Oscars 2021: SAG Nominations

Okay, so SAG nominations. I’m starting to put less stock into them than I used to because over the past five years SAG has decided become way more of a popularity contest than it used to be, which has lead to some people getting nominated (and even winning) who so clearly aren’t gonna make it all the way to the Oscars. Sure, a lot of what’s in there is good, but there are a couple of glaring discrepancies, which are starting to get harder to believe in. And I fully expect to see some of those here.

But, right now, we’ve got most of all our help in the acting categories, with Globe nominees and winners, BFCA nominees and a BAFTA longlist. So we should be able to get a pretty clear picture of how things are gonna turn out from these.

Here are your SAG nominees:

Outstanding Ensemble



Don’t Look Up

House of Gucci

King Richard

No real surprises here. Belfast was all but guaranteed. I love that CODA got here and I hope it manages a Best Picture nomination. The PGA will be the big test for it. And if it can also manage BAFTA, that’ll help too. Don’t Look Up has basically everyone in it, top0lined by major, major names, so no one should be surprised there. House of Gucci is very much the ‘big named actors acting‘ kinda movie, so that’s also obvious. And King Richard makes total sense. No real surprises there.

West Side Story being excluded is the only real eyebrow raiser, and even then… go back and look at the history of this category. Musicals don’t get nominated here. Because they don’t consider song and dance acting, apparently. La La Land didn’t make it, but the leads got nominated. The last straight musical to get nominated in this category was Les Mis. So I kinda get it. I also historically put very little stock in this category as a harbinger of anything, even though I know some people have come up with some stats about things winning/being nominated here or whatever. I say it’s only helpful as a tool to help your case as to why something’s gonna win, and even then, it’s probably got enough to justify it outside of this. So it is what it is.

We’re also pretty sure Belfast is winning this, right?


Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick… Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Well, we’ve been pretty certain about four of these every step of the way so far. So this only solidifies them. And it tells us that we’ve still got that fifth spot open. Which has historically been the place for an interesting inclusion. So that’s really gonna be the focus of this paragraph.

Cumberbatch, Garfield, Smith and Denzel all got BFCA and Globe noms. And I can’t imagine BAFTA leaves more than one of them off, if any. So they should all be guesses at this point no matter what. And then we gotta figure out the last spot.

Bardem gets on here, which makes sense. Everyone loves him. He got a Globe nomination too. But I don’t really buy him as a nominee. But, our other major options currently seem to be Mahershala Ali (in a movie most people don’t know about with no real profile outside of him, which… without SAG I have a hard time imagining he gets on just for being Mahershala Ali) and Peter Dinklage. And Dinklage is the one that makes the most sense to me. Especially since, with BAFTA, no one outside of the major names even really has a shot at it. So unless BAFTA’s gonna surprise us with Leo or Cooper Hoffman, I have to imagine this is gonna come down to the same group of people. Especially without a surefire foreign nominee to look at for that spot.

So right now, you gotta figure this is how it’s looking (BAFTA pending):

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick… Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Dark Horse: Mahershala Ali, Swan Song

Surprise: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up, Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

And without any significant precursors elsewhere, anyone else has to be considered a shocker of a nominee (yes, including Nicolas Cage, who wasn’t even longlisted by BAFTA).

We gotta wait for BAFTA here to see what’s gonna happen.


Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

The big headline here for most people is no Kristen Stewart. But for me it’s, “Oh, christ, it’s a goddamn popularity contest.” Just look at the names of who was nominated, regardless of film or performance. That’s all it is. This tells me the majority of people didn’t really watch stuff and just assumed they were worth nominating based on the nature of the role. So I can’t put much stock into this at all. Sure, Chastain, Colman and Kidman got nominated everywhere else, and actually so did Gaga (so really my anger is based around one particular choice). But Jennifer Hudson wasn’t even nominated AT THE GLOBES, which should have been a slam dunk for her. So spare me the takes that she’s got a legitimate shot at this until she also gets nominated at BAFTA (and even then I’ll probably argue against it). (Also, my anger isn’t at Jennifer Hudson at all. It’s at the voting body.)

