Chadwick Boseman makes history, 'Bridgerton' makes a comeback: SAG Award nominations snubs and surprises

(Photo: Netflix)
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hillbilly Elegy and Da 5 Bloods. (Photo: Netflix)

The pandemic-delayed season is in full effect, with this morning’s 2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations coming quickly on the heels of Wednesday’s much-flogged Golden Globes noms.

The SAG Awards tend to hold far more weight as an Oscars predictor considering its voting body consists of thousands of actors, many who are also members of the Motion Picture Academy (as opposed to the Golden Globe-voting Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which comprises fewer than 100 members), but still there always a few big surprises — both pleasant and otherwise — from the thespian branch.

While Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Minari, One Night in Miami and The Trial of the Chicago 7 secured nods for Best Film Ensemble, the top movie prize, it was the late Chadwick Boseman who was at the top of the film honors.

Boseman received four posthumous nominations: Best Actor (Ma Rainey), Best Supporting Actor (Da 5 Bloods) and two additional nods as a member of both those ensembles. As Gold Derby’s Joyce Eng pointed out, that’s the first time in SAG history any performer has received four film nominations in a single year. It’s an admirable way for actors to pay their respects to one of their own, the beloved Black Panther star who delivered a heartbreaking career-best turn as a troubled horn player in Ma Rainey and stole every scene he was in as a fallen soldier in Da 5 Bloods. Boseman died in August at age 43 after a secret four-year bout with colon cancer.

On the television side, the casts of Better Call Saul, Bridgerton, The Crown, Lovecraft Country and Ozark will compete for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, while Dead to Me, The Flight Attendant, The Great, Schitt’s Creek and Ted Lasso filled out Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

Here are some of the most notable storylines from Thursday’s SAG Awards nominations:

Bridgerton bounces back

After its Christmas Day premiere, Netflix’s multicultural debutante drama from Shonda Rhimes quickly became the streaming giant’s most-watched show ever, with 82 million viewers. Despite that success, the series was shockingly snubbed by the Golden Globes, with zero nominations. SAG invited Bridgerton to the ball, however, with nods for Best Ensemble, Drama and the show’s breakout heartthrob Regé-Jean Page for Best Actor, Drama.

As does Minari

'Minari' (A24)
Minari (Photo: A24)

Even before nominations were announced this week, the Golden Globes took plenty of heat for only considering Minari — Lee Chung Isaac’s exceptional comedic drama about a Korean American family that relocates from California to an Arkansas farm — as Best Foreign-Language Film, and not Best Picture. Then the HFPA completely ignored the film’s widely acclaimed performances in the acting categories. The Screen Actors Guild, however, was all about Minari — nominating the film for Best Ensemble, along with stars Steven Yeun (Best Actor) and Youn Yuh-Jung (Best Supporting Actress). Watch out, Oscars.

Hillbilly Elegy shows life

Ron Howard’s much-maligned adaptation of J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir has been a punching bag for critics, and general sentiment for the Netflix release has been that its awards chances were shrinking. A Hollywood Reporter pundit called the film “a running joke” while expressing outrage that Glenn Close was nominated by the Globes for her barely recognizable turn as Mamaw. But Close’s transformative performance is undeniably stellar, something SAG recognized by nominating her for Best Supporting Actress (alongside her 2018 awards circuit rival OIivia Colman for The Father). The bigger surprise is that Amy Adams also made the cut in Best Actress, edging out contenders like Zendaya (Malcolm and Marie) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday). Then again, Adams is an industry favorite, beloved by her acting peers: This marks her seventh individual SAG nomination (not counting ensembles) since 2006.

Delroy Lindo’s rough week continues

While Yeun may have snagged a Best Actor nod, it may have come at the expense of another critical favorite: Delroy Lindo. Following the premiere of Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods on Netflix in June, Lindo’s explosive performance as a Vietnam vet with PTSD was immediately hailed as the year’s best — and even into fall, his awards mojo felt inevitable. While the Globes are gonna Globes, as they say, snubbing Lindo Wednesday, a second consecutive miss for him in Best Actor from the SAG Awards really hurts.

Justice for Micahela Coel

I May Destroy You fans were rightly up in arms after the Globes snubbed the HBO show’s creator, writer, co-director and star Michaela Coel. The pain was especially raw given the series, which manages to balance warmth and hilarity with its heavy themes of sexual assault survival, is by all accounts a one-and-done scenario, so there’s no “wait until next year” (or at least we don’t think so). The actors branch brought a quick remedy, though, honoring the revelatory Coel in Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

Jared Leto… again?!

Every year there seems to be a nominee we just don’t see coming. Between his surprise Globes nod Wednesday and another bump from the SAG Awards on Thursday, this year’s surprise contender seems to be Jared Leto, the last guy on Earth to find out about COVID-19 and also a very talented actor who does indeed bring an inexplicable magnetism to a creepy murder suspect in the late-breaking crime thriller The Little Things. Unfortunately, Leto’s inclusion in Best Supporting Actor meant the snubbing of Paul Raci, who, like Lindo, went for 0-2 this week despite delivering one of the most poignant turns of the year in the indie breakout Sound of Metal.

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