a joke (in terms of the quality of the film. The performance is fine). The Hanks one is a giant blank for the category (the way Denzel’s was last year). The performance is all right, but he won’t win and he’s mostly taking up space since we all know he won’t. McConaughey looks like a #4 nominee, which means he’ll get nominated for the Oscar, he’ll be the nominee we all go, “Oh, yeah, he did a great job, he was really good,” but none of us would vote for him, and he ends up being our ranked #4 nominee, since we all know he’s not winning, we’d like to put him higher, and we feel bad about putting him fifth. At this point, I don’t think McConaughey has a shot. (I’m also curious to see what happens to him in Supporting, if anything.)

It seems your winner is likely Bruce Dern, with Ejiofor being the major competition. I’ll need to see where BAFTA goes (and the BFCA) before I make any major Oscar choices, but this looks like a good road map for where the Academy will go.

I’m also not getting too deep into it, since I still have some movies left to see and want to see all the performances before I start making too many comments about which performances I feel should and should not be nominated. Or even who should and shouldn’t win. Right now, I’m only dealing with who seems to be floating around the contention area, and what’s most likely to win based on what I’m seeing and what these groups generally do.

But yeah, that’s Best Actor. Pretty boring, I feel. I really only want to see Dern or Ejiofor win, baed solely on who it is and what it’s for. McConaughey would be fine, but I think it would be a weak choice, historically. For the Oscar, not SAG. I don’t give a fuck what SAG does.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

This is looking a lot like your Oscar category. I’ve seen those first four be thrown about for months, and I can’t see any of them not being nominated for the Oscar. Emma Thompson is the one who came up out of nowhere. I think she won NBR for this. I’m sure she’ll get the BAFTA nod, and BFCA would be a big boost for her as well.

Though, honestly, at this point, I can’t see too many alternatives in the race. Brie Larson has gotten indie buzz, but that’s a performance that needs SAG to make it on the Oscar list. Adele Exarchopoulos won’t be nominated. It’s NC-17, and the Academy is very straight-laced. Blue Valentine had like, two minutes of graphic sex, this has a full-on five-minute sex scene. It’s not happening. And who else is there? Labor Day still needs to come out, but I haven’t heard anything about that.

This is, at least for now, increasingly looking like your probable Oscar category.

For the win, though — no idea. I haven’t seen the performances enough to gauge. In fact… only seen one of them, and right now, I have a hard time thinking Bullock sweeps this. She could, but I want to see the rest first. Mostly I’m curious to see how good Blanchett is, since in this day and age it’s hard to get a lead nomination for a Woody Allen movie. Hasn’t happened since 1999. In fact, since 1999, he’s only had one actor get nominated for one of his movies (and she won, too). But that was Supporting. Now that I think about it — isn’t Diane Keaton the only actress from a Woody Allen movie to ever win Best Actress for his movie? I think that tells us right now which way is going.

I’m also curious to see what Meryl is like, since they basically gave her the last one because she wanted it and now she’s possibly gone and eclipsed that performance, so I’m really curious to see if they’re gonna have to give her another one or if they can avoid it and leave the nomination be. (I’m thinking they can, but I haven’t seen the film yet.)

Judi Dench is a wild card. Maybe she musters enough support to take this, but I don’t know. Still need to see the film.

And Thompson — I highly doubt she’s getting another one. The nomination would be the reward for her (until she wins this, of course).

So, the category is pretty open. At this point, this just might be Sandra Bullock’s award to lose. (Which pisses me off, because — The Blind Side. See what happens when you rush to give someone an Oscar for a performance that shouldn’t have even been nominated?)

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Daniel Bruhl, Rush

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

James Gandolfini, Enough Said

Jared Leo, Dallas Buyers Club


How can you not love shouting that?


At children.

But yeah, I have no idea what that’s about.

The Gandolfini nomination doesn’t surprise me, though, depending on who gets left off, I might get upset if they actually nominate him for the Oscar, just because — why the fuck didn’t they do it while he was still alive? Remember last year when I said he was good enough to be nominated for Not Fade Away and Killing Them Softly? I was on this bandwagon before it was trendy, motherfuckers.

But I’m glad for him. He was nice in that movie. But let’s not pretend like they’d have gone anywhere near it if he hadn’t died.

Abdi, Leto and Fassbender seem like strong contenders for the Oscar. Fassbender I heard mixed things about, performance-wise, but the love for the film is gonna be so strong they’re gonna get nominations. It’s a foregone conclusion. Films like that attract nominations.

Not really sure who else can get an Oscar nod. Will Forte comes to mind. As a co-lead who can get pushed Supporting. Jonah Hill, maybe. I still think McConaughey has a shot, with Wolf of Wall Street (with Mud as the assist). Gyllenhaal for Prisoners — he’d have needed this. Maybe someone sneaks up from August: Osage County.

I’ll need to see more movies and nominations lists before I make too many guesses.

At this point, this is Leto’s to lose, right? Or do they go Gandolfini on the weak category?

Too early to tell. I’m gonna wait and see on this one.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

Lawrence and Nyong’o seem like Oscar locks. Squibb, I’m glad she got this nomination. The Oscar nomination isn’t a lock, but is helped by this. Oprah and Julia — I don’t think this guarantees them a spot at all.

There are definitely contenders here, too. Another August: Osage County actress could take Julia’s spot on the final list. Octavia Spencer is still very much alive (since they might leave Jordan off, but put her there, owing to her former win and their love of the film).

Maybe I’m being optimistic on Carey Mulligan, but I’ll mention her. Sarah Paulson could score the double 12 Years Supporting nod. That’s entirely plausible. Uhh… not really sure who else at this point.

Man, this feels like a weak year all around.

Best Ensemble

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

August: Osage County

The Butler

Dallas Buyers Club

The top four are no surprise. The fifth is a little bit, but not really. But this category is pretty meaningless. Expect 12 Years to take this, most likely. It’s irrelevant, either way.

Oh, yeah, and there’s stunt ensemble too.

Best Stunt Ensemble

All Is Lost

Fast & Furious 6

Lone Survivor


The Wolverine

This should either go to Lone Survivor or Rush.

Lone Survivor wins on just how brutal shit looked, but Rush might win on the driving. Though there wasn’t as much driving in that as you’d think, though that would never stop them. Then again, Fast & Furious — they might go the tribute route and just give it to them.

And now for the TV awards (that I don’t care about one bit):

Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones


Do they even think about going anywhere but Breaking Bad this year?

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

How is this not Cranston?

Spacey is your upset, but seriously.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes, Homeland
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Kerry Washington, Scandal

Does Danes take this again, or does Breaking Bad clean sweep?

Kerry Washington is definitely a threat as well.

Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Arrested Development
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
30 Rock

Isn’t this the annual Modern Family award?

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

They seem to be over Baldwin. Parsons has broad support. Cheadle I think won last year (or maybe that was at the Globes. I don’t even care to look). Whatever.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

We have a 2/5 chance that the winner is going to talk about Gandolfini.

Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Jeremy Irons, The Hollow Crown
Rob Lowe, Killing Kennedy
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Well this isn’t even a question.

Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Angela Bassett, Betty and Coretta
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Holly Hunter, Top of the Lake
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

I heard such amazing things about Top of the Lake. But have enough people seen it to vote for it?

TV Stunt Ensemble

Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
The Walking Dead

Uhh… sure.

– – – – –

So those are your SAG nods. It’s still really early, but this is looking like your major road map for the acting Oscar nominations.


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