The most important predictor of the Oscars race has now weighed in. The SAG nominations are decided by actors, which make up the biggest voting body at the Academy Awards. While there are many more SAG voters than Oscar voters, the winners and nominees of the ceremony, held on Jan. 19, usually most closely mirror what happens at the Academy Awards.
That’s good news for Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Bombshell,” a drama about the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, which allreceived four SAG nominations. “Marriage Story,” a drama centered on a divorcing New York couple, also had strong showing, with three nominations.
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In the television categories, Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” topped the ballot with four nominations. Following closely behind are Amazon’s “Fleabag,” Apple TV Plus’ “The Morning Show,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and a trio from Netflix in “The Crown,” “The Kominsky Method” and “Stranger Things,” all with three nominations each.
The SAG Awards choose to combine lead and supporting performers into gender-specific acting categories, and that was greatly reflected again this year, especially on the television side of the ballot, where once again “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” female performers Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan are nominated alongside each other, as are “The Crown’s” Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman in the female TV drama actress race. “The Morning Show’s” Steve Carell and Billy Crudup both got into the the male TV drama actor category.
Here, Variety breaks down the biggest snubs and surprises of the 26th Annual SAG Award nominees:
SNUB: “Little Women” completely shut out
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel campaigned heavily with SAG voters, but it was completely shut out of this year’s awards. Saoirse Ronan didn’t get nominated in the lead actress category for playing Jo March. Florence Pugh was left out of supporting actress for her portrayal of Amy. And most surprising of all: the film didn’t get a nod for best ensemble, despite its cast that includes Meryl Streep, Laura Dern and Timothee Chalamet.
SNUB: “Marriage Story” doesn’t get best ensemble
Even though Noah Baumbach’s film received three individual acting nominations — for Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern — it missed out on the ensemble category. Instead, voters only went for one Netflix movie in the top category: Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
The World War I epic directed by Sam Mendes screened late in the season. But despite not receiving SAG nominations for best ensemble or its lead actor George MacKay, it will still likely be a major contender at the Oscars, once enough people have seen it.
SNUB: Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”
Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is considered one of this year’s biggest awards contenders. While the film received nominations for best ensemble and two for supporting actor (for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), De Niro came up short in the lead acting category for playing Frank Sheeran. After also not making the Globes, it’s looking less likely that De Niro will receive another Oscar nomination — he already has seven for acting — given how competitive this year’s lead male acting category is.
SNUB: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Banderas’ portrayal of an aging filmmaker in Pedro Almodovar’s drama was named the best male performance of the year by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. But it wasn’t included in this year’s SAG best actor category, which instead honored Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Driver (“Marriage Story”), Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”).
SNUB: Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
Murphy’s performance as Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix comedy has generated some of the best reviews of his career. Many pundits thought that he’d land a SAG nomination for the role, given that he’s playing an actor in a story set in Hollywood.
SNUB: Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”
After not getting a Golden Globe nomination, Sandler also failed to receive a SAG nod for playing a New York jeweler in the Safdie brothers’ film.
SNUB: “The Two Popes” misses
Since premiering at Telluride, there had been strong awards buzz for this Netflix indie drama about the unlikely friendship between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and his successor Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce). But the film didn’t register with the SAG voters — Pryce was snubbed in best actor, and Hopkins didn’t receive a best supporting actor nod.
SNUB: Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
One of the biggest omissions of the morning: SAG somehow didn’t nominate Awkwafina as best actress for her nuanced performance as an American who visits her Chinese grandmother in Lulu Wang’s Sundance darling.
After a buzzy second season that has had everyone talking (and tweeting) consistently since it aired on HBO over the summer — not to mention snagging some Emmy noms months ago and Golden Globe noms just earlier this week — the show was shut out in all drama series categories.
SNUB: “This Is Us”
The 2018 winner in the drama series ensemble category was nominated at last year’s ceremony, too, but the third time did not prove to be the charm for this usual broadcast awards magnet. Lead actor Sterling K. Brown scored a nod in the individual performer category, but despite the cast only growing with rich talents such as Asante Blackk, Omar Epps and Jennifer Morrison this season, it did not see a return to the ballot.