I will say, though… this makes me really concerned that somehow Nicole Kidman might actually win for that movie. Not that it’s a bad movie or that she’s bad in it. But I think we can all agree it’s a no, right? On us feeling good about that as a winner, I mean. Not that she doesn’t have a chance. But with a Globe win already and no solid contender elsewhere until BFCA decides to reschedule and chime in, she’s got a real chance to pick up enough wins to where everyone is like they were with Renée Zellweger and Judy, “I guess it makes sense, and if everyone else did it…”

BAFTA is gonna tell the tale here, since their longlist is pretty awesome. It’s got Chastain, Colman, Gaga, Hudson and Kidman. It’s also got Kristen Stewart and (Globe winner) Rachel Zegler. Plus it has Alana Haim, Emilia Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Frances McDormand, Tessa Thompson and (my personal favorite inclusion) Renate Reinsve from The Worst Person in the World. It’s a dope ass list. And I wanna see where they go before I start making proclamations about this category.

However, based on the information we have right now, this seems to be like Best Actor, where we’ve got four nominees pretty shored up with the fifth spot kind of open (though with a pretty reasonable option to go there). Here’s how I’m seeing it today:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Alternate: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Dark Horse: Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Surprise: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza, Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth

I’ve got a hard time thinking the category comes from outside these nominees. I haven’t done a deep dive into the BAFTA longlist yet, but it’s not like there’s a consensus foreign performance out there that will have overall film support to get on (because not even Mads Mikkelsen managed that last year, and he would have been the best person to make that happen). So this seems like your probable category.

If you asked me a month ago, I’d have said, “There’s no way Jessica Chastain is gonna get nominated for that performance.” And yet here we are. I’m thrilled, because I really enjoyed the performance, but I just didn’t see it happening, given the lower profile of the film and it being mostly a comedy. She’ll never win for it because Academy people at-large will have never watched the movie enough to go there, but I think she’s got the momentum to get nominated at this point. Crazy how this stuff works out.

That’s why I get so upset when I see some of these precursors. Most people don’t realize how important those actually are for the final categories. Aside from the obvious, of course. A LOT of Academy people (and I know more than a handful and have heard many a discussion about this) don’t really watch all that much stuff, and a lot of their decision making is based on seeing people nominated at other awards shows. They have their two or three favorites and then everything else is based on what the consensus is. So when generic performances make it on stuff like SAG because it makes sense that it would, it upsets me, because that means people haven’t and will never get to consider the great performances from movies that are maybe lower profile (Isabelle Fuhrman was great in The Novice. No one’s ever gonna know that performance even exists) or don’t have that Oscar ‘aura’ (where’s Jodie Comer in The Last Duel?). It’s a damn shame.


Best Supporting Actor

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

There’s that popularity contest aspect again. Affleck and Cooper. I mean, I loved Cooper and haven’t watched Tender Bar yet (I will by this weekend), but a lot of this feels like it’s more about who they are than the work. But I’ll reserve judgment. Affleck has been doing the best work of his career lately and Cooper is delightfully unhinged in Licorice Pizza. Though this does mean that neither Belfast contender gets on (and I’m more upset for Ciaran Hinds than Jamie Dornan there).

It’s been a pretty thin field this year, so those are basically your major contenders. BAFTA’s longlist has all of those contenders except Affleck (which is telling). Their other inclusions include J.K. Simmons for Being the Ricardos (who was BFCA nominated), David Alvarez and Mike Faist for West Side Story, Al Pacino for Gucci, Mark Rylance for Don’t Look Up, Jesse Plemons for Power of the Dog, Woody Norman for C’mon C’mon (which, GOOD ON YOU, BAFTA. He was amazing in that movie), Andrew Garfield for Eyes of Tammy Faye (good for them for that one too) and Benicio in French Dispatch (which is awesome). It’s a pretty great list.

But, seeing the same names everywhere, and trying to anticipate how BAFTA goes, my gut tells me this is what your most likely category is at the moment:

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Alternate: Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Dark Horse: Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Surprise: J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos, David Alvarez (or Mike Faist), West Side Story

I have to assume that Cooper gets the edge for that fifth spot just because of his stature as an actor and the profile of his movie. Affleck feels like he has a chance if people really liked the performance, but the lack of stature for the movie hurts him (even if it is Clooney). And Dornan is gonna need a BAFTA rebound for me to consider him anything more than a dark horse. And even then, they’re gonna really have to love Belfast to get two nominees on (and let’s not forget, Hinds isn’t even a gimme at this point without a BAFTA nomination. Though I’d be shocked if BAFTA leaves him off. They should probably nominate both of them, honestly). But it’s a thin year that can still turn into a good category. So we’re gonna have to see how BAFTA shakes out to have an idea. Right now, you’ve got three solid nominees, one fairly solid one and one open to interpretation. Not the worst place to be.


