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Gold Standard: SAG Awards love Queen, but where is (Regina) King?

Gold Standard: SAG Awards love Queen, but where is (Regina) King?
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were each nominated for SAG Awards for "A Star Is Born," which led the film categories. (Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures)

Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz earned SAG Awards nominations Thursday for their wicked turns in the acclaimed period piece “The Favourite.”

But the movie itself somehow didn’t earn an ensemble nod.

SAG Awards voters loved Christian Bale and Amy Adams’ turns as Dick and Lynne Cheney in Adam McKay’s scathing Cheney biopic, “Vice.” But the deep cast, which includes strong work from Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill and Jesse Plemons, went unrecognized.

To quote a couple of lines from the title song of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a movie SAG Awards nomination voters really (inexplicably?) seemed to love: Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

I'm Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

SAG Awards voters go every which way

So, yes, curious choices. Because even if you love “Bohemian Rhapsody” (and I know a lot of you do), you have to admit that it’s Rami Malek’s movie. Other than Mike Myers, cast in a small role as a bit of a stunt, can you name another actor in that movie? And yet SAG voters believe “Bohemian Rhapsody” to be one of the year’s five best ensembles.

I tried to make sense of the nominations, noting that it was a good day for “A Star Is Born” and Emily Blunt (nominated for “Mary Poppins Returns” and “A Quiet Place”) and a bad day for common sense. Times film writer Josh Rottenberg also chimed in, noting the day’s surprises. (Where is Regina King?)

You'll soon be able to see Nicole Kidman in three movies.
You'll soon be able to see Nicole Kidman in three movies. Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Nicole Kidman: Queen (of Atlantis) and everywhere else

At a Q&A following the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “Destroyer,” a fan asked Nicole Kidman about maintaining her long, celebrated career. Kidman didn’t sugarcoat the truth, noting that she had fallen many times over the years, but never wavered in her effort or commitment to her artistic path.

It hasn’t always been easy.

“It’s probably not great to talk about when you’re old, but you start out as flavor of the month and then you’re not; you have some things that work and some that don’t, and suddenly no one’s interested,” Kidman says. “Then it’s, ‘You’ve squandered or lost your talent.’ And that’s not true. It’s always there if you’re nourishing it. And that’s what I was doing.”

I spoke to Kidman about the ups and downs of her career, the healing power of love and making the threat that she’d dress up as “Granny” and come to her daughters’ school on grandparents chocolate day. I also spoke to the directors of her current three films — “Destroyer,” “Boy Erased” and “Aquaman” — about their favorite moments working with this extraordinary woman.

"I'm not big on realism," notes director Yorgos Lanthimos, right, of his subversive costume drama "The Favourite," starring Rachel Weisz, left, and Emma Stone.
"I'm not big on realism," notes director Yorgos Lanthimos, right, of his subversive costume drama "The Favourite," starring Rachel Weisz, left, and Emma Stone. Michael Nagle / For the Los Angeles Times

‘A Henry VIII kitchen-whipping virgin’

That was the pull quote Emma Stone suggested to me when she, Rachel Weisz and director Yorgos Lanthimos were talking about their movie, “The Favourite.” And if you’ve seen this wicked, vulgar comedy, you know that’s kind of a perfect way to work into a discussion of this acclaimed film’s many charms and perversions. You can read that story here.

“The Favourite” is — yes! — the favorite to take the original screenplay Oscar. I handicapped the original and adapted races, and also took a little time to talk to Paul Thomas Anderson about his love for “A Quiet Place.”

“Everybody was completely quiet to the point where you could really hear the silence," Anderson said, remembering seeing the film at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks. “It’s so loud, the silence, and it’s not something you’re used to in movies. Everybody’s talking about movies on TV, but there’s a reason why this was a big movie in theaters. And there was a joy going to see it with an audience. It would not have been the same without a lot of other people around you.”

A scene from the movie "Roma," which was named best picture of 2018 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
A scene from the movie "Roma," which was named best picture of 2018 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Carlos Somonte

Inside the L.A. Film Critics vote

Justin Chang and I discussed the results of Sunday’s Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. vote, which saw Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” win our best picture prize. We’re both proud of the slate of winners the group chose, with Justin noting the many ways it acknowledged just what a wonderful year it has been for world cinema.

Feedback?

I'd love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can't get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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