SNUB: “Watchmen” in Drama Series Ensemble
Admittedly, the freshman HBO adaptation of the 1980s graphic novel of the same name did pick up a stunt ensemble nod — and it has also been historically hard for a first-season show to garner enough attention with this guild to break onto the ballot, but this cast is so stacked (Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, etc), it seemed like it could — and should — be one to buck the trend.
After being nominated for five previous SAG Awards (winning once, in 2018), the final season of the HBO political comedy saw no last love — not even for its leading lady and veteran comedic star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
SNUB: Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies” and “The Morning Show”
The veteran film star was eligible against herself in the female drama actor category for TV this year, having appeared in both Apple TV Plus’ freshman “The Morning Show” and the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” but she was shut out for both roles. Technically, the SAG-AFTRA voting members still celebrated her in the drama series ensemble nom for “Big Little Lies,” but her not receiving an individual performer nod was a snub.
SNUB: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
The “Big Little Lies” star won the limited series/TV movie female actor trophy in 2018, but did not see a return to the individual performer ballot this year, now that the show is competing in drama. Perhaps the competition was just too stiff, or perhaps the voters were still stung by the category switch. At least she’s celebrated in the drama series ensemble nod for the HBO show overall.
SURPRISE: And Kidman got nominated for “Bombshell”
Many people thought that two of the actresses from “Bombshell” — Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie — would be locks for nominations. But Kidman also made it into the best supporting actress category for playing Gretchen Carlson in the drama about sexual harassment at Fox News.
SURPRISE: “Parasite” lands best ensemble nomination
The cast of Bong Joon-ho’s rapturously reviewed drama became the second foreign language film in history — after “Life Is Beautiful” — to receive a SAG best ensemble nomination. That’s the clearest sign yet that the film has a lot of support among actors, and it could be a strong contender in this year’s best picture Oscars race.
SURPRISE: Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
Egerton’s performance as Elton John in this musical biopic was beloved, but the movie, which came out in May, has been overshadowed by a slew of fall releases. The fact that Egerton got nominated over De Niro (“The Irishman”) and Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) is a surprise. And a year after Rami Malek won this category for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it’s a reminder that awards voters love it when actors play musical legends.
SURPRISE: Stacked Supporters in TV
Three out of the five nominees in the male TV comedy actor category went to supporting players (“The Kominsky Method’s” Alan Arkin, “Fleabag’s” Andrew Scott and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” Tony Shalhoub), and the numbers were the same in the male TV drama actor category, too. (There the supporting players up for the statue in January are “The Morning Show’s” Billy Crudup, “Game of Thrones’s” Peter Dinklage and “Stranger Things’s” David Harbour). They all turned in strong performances, but seeing so many take coveted spots on the ballot over those who lead shows was not expected.
SURPRISE: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Nominated for the last two consecutive years, if anyone was going to continue the trend, it would be SAG-AFTRA voters. Still, it scored noms in both the drama series ensemble and female TV drama actor (for Elisabeth Moss) categories at a time when it has faded from the zeitgeist.
SURPRISE: Steve Carell and Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
Two male players from “The Morning Show” getting nominated was a surprise — put that up against the fact that only one female player (Jennifer Aniston) from the show scored a nom, and it’s an even bigger surprise. Carell is a lead actor in the series, while Crudup is supporting, so perhaps voters didn’t see them in as much direct competition as Aniston and Witherspoon, who are both leads, despite the fact that the category is combined. Whatever the reasoning, it certainly makes for more interesting conversation and campaigning leading up to the ceremony.
SURPRISE: Toni Collette, “Unbelievable”
On her own, Collette scoring a nom is not a shock — she’s a three-time prior nominee (one-time winner) — but the fact that she is only one nominated from Netflix’s “Unbelievable” is. Collette submitted as a supporting performer for the eight-part harrowing limited series about sexual assault and scored the nom over her two costars who went lead (Kaitlyn Dever and Merritt Wever).
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