SAG Awards nominations can seem like one more guild prize in a season full of them, a rubber-stamping of movies everyone knew were going to power through to the Oscars anyway.
But sometimes, some days, there are actual surprises. Like full-on, grow-food-out-of-potato surprises. An apt metaphor, as when this year’s nominations were announced Wednesday morning, “The Martian” was entirely snubbed, while the breed of people who wrote some of its memorable lines were surprisingly celebrated, with the Hollywood screenwriter tale “Trumbo” picking up three nominations.
But what about “The Martian”? Click to see the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination snubs and surprises.(Fox, Bleecker Street, FX, Twentieth Century Fox)
Many predicted the strong performance of “The Martian’s” big-name cast would lead to both an ensemble nomnation and a nod for lead actor Matt Damon. The film was not recognized in any category.(Aidan Monaghan / Twentieth Century Fox)
While early reviews are mixed for “Joy,” many assumerd Jennifer Lawrence’s strong performance would lead to a fourth individual SAG Award nod. Neither Lawrence nor the film earned any nominations.(20th Century Fox)
Sarah Silverman left her comedic comfort zone for her role in “I Smile Back” and it paid off with a surprise nomination in the lead female actor category.(Broad Green Pictures)
“Beasts of No Nation” earned both an ensemble nod and a supporting actor nomination for Idris Elba. That Netflix’s first foray into film earned an ensemble nomination over a movie like “The Martian” is a feat worth noting.(Netflix )
Both Helen Mirren and Bryan Cranston have very deep SAG Awards resumes, but “Trumbo’s” ensemble performace nomination, on top of the individual recognition for both actors, still came as a surprise.(Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / Bleecker Street Media)
In a double surprise, Helen Mirren also earned a lead actress nomination for “Woman in Gold.”(Robert Viglasky / The Weinstein Company)
While the cast of “Spotlight” earned a nomination in the ensemble category, the lone individual performace to be recognized was Rachel McAdams’, for supporting actress.(Kerry Hayes )
Many considered “Straight Outta Compton” a long shot in the awards race, but the film earned a coveted ensemble performance nomination.(Jaimie Trueblood / Universal Pictures)
While not entirely unexpected, “The Hateful Eight” came away with no nominations.(Andrew Cooper / The Weinstein Company)
The SAG Awards completely overlooked “Empire,” including Taraji P. Henson, whose performace as fan-favorite Cookie Lyon lead to a 2015 Emmy nomination.(Chuck Hodes / FOX)
Although the SAG Awards recognized the ensemble of one that is Tatiana Maslany with a 2015 nomination, she was crowded out this year from the lead drama actress field.(BBC America)
That sketch-comedy series “Key and Peele” earned its first comedy ensemble nomination may not necessarily be surprising but is definitely notable as one of two newcomers in a field of returning favorites.(Danny Feld / Comedy Central)
There was no love for “Fargo” from the SAG Awards, which had to compete in the drama series category (for the 2015 awards “Fargo” was considered a miniseries).(Chris Large / FX)
The SAG Awards drama ensemble nods all went to previously nominated series, meaning new shows like “The Leftovers” were left out of the race.(Paul Schiraldi / HBO)
It was far from the only surprise. SAG Awards morning saw many favorites ignored and a whole bunch of Cinderellas sent to the ball. The consequences are great, not just for this show but the larger Oscar season. As the awards pundit Sasha Stone said on Twitter, “I’m going to have to science the ... out of this one.”
Here, then, are five of the biggest snubs and surprises on a wacky SAG Awards morning.
The ensemble: Every year an Oscar best picture dark horse slips in. Usually, it’s one, if that (see under: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” in 2012.) But three or even four? That’s unheard of.
Yet that’s pretty much what happened Wednesday, as “Trumbo, “Straight Outta Compton,” “The Big Short” and “Beasts of No Nation” all landed ensemble slots. Every one of those movies is considered a medium-range shot for big prizes this season at best, and a few of them -- “Trumbo” tops the list -- were pretty much thought out of the game. (The only awards front-runner in the ensemble list was “Spotlight,” which experienced its own brand of snub Wednesday morning -- more on that in a second.)
