Not only are Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swank knee deep in the movie race at this year’s SAG Awards, but they’re also in the TV competish.
Foxx is nominated for his turn as gangster-turned-Nobel Prize nominee Stan “Tookie” Williams in “Redemption,” a telepic from FX.
Variety critic Scott Foundas called Foxx’s performance in “Redemption” “career defining.” The April 11 premiere of the telepic preceded “Ray,” so that statement might have to be amended, but the effusive praise holds up.
Swank, like Foxx the recipient of a Golden Globe win for her feature work, for “Million Dollar Baby,” co-starred in HBO’s “Iron Jawed Angels,” about the women’s suffrage movement.
Like “Million Dollar Baby,” “Angels” was a story that struck a very personal chord. Not one to work just for the sake of working, Swank followed up her “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) win with fewer roles than one might expect of an Oscar winner.
“I’ve had a very hard time finding scripts that I love,” Swank says, “and I read this script and I was instantly inspired and felt reconnected with women and inspired by women, especially those who paved the road for the freedom that women have now.”
Patricia Heaton leads all other TV thesps with three noms: two for “Everybody Loves Raymond” and one for the TNT telepic “The Goodbye Girl,” in which she co-starred with Jeff Daniels.
Heaton may benefit from the fact “Raymond” will be signing off in May and voters might want to recognize her work over the series’ nine seasons.
First, though, she’ll have to knock off three-time defending women’s comedy champ Megan Mullally of “Will & Grace.”
“The Sopranos” leads all shows with four nominations, shaking things up a bit from last year when the mob series wasn’t eligible. “Sopranos” finds itself in the ensemble drama race with “24”; “CSI”; HBO colleague “Six Feet Under”; and longtime kudo fave “The West Wing,” which has seen both a ratings increase this season and thumbs up from fans who saw the series slipping in the past couple of years.
James Gandolfini, who has won two kudos from the Screen Actors Guild, is up in the actor race while his on-screen wife, Edie Falco, finds herself in the femme competish. She won in 2003.
Challenging “Sopranos” in the drama category is Showtime newcomer “Huff,” the story of a psychologist struggling with his personal and professional lives. While the show has struggled in the ratings, nominee Hank Azaria says he’ll gladly accept positive feedback.
“I would love it if the ratings were huge but it seems to be getting the critical response we were hoping for,” says Azaria.
“It’s really kind of a compliment. Our viewers have very discriminatin palates.”
“Huff” marks Azaria’s fourth SAG nom, which includes a win in 1997 as an ensemble player in “The Birdcage.” His other mentions were for supporting player in
Robin Williams-Nathan Lane comedy and again in 2000 for playing the role of journalist-author Mitch Albom in the “Tuesdays With Morrie” telepic.
Gandolfini and Azaria might have a hard time gleaning more goodwill than Jerry Orbach, the “Law & Order” thesp who received his nom posthumously, after his death in December. Interestingly, this is Orbach’s first SAG nom as a lead. He received seven noms for his ensemble work on the Dick Wolf series.
Other new skeins to fall under SAG voters’ glare is, of course, ABC’s megahit “Desperate Housewives.”
Unlike the Golden Globes, which nominated three of the ladies from Wisteria Lane, only Globes winner Teri Hatcher was nominated for a SAG trophy. As it was for the Globes — and it seems that precedent has now been set — the series was entered in the comedy category, going up against “Arrested Development,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Sex and the City” and “Will & Grace.”