Best Supporting Actress

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Ruth Negga, Passing

Oh boy, I love most of this. No fucking idea where Blanchett came from. But there’s that popularity contest again. Most actors don’t know who Aunjanue Ellis is, so she doesn’t get those ancillary votes because she’s not Cate Blanchett. This is why I have a problem with what SAG is becoming. The funny thing is that Blanchett is on the BAFTA longlist… but for Don’t Look Up! Which honestly is the better of the two performances. But I digress.

The other four have hit just about everything thus far, and Aunjanue Ellis hit everything but this, so I have to imagine this is a very straightforward category in the end. We should go into Oscar guessing knowing 4/5 in every acting category pretty solidly. Which, you can’t really ask for much more than that.

I guess we should mention the other BAFTA longlist contenders, because it’s more of the same people who hit precursors: Ann Dowd (for Mass), Rita Moreno. They also had Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter (which I still need to see), Ana de Armas for No Time to Die (good for them! She was awesome in that), Judi Dench in Belfast, Kathryn Hunter for Tragedy of Macbeth (which I also need to see), Meryl in Don’t Look Up, Anya Taylor-Joy in Last Night in Soho, and, my personal favorite inclusion of theirs, Vinette Robinson in Boiling Point. I loved that movie and I know it’ll never get praise anywhere other than BAFTA, but I figured at best it would be Stephen Graham. So I’m thrilled she got included in the final 15 there. It’s a great performance in a dope ass movie. So check it out if you can.

But yeah, this seems like a pretty straightforward category:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Alternate: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Dark Horse: Uhh… maybe Judi?

Honestly this one seems pretty set and the only question is whether they sneak Rita on as a veteran nominee. Unlikely but very possible. No one else feels like they’re even in contention. BAFTA could change all that, of course, but I’d be pretty shocked with any other nominees here.


Outstanding Stunt Ensemble

Black Widow


The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Good for all of them. All worthy inclusions.

– – – – –

And now TV.

Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Morning

Squid Game



Succession should win this in a walk, even with Squid Game there.


Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The Great


The Kominsky Method

Only Murders in the Building

Ted Lasso

Lasso wins this easily because it’s got an extra year of people knowing what it is. The guild at large won’t know Hacks as well. This is a popularity contest, remember.


Best Actor in a Drama Series

Brian Cox, Succession

Billy Crudup, The Morning Show

Kieran Culkin, Succession

Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game

Jeremy Strong, Succession

The Squid Game guy could take this with a vote split, though I’m feeling like most people are centering their support around Jeremy Strong, so he probably makes the sense here, even with two contenders from the same show in the category.


Best Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show

Jung Ho-Yeon, Squid Game

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Sarah Snook, Succession

Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

Snook wins this, right? Or do they just say fuck it and vote for Reese because she’s Reese?


Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso

Steve Martin, Only Murders in the Building

Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building

Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

I assume Sudeikis wins this again. Unless they decide they wanna clap for one of the three legends in the category, namely Douglas.


Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Elle Fanning, The Great

Sandra Oh, The Chair

Jean Smart, Hacks

Juno Temple, Ted Lasso

Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Smart should win this in a walk unless they decide to popularity vote Sandra Oh.


Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie

Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus

Oscar Isaac, Scenes from a Marriage

Michael Keaton, Dopesick

Ewan McGregor, Halston

Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown

Rooting for Keaton, even though Isaac probably wins the popularity vote. Should be one or the other.


Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie

Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus

Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha

Margaret Qualley, Maid

Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown

Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

I mean, it’s Winslet, right? Or do they rally around Coolidge?


Outstanding Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

Cobra Kai

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier


Mare of Easttown

Squid Game

Good shit. Though hilarous that Marvel is now impinging on the TV categories too. I bet the other stuntpeople are pissed about that.

– – – – –

So yeah, that’s SAG. No real surprises in the end, but I am disappointed in how they’re losing stature after being the best thing we had for precursors for years. Still, we’ve probably got 4/5 locked in every acting category (and one is maybe 3/5 locked and one semi-locked), so it accomplished what it needed to accomplish. Now we gotta wait for BFCA winners and BAFTA nominees to see what’s really up.

I’ll be back in a few hours with BAFTA longlists.

– – – – – – – – –


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