Monday, December 17, 2012

Screen Actors Guild Nominations: Loving LINCOLN, SILVER LININGS and LES MIS

Like the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards cover both movies and TV. Unlike the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards are a pretty darn good predictor for Oscar's acting nominations. They also cover a lot more ground in terms of voters; initial nominations are done by a random selection of about 2000 SAG members across the country, with final voting open to all 100,000 actors who belong to the Screen Actors Guild. Since those SAG members will be the same ones voting in Oscar's acting categories, you can see why they're a good prognostication tool.

The Screen Actors Guild is one of the newer entries into the awards show sweepstakes, beginning in 1995, but they're also taken a bit more seriously than some of the others, since they are voted upon by actors and only actors judging in their area of expertise, and they don't mess around with awards for songs or special effects or makeup. They don't even give a Best Picture or Best Show award. Just Best Ensemble.

On the film side, this year they've nominated Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, as well the entire ensemble from Lincoln; along with leads Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, supporting actor Robert DeNiro, and the cast as a whole from Silver Linings Playbook; and Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and the acting and stunt casts of Les Misérables.

The other casts as a whole recognized are from Argo and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. From Argo, supporting actor Alan Arkin was nominated, while Maggie Smith was the lone actor given a nod from Marigold Hotel.

Other actors nominated include John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in The Sessions, Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone, Helen Mirren in Hitchcock, Denzel Washington in Flight, Naomi Watts in The Impossible, Javier Bardem in Skyfall, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, and Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy.

Along with Les Miz, the stunt casts from The Amazing Spider Man, The Bourne Legacy, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall were nominated. TV "action" ensembles recognized include those from Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead.

Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad also scored nominations for their acting casts, accompanying Downton Abbey, Homeland and Mad Men in the Drama category. Yes, cable rules the day in drama, as AMC, HBO, PBS and Showtime shut out ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in nominations.

Four of the five dramas also got nods for their leads actors, as Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi, Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Homeland's Damian Lewis and Mad Men's Jon Hamm were all nominated. Jeff Daniels of The Newsroom filled the last slot in that category.

If Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey was not recognized, his costars Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith were. They will compete with Claire Danes from Homeland, Jessica Lange from American Horror Story and Juliana Margulies from The Good Wife.

For comedy series, the casts of 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie and The Office were nominated. If you're thinking the Guild is a few years out of date in this category, I would agree with you.

Individual comedic actors recognized include Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara from Modern Family, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey from 30 Rock, Louie C.K. from Louie, Edie Falco from Nurse Jackie, Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory, Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation and Betty White from Hot in Cleveland.

The TV miniseries or movie category is smaller, with categories for only lead actor and actress. Why no ensemble award for a television miniseries or movie? Why no supporting categories for anything on TV? Because that's not how the Screen Actors Guild rolls.

In any event, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Julianne Moore were all nominated for the Sarah Palin-inspired Game Change, while one Hatfield (Kevin Costner) and one McCoy (Bill Paxton) got nods for Hatfields & McCoys and both Hemingway (Clive Owen) and Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman) were nominated in Hemingway & Gellhorn. That leaves Charlotte Rampling in Restless, Sigourney Weaver in Politcal Animals and Alfre Woodward in Steel Magnolias to round out the mini/movie nominations.

There is also a lifetime achievement award, and this year that will go to Dick Van Dyke.

The Screen Actors Guild will hand out their Actor statuettes on January 27, 2013, in a ceremony broadcast on both TNT and TBS from LA's Shrine Exposition Center.

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