This year’s Oscar race is still as undecided as a swing state voter. On Wednesday, the Screen Actors Guild nominations failed to offer much clarity. Fox Searchlight’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” led with four nominations, more than any other film. However, other sure bets — such as “Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk,” and “The Post” — were left out of the best SAG ensemble category, usually a predicator of things to come at the Academy Awards.
On the TV side, the SAG Awards has a spotty track record when it comes to recognizing new shows. Last year, the group embraced “Stranger Things” (and did so again). This year, it also bestowed plenty of love to “GLOW” and “Ozark,” two of the buzziest shows from Netflix. But in doing so, it snubbed critically acclaimed new offerings like Amazon’s “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as well as Showtime’s “SMILF” — both of which picked up multiple Golden Globe nominations.
The 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards — the only major awards show that only honors actors — will be held on Jan. 21. Here are the biggest snubs and surprises.
Some pundits had thought that Christopher Nolan’s war epic could be a frontrunner to win best picture at the Oscars. But the SAG nominations only gave the box office hit a single nomination for its stunt team. This is significant because the last best picture winner that didn’t get nominated for best SAG ensemble was 1995’s “Braveheart.” When last year’s “La La Land” got left out of the ensemble category that proved to be a clue that it would eventually lose the top Oscar to “Moonlight.”
SNUB: “The Post” in all categories
Steven Spielberg’s ode to journalism and the Washington Post’s publishing of the Pentagon Papers screened late for guild members, and it now looks like not enough members of the SAG nominating committee saw it. That would explain why the movie got left out of best ensemble, best actor for Tom Hanks, and best actress for Meryl Streep. Expect the movie to rebound with a lot of Oscar nominations, as Academy voters catch up with their screeners over the holidays.
SNUB: “The Shape of Water” for best ensemble
Guillermo Del Toro’s love story about a lonely woman and a monster picked up nominations for Sally Hawkins (best actress) and Richard Jenkins (best supporting actor). But after leading all movies with seven Golden Globe nominations earlier this week, the film failed to snatch the all-important SAG ensemble nomination. That means, in all likelihood, the best picture Oscar will go to one of the following: “The Big Sick,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Mubound,” or “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
SNUB: Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Sony Pictures Classics has been campaigning Hammer as best supporting actor for “Call Me by Your Name,” even though he shares the screen time as one of two lovers in Luca Guadagnino’s film. That may have hurt him with SAG voters, who are stricter when it comes to category fudging. (Then again, Steve Carell is basically the lead actor in “Battle of the Sexes,” and he got the slot in supporting actor instead.)
SNUB: Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) and Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)
The series of sexual harassment allegations against both actors clearly had an impact on voting bodies — neither earned noms from either the HFPA or SAG Awards.
SNUB: “Will and Grace” cast shut out except for Sean Hayes
The revival of “Will and Grace” has earned plenty of viewers, but despite its popularity on the awards circuit during its first incarnation, it’s not winning as much adulation from voters. Eric McCormack earned the cast’s sole Globe nom; Hayes earned the only SAG nom. And it didn’t make the cut for comedy ensemble.
SNUB: “Twin Peaks”
David Lynch’s ambitious revival challenged viewers — and clearly voters as well, who ignored Kyle MacLachlan’s performance as several characters in the sprawling, challenging odyssey.
SNUB: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Maybe it premiered too late for SAG voters. Maybe they couldn’t figure out how to watch Amazon. But Amy Sherman-Palladino’s latest offering about a ’50s-era housewife won acclaim from critics — but struck out with SAG. Amazon has already announced a programming strategy shifting away from niche series in favor of tentpole efforts, so the impact on the awards scene remains a question mark.
SNUB: Female auteur comedies like “SMILF” and Frankie Shaw; “Insecure” and Issa Rae
Perhaps it’s unfair that these two should share a snub, but these female-led auteur comedies inexplicably didn’t register with SAG voters. (That said: it took two seasons for “Master of None” to make the cut; perhaps voters are just catching up?)
SNUB: Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers” and “Fargo”
Often said, but it bears repeating: Coon delivered two of the best performances of the year, period. Just watch the final episode of HBO’s “The Leftovers.”
Dee Rees’ sprawling drama about race and poverty in the post World War II South was the toast of last year’s Sundance Film Festival. After it sold to Netflix, many wondered if it could be the streaming service’s first best picture contender. But so far, outside of earning acclaim for best supporting actress Mary J. Blige, the movie has been under the radar with other awards groups. The SAG ensemble nod gives it a big boost.
SURPRISE: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
After receiving a SAG best male actor nomination, over Jake Gyllenhaal (“Stronger”) and Daniel Day-Lewis (“The Phantom Thread”), the star of “Get Out” now seems on his way to his first Oscar nomination. Earlier this week, Kaluuya also received a Golden Globe nod for his work in Jordan Peele’s hit film.
SURPRISE: Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Don’t ever underestimate a Dame. Dench snuck into the best female actor race for reprising her part as Queen Victoria. Let’s not forget that “Victoria & Abdul” was a major hit for Focus Features, grossing more than $60 million worldwide. It’s a competitive year for this category at the Oscars, and Dench had largely been written off by pundits, but there’s a chance that she could be returning to the Academy Awards.
SURPRISE: Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards”
Most of the awards chatter around “Three Billboards” has been for Frances Mcdormand and Sam Rockwell. But the SAG nominating committee also recognized Harrelson’s work as an ailing police officer, giving the movie two nods in the best supporting actor race.
SURPRISE: Marc Maron (“GLOW”)
“GLOW” was the surprise hit of the season — and SAG voters showered it with noms, from its ensemble to its leading lady Alison Brie (even its stunt team earned a nom). Maron earned his first nomination for his performance as the bitter director of the wrestling troupe.
SURPRISE: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” love
Actors love actors, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” made the cut for best ensemble, which features a lineup of famous face. But while the Globes didn’t recognize the HBO comedy’s latest season, SAG voters did — recognizing not just the team, but also its creator and star Larry David (who’d been nominated before in the show’s earlier seasons).