WINNER: cast in a motion picture; NOMINATED: female supporting actor - Rachel McAdams(Kerry Hayes / TNS)
WINNER: male lead actor - Leonardo DiCaprio(Twentieth Century Fox / TNS)
WINNER: female lead actor - Brie Larson; NOMINATED: male supporting actor - Jacob Tremblay(Ruth Hurl / TNS)
WINNER: ensemble in a drama series; NOMINATED: female actor in a drama series - Maggie Smith(Joss Barratt / Carnival Film & Television/PBS)
WINNER: male actor in a drama series - Kevin Spacey; NOMINATED: ensemble in a drama series; female actor in a drama series - Robin Wright(David Giesbrecht / Netflix)
WINNER: female actor in a drama series - Viola Davis(Mitchell Haaseth / ABC)
WINNER: male actor in a television movie or miniseries - Idris Elba(Steffan Hill / AP)
WINNER: female actor in a television movie or miniseries - Queen Latifah(Frank Masi / AP)
WINNER: Male supporting actor - Idris Elba; NOMINATED: Cast in a motion picture(Netflix / TNS)
WINNER: Female supporting actor - Alicia Vikander; NOMINATED: Male lead actor - Eddie Redmayne(Focus Features)
WINNER: Male actor in a comedy series - Jeffrey Tambor; NOMINEE: Ensemble in a comedy series;
WINNER: Ensemble in a comedy series; female actor - Uzo Aduba(JoJo Whilden / Netflix / TNS)
NOMINATED: male lead actor - Johnny Depp(Netflix / TNS)
NOMINATED: cast in a motion picture; male supporting actor - Christian Bale(Paramount Pictures / TNS)
NOMINATED: female lead actor - Saoirse Ronan(Kerry Brown / Twentieth Century Fox)
NOMINATED: female lead actor - Cate Blanchett; female supporting actor - Rooney Mara(Wilson Webb / The Weinstein Company)
NOMINATED: ensemble in a drama series; male actor in a drama series - Peter Dinklage; stunt ensemble in a drama or comedy series(Macall B. Polay / HBO)
NOMINATED: cast in a motion picture(Jaimie Trueblood / Universal Pictures)
NOMINATED: ensemble in a comedy series; male actor in a comedy series - Ty Burrell(Eric McCandless / ABC)
NOMINATED: male lead actor - Michael Fassbender; female supporting actor - Kate Winslet(Francois Duhamel / Universal Studios)
NOMINATED: cast in a motion picture; male lead actor - Bryan Cranston; female supporting actor - Helen Mirren(Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / Bleecker Street)
NOMINATED: ensemble in a comedy series; female actor in a comedy series - Julia Louis-Dreyfus(Patrick Harbron / HBO)
The big implication in this category is Oscar’s best picture. Since the Motion Picture Academy expanded beyond five nominations in 2009, the SAG Awards ensemble prize has been highly predictive of Oscar’s top prize. It’s matched at least four out of five every year but one, and even in that one year, it landed three out of five. (The reason is simple: The acting branch is the academy’s largest.) Yet none of the long-shot quartet were thought solid favorites to land a nom. The idea that two or three of them will end up on the list? It’s wacky, and should send shudders down the spine of all bubble picture contenders that didn’t end up with an ensemble slot.
Women in gold: Clearly the guild likes Helen Mirren. They really, really like her. SAG voters on Wednesday gave her not one but two nominations, for her lead role as the Southern California World War II refugee Maria Altmann in “Woman In Gold” and her supporting turn as Hedda Hopper in “Trumbo.” Neither were thought likely, and the upsets -- particularly on the lead front -- had a domino effect. Not on the list, for instance, was Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years,” a veteran actress thought a sure thing for a SAG nomination.
Meanwhile, the rest of the lead list saw another upstart, Sarah Silverman as an addict in the little-seen indie “I Smile Back,” take a slot. Whom did she potentially push out? Jennifer Lawrence, who has been earning raves for her turn as a real-life housewife-turned-businesswoman in “Joy.” This is not an insignificant feat. Lawrence is well-liked by SAG -- at 25, she’s already been nominated for lead twice, winning three years ago for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Most striking in all this is Damon, who was thought a front-runner to win a whole bunch of acting prizes this season. Is there a SAG Awards conspiracy theory to be written on the actor? At 45, he had has had dozens of worthy roles, but landed a relatively modest three individual SAG nominations -- and one of them was nearly 20 years ago.
The upstarts shall lead: This was the year the studios returned to the awards game in a big way. Every lot in town had one big contender, many of them more. The biggest? Fox, which has three legitimate candidates -- “Joy,” “The Revenant and “The Martian” -- before you even get to its art house division, Fox Searchlight. Yet on Wednesday, Fox landed a grand total of one, for Leonardo DiCaprio in “Revenant.” Who got in instead? Upstarts, upstarts everywhere. Netflix with “Beasts,” landing two nominations. Broad Green Pictures with two, for two different movies, Silverman in “I Smile Back” and Michael Shannon in “99 Homes.” Bleecker Street with three, courtesy of “Trumbo.” Sure, Universal had a good day courtesy of “Compton” and two noms for “Steve Jobs.” Still, it used to be that the established players made waves on big nomination mornings and the newbies sat on the sidelines. No longer.
Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President, introduces the presenters for the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Presenters Anna Faris (“Mom,” the “Scary Movie” franchise), alongside Anthony Mackie (“The Night Before,” “Shelter,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Hurt Locker”), lets out a gasp as they finish announcing the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Presenters Anna Faris and Anthony Mackie announce Leonardo DiCaprio as one of five nominees for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role at the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Gabrielle Carteris (SAG-AFTRA executive vice president), from left, Jason George (SAG Awards committee), presenters Anna Faris with Anthony Mackie and JoBeth Williams (Chair, SAG Awards Committee/SAG-AFTRA Foundation Board) celebrate the SAG Awards nominations from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Spotlighted. So about that “Spotlight” snub. This was a year when some of the best male performances came in the form of Boston Globe journalists: Mark Ruffalo as investigative reporter Mike Rezendes, Liev Schreieber as top dog Marty Baron, John Slattery as the gruff Ben Bradlee Jr. and Michael Keaton as grizzled investigation chief Walter Robinson. The only question was who would be bumped to lead and who would stay in supporting. (Keaton, for instance, was thought to a supporting actor until the New York Film Critics made him a lead.) But the idea that none of them would be nominated in any individual category -- and by their peers, no less? Yet that’s what went down Wednesday morning, as exactly zero of the male actors garnered individual nods. (Rachel McAdams got the lone individual nomination, for supporting actress).
The one silver lining for “Spotlight” when the SAG Awards ceremony takes place next month is that the big ensemble winner tends to do poorly in individual male categories -- three of the past four winners didn’t get any noms either. Weirdly, the only ensemble winner that did get one was “Birdman” -- for Michael Keaton.