Acting! Genius! – 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Nominees

While the Oscars are the main event of Awards Season, there’s still a good deal of information to gather along the way for those trying to win their office pools. Just about every major production branch has its own union that votes on internal awards, but the big four in this regard are the unions for Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers. These give us the most hints about where the winds are blowing, and cover the most ground as far as what will be competing for the bulk of the hardware come Oscar Night.

The first of the guilds to announce their full slate of nominees is the Screen Actors Guild, the largest acting union in the world. The other three will release their lists in a couple of weeks (the PGA has already released a partial field, focusing on documentaries). There are over 160,000 members in SAG, as opposed to the just under 10,000 in the entire Academy. Suffice to say, there is likely to be significant overlap between who SAG nominates and who gets nods from the Acting Branch of the Academy. I wouldn’t be surprised if every member of the Acting Branch was also in SAG-AFTRA. As such, for those Oscar hopefuls that did not hear their name called today, the campaign must now go into overdrive to try to knock someone out of position.

You can find the full nominee list at SAG’s official site, here. For our purposes, we’re only interested in the feature film nominations, of which there are six. Four of them will have direct influence on the Oscar field, while “Best Cast” is the SAG equivalent of Best Picture. The final category, “Best Stunt Cast,” is just a bit of fun trivia, because sadly the Academy has yet to find a way to officially honor the hard work that goes into stunt performance.

As always, I’ll include links to relevant reviews and viewing information with each film. Here are your nominees for the 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards!

Best Actor
Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos – Theatres/Amazon Prime
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog – Theatres/Netflix
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick… BOOM! – Theatres/Netflix
Will Smith – King Richard – Theatres/VOD
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth – Theatres/AppleTV

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye – HBOMax
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter – Theatres/Netflix
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci – Theatres
Jennifer Hudson – Respect – VOD
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos

Best Supporting Actor
Ben Affleck – The Tender Bar – Theatres/Amazon Prime
Bradley Cooper – Licorice Pizza – Theatres
Troy Kotsur – CODA – AppleTV
Jared Leto – House of Gucci
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress
CaitrĂ­ona Balfe – Belfast – Theatres/VOD
Cate Blanchett – Nightmare Alley – Theatres
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story – Theatres
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Ruth Negga – Passing – Theatres/Netflix

Best Cast
Don’t Look Up – Netflix
House of Gucci
King Richard

Best Stunt Cast
Black Widow – Disney+
Dune – VOD
The Matrix Resurrections – Theatres/HBOMax
No Time to Die – VOD
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Disney+


So what can we glean from all of this? Well, for one, it appears I have a bit of a Netflix queue to get through, with three movies I have yet to see on this list. Second, it appears that the sane realms of Awards Season will not be going nearly as apeshit for the West Side Story remake as initially expected. For example, it got three wins at the Golden Globes last weekend (I still refuse to cover it fully until they unfuck themselves), including Best Picture – Musical/Comedy, Best Actress – Musical/Comedy for Rachel Zegler, and Supporting Actress for DeBose. Only the latter is represented here. That doesn’t mean the movie won’t get a bunch of nods come Oscar time, but when it leads a “ceremony” that’s all about celebrity but barely shows up when the professionals have their say, that’s very telling.

There are two big surprises here. One is how much love House of Gucci has gotten. The movie has a barely passable 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, and most critiques I’ve read are that the performances are only enjoyable when viewed as intentionally over-the-top camp. On the flip side of things, I am stunned – delightfully so, mind you – that Kristen Stewart and Spencer are nowhere to be found. Now, being a realist (and a cynic), this could be because of eligibility issues. If the movie was made without a fully SAG cast, then SAG voters aren’t allowed to consider this. This normally only comes up in extremely low budget indie hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild or something, so if Spencer decided to eschew the union (being a coproduction with the U.K. would not normally cause problems), that would be odd to say the least. Either way, I’ll be more than pleased if I don’t end up having to watch this movie. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.


As always, keep it locked here for more news and analysis as we get closer to the Oscars! For now, I’ve got to start organizing my Awards Season catchup viewings!

Join the conversation in the comments below! Which of these nominees is the most shocking? Who do you think got snubbed? Who are you rooting for? Let me know!

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