Viewing guide: How to watch the top Golden Globe and SAG-nominated films


A few of the awards contenders, such “Joy,” with Jennifer Lawrence, have yet to hit theaters.

(Twentieth Century Fox )

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and Screen Actors Guild have selected their front-runner films for the 2016 Golden Globes and SAG Awards. While many of the films have enjoyed wide release and both meager and blockbuster box-office success, a few of the top picks have yet to hit theaters. We limited our list to films that were either nominated by SAG for ensemble casts or by the Globes for best picture in either the drama or the comedy or musical category.

FULL COVERAGE: SAG Awards Golden Globe Awards

If you’re planning on catching up with the contenders, and getting a head start on the conversation for the Oscars, here’s a viewing guide to help you track them down.




“Beasts of No Nation” | Released Oct. 16 | Review

Cary Joji Fukunaga’s film, which opened in select theaters and on Netflix in October, tells the gripping tale of west-central African child soldier Agu. The drama earned a SAG Award nod for ensemble cast and SAG and Golden Globe nods for supporting actor Idris Elba.


Box office: Released online, $90,000 at theaters.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” | Released May 15 | Review

Director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic wasteland reboot earned rave reviews and Golden Globe nominations for Miller’s directing and for motion picture, drama.

Box office: $153 million; $375 million worldwide

“Spy” | Released June 5 | Review 

Paul Feig’s crowd-pleasing summer tent pole, which saw Melissa McCarthy transform from mousy CIA analyst to full-fledged, gun-wielding double agent, enjoyed a blockbuster summer and was an awards-morning surprise. The film earned a coveted motion picture-comedy nomination and a lead actress-comedy nomination for McCarthy.


Box office: $110 million domestic; $235 million worldwide

Trailer for the upcoming film “Straight Outta Compton.”

“Straight Outta Compton” | Released Aug. 14 | Review

The N.W.A biopic is no longer available in wide release and won’t hit DVD and Blu-ray until January, so it might be the trickiest of the bunch to track down this season. But the team behind F. Gary Gray’s take on the massively influential Compton rap group is pushing hard to make the film an Oscar contender. The film only earned one SAG nomination but it was a good one: performance by a cast in a motion picture.

Box office: $161 million domestic; $200 million worldwide

“Trainwreck” | Released July 17 | Review

Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer’s bawdy summer comedy earned a Golden Globe nomination for motion picture-comedy and a lead actress nod for Schumer, who also penned the script. It  proved that Schumer could translate her stand-up persona to the big screen.


Box office: $110 million; $139 million worldwide



“Carol” | Released Nov. 20 | Review

Though it hasn’t quite hit its stride at the box office, the lesbian love story starring Rooney Mara and Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has been a major awards contender since it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The romance not only got best picture nominations for both SAG and Golden Globes, Blanchett and Mara will compete against each other in the Globes lead actress category. As for SAGs, Mara was placed with the supporting actress nominees while Blanchett was among the lead actresses. Director Todd Haynes and composer Carter Burwell also received nominations for directing and score.

Box office so far: $862,753 domestic; $2.8 million worldwide 

“The Martian” | Released Oct. 2| Review

Surprisingly snubbed by the SAG Awards, “The Martian” and its star, Matt Damon, comfortably showed up among the Golden Globe nominees — albeit in the comedy categories. Ridley Scott also earned a directing nomination for his adaptation of the science-heavy, stranded-on-Mars tale, which has dominated the box office.

Box office so far: $221 million domestic; $572 million worldwide

“Room” | Released Oct. 16 | Review

Emma Donoghue, who adapted the screenplay from her bestselling novel, earned a Golden Globe nomination for her screenplay about a young woman imprisoned for years in a tiny shed and her son, who was born there and never experienced the outside world. The drama’s star, Brie Larson, earned lead actress nominations from both the acting guild and HFPA, and Jacob Tremblay, who plays the son, earned a SAG Award supporting actor nod. 

Box office so far: $3.79 million domestic

“Spotlight” | Released Nov. 6 | Review

The Gotham Award-winning drama, which follows the work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe journalists as they uncovered decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and the systematic maneuvers to conceal the scandal, was largely shut out of the acting fields for the Golden Globes. The film earned nominations for motion picture-drama, screenplay and Tom McCarthy’s directing. Meanwhile, SAG, which primarily honors actors, bestowed nominations on the ensemble cast and gave Rachel McAdams a supporting actress nod.

Box office so far: $17.5 million domestic

“Trumbo” | Wide release Nov. 26 | Review

The drama starring Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren hearkens back to the dark days of Hollywood when the likes of top-paid screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) were blacklisted after a congressional investigations linked them to the Communist Party. The Jay Roach-directed film earned a SAG nod for the collective cast and both Cranston and Mirren clinched SAG and Golden Globe nominations for their individual performances.

Box office so far: $4.5 million domestic



“The Big Short” | Limited release Dec. 11, in wide release Dec. 23 | Review

Director Adam McKay and his screenwriters managed to make the 2008 housing collapse entertaining, which is helped by the all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. Both the acting guild and HFPA recognized the film as among the best of the year, and Bale’s role as an antisocial and eccentric money manager earned him nominations by both organizations. He’ll be up against Carell in the lead actor category at the Globes, where McKay and writing partner Charles Randolph are also up for best screenplay.

“Joy” | Released Dec. 25

Director-screenwriter David O. Russell’s third pairing with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is up for best motion picture-comedy at the Golden Globes, and two-time Globe winner Lawrence earned her fourth acting nomination from the HFPA for playing a housewife whose mop invention changes the course of her life and career. The film was completely snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild.

“The Revenant” | Limited release Dec. 25, in wide release Jan. 8 

Barely making the awards season cutoff, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s gritty frontier epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio as wounded frontier trapper Hugh Glass has earned rave reviews at early screenings. On the Globes front, Iñárritu’s directing, the score and DiCaprio’s acting all got kudos. As for SAG, DiCaprio is a contender in the lead actor category.

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place Jan. 10, and the SAG Awards will be held Jan. 30. Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 14, and the 88th Academy Awards will take place Feb. 28.

The Times’ Kevin Crust contributed to this report. All box office data was compiled from 

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.

Get our weekly Indie Focus newsletter