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2019 SAG Award nominations: 'A Star Is Born' takes a not-so-shallow lead in awards season as the cast of 'Roma' is shut out

2019 SAG Award nominations: 'A Star Is Born' takes a not-so-shallow lead in awards season as the cast of 'Roma' is shut out
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.

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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.

So, yes, it’s hard to make much sense of the film slate of this year’s nominations, a group determined by a random sampling of 2,500 SAG-AFTRA members, many of whom apparently had issues reconciling the names on their ballots.

Really, you could just dismiss the whole thing out of hand simply for the omission of the brilliant Regina King, whose extraordinary supporting turn as the mother in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” has swept critics group prizes throughout the month of December.

But SAG Awards voters offered plenty of other reasons to break out that face-palm emoji.

Other than Rami Malek, can you name a cast member of “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Maybe Mike Myers, but just for the stunt casting, right? Yet the Queen biopic earned a nomination for best film ensemble, along with “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Maybe the random sampling of SAG Awards voters have just been unusually … random … lately. Last year, the outstanding ensemble of Guillermo del Toro’s lovely fantasy drama “The Shape of Water” earned nods for cast members Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins but no ensemble honor.

“Shape” went on to win the best picture Oscar, becoming the first movie since Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” to pull off that feat without a SAG Awards ensemble nomination.

That’s good news for overlooked “The Favourite” and “Vice” as well as Alfonso Cuarón’s intimate family drama, “Roma,” which was completely shut out. With a cast comprised of mostly unknown Mexican actors, few expected that SAG-AFTRA members would nominate “Roma.” Like King, Cuarón will have to be content with winning nearly every critics prize in the land.

The makers of the critically divisive crowd-pleaser “Green Book” can likewise comfort themselves with the individual nominations for stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. As the movie is essentially a two-hander (helped by Linda Cardellini’s supporting turn), the movie was a longshot to earn an ensemble nod.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney's "Mary Poppins Returns," which earned the actress one of two SAG nominations this year.
Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney's "Mary Poppins Returns," which earned the actress one of two SAG nominations this year. (Disney)

The names in the group’s individual acting nominations did solidify (calcify?) the categories, even at this early date. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the five women nominated for lead actress — Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”), Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Colman (“The Favourite”), Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) — go on to earn Oscar nods.

Blunt’s nomination confirms the glad tidings for the Disney sequel, which is shaping up to be a box office behemoth. The well-liked English actress also picked up a supporting actress nomination for her work in “A Quiet Place,” a performance that probably belongs in lead. But then, you could make that same argument about Stone and Weisz too, also nominated for supporting along with Adams and Margot Robbie (“Mary Queen of Scots”). It’s a hard year for someone like King, who actually had a supporting role in her film.

King can take solace that, typically, about 75% of the SAG Awards nominees go on to earn Oscar nominations, leaving room for a few surprises and necessary corrections.

In addition to Blunt’s double nomination on the film side, supporting actress nominees Adams and Stone also picked up additional individual nominations for their work on the TV limited series “Sharp Objects” and “Maniac,” respectively.

The most predictable element of this year’s SAG Awards was, yet again, the annual spell that Netflix casts over voters — again, a random sampling of 2,500 SAG-AFTRA members.

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The streaming outlet earned 15 nominations on the television side, the most of any network. Among its offerings, “GLOW” and newcomer “The Kominsky Method” were nominated for comedy ensemble, along with “Atlanta,” “Barry" and Emmy darling “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” For drama ensemble, Netflix’s “Ozark” was recognized in a field that also included a first-ever nomination for “The Americans” (in its final season), “Better Call Saul,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “This Is Us.”

The individual nominees skewed toward the older side, with veterans like Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”), Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”) and Henry Winkler (“Barry”) earning recognition. Robin Wright received her fifth consecutive nomination for the final season of “House of Cards,” overcoming competition including Julia Roberts’ acclaimed turn on Amazon’s “Homecoming” — not a given, but not a surprise either as SAG Awards voters tend to be even slower than their Emmy counterparts in recognizing new shows and talent.

The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. PT in a ceremony televised on TNT and TBS. The entire membership of nearly 160,000 people votes on the winners.

‘25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards’

Where: TNT and TBS

When: 5 p.m. Jan. 27

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