A little bit of vintage Hollywood was left off the list of Screen Actors Guild nominations Wednesday morning.
Robert Redford was snubbed from the best actor list for his turn as a laconic sailor in “All Is Lost,” while “Saving Mr. Banks,” Disney’s look at the midcentury making of the “Mary Poppins” movie, didn’t make the cut for outstanding cast in a motion picture.
The news was discouraging for both contenders. Both had been considered favorites in their respective categories. And both categories are thought accurate predictors of Oscar glory.
The cast award has correctly predicted at least four of five best picture nominees in every one of the last five years, while SAG’s best actor winner has accurately predicted Oscar’s winner in the category for nine straight years.
"Banks" did get attention in the best actress category, as lead Emma Thompson nabbed a spot for her role as "Poppins" author P.L. Travers.
For Redford, there was some solace in the knowledge that best actor has been considered especially strong this year. Still, the arrival of Forest Whitaker for his turn as a quietly strong servant in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” suddenly boosted him as a possible nominee over Redford when Oscar noms are announced next month.
The outstanding cast list was peppered with surprises. “August: Osage County,” a movie whose prospects were considered shaky just a few weeks ago, made the cut, as did “The Butler,” a film not thought of as a best picture front-runner. Jean-Marc Vallee's AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” was similarly on the bubble but landed one of the coveted five slots.
If form holds, at least two of them will make the best picture short list when it’s announced in mid-January.
The actors branch is the largest of the Motion Picture Academy, and its guild's Jan. 18 awards—as well as the run-up to it—can be a key indicator of, as well as tool for, the seasonal Oscar race.
While the five best actress nominees all followed forecasters’ predictions, the supporting categories contained some mild surprises: June Sqibb’s nomination for her turn as a zinger-slinger in “Nebraska” boosted her chances, while Barkhad Abdi and Daniel Bruhl each solidified their odds in supporting actor for their roles in “Captain Phillips" and “Rush,” respectively.
Also solidifying its prospects was David O. Russell's “American Hustle,” the late entrant that has been riding something of a wave after winning the top prize at the New York Film Critics Circle last week. The movie nabbed a coveted outstanding cast slot, also significantly increasing its chances for an Oscar best picture nomination.
But another late entrant, Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was nowhere to be found Wednesday, with lead Leonardo DiCaprio, supporting actor Jonah Hill and the larger cast all being shut out. Time is running short for that film to make awards waves, with the Golden Globes comedy category its next best shot on Thursday.