‘CODA’ team crying again ... but tears of joy

Troy Kotsur holds his supporting actor SAG trophy.
Troy Kotsur won supporting actor honors at the SAG Awards for the film “CODA.”
(Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Baseball owners may have canceled opening day. Apparently, though, Dodger Stadium now has an accredited botanic garden that I can visit. Can I buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack — and a $15 beer — while strolling the grounds?

Also, we’re a few days removed from the Screen Actors Guild Awards. You think the “CODA” team has stopped celebrating yet? I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy happy to eat his share of purple sea urchins if it helps our kelp forests. (Maybe they could start an urchin stand at Dodger Stadium once baseball resumes?)

‘CODA’ takes SAG Awards’ big prize

Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin put nuclear forces on alert. But, to quote the inimitable Martin Short near the start of Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, “Let’s get on with doing God’s work and give another actor an award.”

Awards season is back! The exclamation point comes courtesy of the telecast’s announcer, looking to gin up a little excitement for a ceremony that returned Sunday to being an in-person event a year after its winners Zoomed in with prerecorded acceptance speeches.


Did the evening earn its exclamation point? If you watched “Squid Game” on Netflix through splayed fingers, the answer is: Yes! The blockbuster South Korean survival drama won honors for actors Lee Jung-Jae and Jung Ho-yeon. “Squid Game” also won for stunt ensemble.

Is it too late to nominate it for best picture?

It was also a good night for the Apple TV+ crowd-pleaser “CODA,” which won the film ensemble award and a supporting actor honor for Troy Kotsur. Do the wins improve its standing at the Oscars? I took a look at how the evening — a pretty reliable precursor of individual acting honors — might impact the Academy Awards.

A line of men and women holding up SAG award statuettes.
Troy Kotsur, left, filmmaker Sian Heder, Daniel Durant, Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin and Eugenio Derbez celebrate the SAG Awards’ ensemble win for their film, “CODA.”
(Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Lead actress Oscar still up for grabs

The only certainty when it comes to this year’s lead actress Oscar race is that there is no certainty. And there won’t be until the envelope is opened and the winner’s name is read at the ceremony on March 27.

None of the nominees appeared in a movie nominated for best picture. One, Kristen Stewart from “Spencer,” earned her film’s sole nomination. Three of the women — Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz and Nicole Kidman — already have an Oscar, though that was not an impediment last year when Frances McDormand won her third lead actress trophy (and second in four years) for “Nomadland.”

Voters and awards consultants call me nearly every day making an argument for their favorite nominee (or client, as the case may be). Could any one of the five women nominated for lead actress win? Judging from these conversations, yes. But this is Hollywood, a place where imagination is often divorced from reality. So I burrowed into this category in a recent column, looking for answers. (Even after Chastain’s SAG Awards win, I’m still a little iffy on her chances.)

A collage of five Oscar-nominated actresses
The lead actress nominees for this year’s Oscars, clockwise from top: Nicole Kidman, Olivia Coleman, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Stewart and Penélope Cruz.
(Amazon Content Services; Netflix; Searchlight Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics; Neon/Topic Studios)

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‘I bared my soul and my ass as well’

Benedict Cumberbatch knows you have questions about that “Power of the Dog” ending. He has questions too. Maybe they’re the same ones. But before he dives in — and this is a man prone to picking apart and parsing, so settle in — Cumberbatch would like to make a statement. Before we hand him the floor, it should go without saying that if you haven’t seen “The Power of the Dog,” which has been available for months now, you should not be reading this story because we’re going to be talking about the ending that everyone has been discussing and dissecting since the end of, ahem, last year.

Now that we have that out of the way, Cumberbatch would like to say that he very much hopes you felt bad when his character, the menacing, hyper-masculine cattle rancher Phil Burbank, dies at the end of the movie. He doesn’t expect that you broke down weeping or anything. (Phil wouldn’t want that.)

But Cumberbatch thinks people are taking juuuuust a bit too much pleasure in Phil’s death.

We talked about that and a great many other things over lunch recently, a conversation that, yes, led to the quote in the headline above. And you’ll have to read the whole story to understand why that quote made the headline.

A closeup black-and-white photo of actor Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch, an Oscar nominee for “The Power of the Dog.”
(Ryan Pfluger / For The Times)


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