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SAG Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises

The Screen Actors Guild nominations are often a sign of who will be invited to the Oscars, since actors constitute the largest group of Academy voters. After Wednesday morning’s nomination announcement, that could mean good news for “Birdman” (which picked up four noms, more than any other film), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”), and Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”), and not great news for Jessica Chastain (overlooked for “A Most Violent Year”) and “Selma” (Paramount didn’t send out screeners in time). On the TV side, the nominees don’t necessarily create momentum for the Emmys, but they can’t hurt in building buzz for freshman shows like Showtime’s “The Affair” and Cinemax’s “The Knick,” which were shut out. Here are the biggest snubs and surprises in both TV and film.

SNUB: Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year.”
Chastain has had a busy year with roles in “Insterstellar” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” but her work in “A Most Violent Year”—as the wife of a shady oil salesman from 1981—has the most awards potential. The fact that the first hour of the J.C. Chandor drama is slow to build may have hurt her.

SNUB: Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper.”
The Warner Bros. release directed by Clint Eastwood was one of the last movies screened this year, so voters may not have had a chance to appreciate Cooper’s transformation (he packed on 40 pounds of muscle) as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Then again, all hope isn’t lost: Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) were snubbed by the SAGs last year but still landed Oscar nominations.

SNUB: “Selma” and David Oyelowo.
Ava DuVernay’s drama about 1965 civil rights marches is considered, along with “Boyhood” and “The Imitation Game,” one of the Oscar frontrunners this year. Paramount didn’t send out screeners to SAG voters, which cost the film nominations in the best ensemble category (where it surely would have knocked out “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and best actor for David Oyelowo for his breakthrough performance as Martin Luther King Jr.

SNUB: Hilary Swank, “The Homesman.”
Swank’s Western hasn’t been widely screened or buzzed about. But in a weak year for actresses, she could have made the cut.

SNUB: Bill Murray, “St. Vincent.”
Even though his co-star Naomi Watts received a nomination, Murray didn’t for his best performance since “Lost in Translation.”

SNUB: Laura Dern, “Wild.”
She should have been included in the best supporting actress race for her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed’s mom.

SNUB: Jon Hamm, “Mad Men.”
For the second consecutive year, the SAGs didn’t nominate Jon Hamm for playing Don Draper, or anyone else from the excellent cast of “Mad Men” (including Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery).

SNUB: Kerry Washington, “Scandal.”
How did Washington not get nominated for playing one of the strongest women on TV? Instead, voters went with a performance from another Shonda Rhimes show — Viola Davis in “How to Get Away With Murder,” which is deserved. But it’s sad that SAG voters couldn’t include two African American actresses in this category.

SNUB: Martin Freeman, “Sherlock” and “Fargo.”
The actor was double snubbed for his two performances, which may have cancelled each other out.

SNUB: “True Detective,” best ensemble.
That the HBO series missed out on ensemble isn’t shocking, since its cast included about 2.5 actors. But it still could have been recognized for the quality of storytelling that was displayed in season one.

SNUB: And they also forgot “Transparent,” “The Knick,” “The Affair,” “Jane the Virgin” and “The Leftovers.”
SAG continues to hate freshman shows. The ones above were shut out completely, just like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Homeland” were in the past.

SNUB: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story.”
This is the first time the actress has missed out on a nomination for the FX drama.

SNUB: “Masters of Sex.”
The Showtime series and outstanding leads Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan continue to go overlooked by their fellow actors.

SURPRISE: Naomi Watts, “St. Vincent.”
The biggest surprise of the morning was Watts’ unexpected nomination for her role as a Russian prostitute in the Ted Melfi comedy starring Bill Murray. Watts also appeared in “Birdman,” which voters loved, and that probably helped her pop up in this category.

SURPRISE: Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler.”
After receiving an Independent Spirit Awards nomination, Gyllenhaal picked up yet another bid, building more momentum for his work as a L.A. crime paparazzo in the Dan Gilroy drama. He lost 30 pounds for the role that could give him his first Oscar nomination since 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

SURPRISE: Jennifer Aniston, “Cake.”
A favorite at the SAG Awards from her days on “Friends,” Aniston picked up her first nomination for acting in a movie, despite mixed reviews for her Toronto drama about a woman with chronic pain.

SURPRISE: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” best ensemble.
The Wes Anderson comedy made it into the best ensemble category, which is like SAG’s version of best picture, over “Unbroken” and the actor-friendly “Into the Woods.” Even though it doesn’t always line up with that Oscar category, it will give the Fox Searchlight indie a bump.

SURPRISE: Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black.”
Maslany getting awards season love is a sign that voters have finally caught up to what the Internet has known for a while: She’s fantastic in the BBC America series where she seamlessly plays multiple roles, often in the same scene.

SURPRISE: Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black.”
The Netflix series switching from drama to comedy worked in the favor of its breakout actress.

SURPRISE: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” best ensemble.
The Fox comedy starring Andy Samberg won the Golden Globe, but it was mostly shut out of the Emmys.

Which nominations surprised you the most? Weigh in below.

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