The Screen Actors Guild Awards spread the wealth when the organization announced nominations Thursday for its 27th edition, failing to signal there were any clear frontrunners in either the film or television races.
“Minari,” the story of an immigrant family trying to build a life in the rural South, “Da 5 Bloods, a Vietnam epic, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a courtroom drama, and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” an adaptation of an August Wilson play, all scored a leading three nominations. The recognition felt like karmic justice for “Minari” and “Da 5 Bloods” after the films were largely shut out of Wednesday’s Golden Globe nominations. It could also breathe fresh life into their Oscar prospects after their awards prospects were looking shaky just 24 hours ago.
In a bittersweet moment, Chadwick Boseman made history, becoming the first person to score four SAG nominations for his lead performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” his supporting role in “Da 5 Bloods,” and for his work in the ensembles of both films. Boseman died in September of colon cancer. He was 43.
On the television side of the spectrum, “Schitt’s Creek,” the story of a wealthy family who lose their fortune, and “The Crown,” a lavish historical drama about the queen of England, nabbed a leading five nominations. “Ozark,” a gritty crime saga, was close behind with four nods.
Unlike other awards shows, SAG doesn’t honor the best film of the year. It does, however, recognize the best ensemble, with last year’s cast award going to future best picture winner, “Parasite.” This year’s best motion picture ensemble contenders include “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Minari,” “One Night in Miami,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Da 5 Bloods.” “Nomadland,” which has scored some of the year’s best reviews and had looked like an Oscars lock, failed to nab an award for its ensemble cast, though star Frances McDormand scored a nomination.
The best TV drama ensemble will pit awards staples, “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown” and “Ozark,” against newcomers, “Bridgerton” and “Lovecraft Country,” two buzzy series in their inaugural seasons.
The best TV comedy category is a race between “Dead to Me,” “The Great” and “Schitt’s Creek,” as well as “Ted Lasso” and “The Flight Attendant,” which hail from two new entrants in the streaming space, Apple TV and HBO Max.
SAG, which is decided by the industry’s leading actors union, has a great deal of overlap with the voters for the Academy Awards. Many guild members are also part of the acting branch of the Academy, which makes the awards highly predictive of future Oscars glory. All four of last year’s SAG victors — Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern — won Oscars.
In addition to Boseman, the leading actor category includes Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Steven Yeun (“Minari”). In the lead actress race, “Nomadland’s” McDormand must vie with Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) and Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”). Adams’ inclusion was a surprise given that the film was critically drubbed, and her co-star, Glenn Close, was nominated for her supporting turn.
“The Crown’s” Olivia Colman was a dual nominee, up for her leading turn in the historical drama, as well as for her supporting work in “The Father.” She joins a best actress in a TV drama race that includes two of her co-stars from the series, Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin, as well as “Ozark’s” Laura Linney and Julia Garner.
The best actor in a TV drama race is between “Ozark” leading man Jason Bateman, “The Crown’s” Josh O’Connor, “Better Call Saul’s” Bob Odenkirk, “This is Us” star Sterling K. Brown, and Rege-Jean Page, the leading man of current water cooler sensation “Bridgerton.”
The father-son “Schitt’s Creek” duo of Dan Levy and Eugene Levy are both nominated in the best actor in a TV comedy category. They join a contingent that includes Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”), Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) and Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”).
Kaley Cuoco, who anchored HBO Max’s breakout hit “The Flight Attendant,” will compete for the best actress in a TV comedy prize against the “Dead to Me” duo Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, as well as the “Schitt’s Creek” team of Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara.
This year’s nominations had some surprises and snubs. Delroy Lindo, who anchored the ensemble of “Da Five Bloods,” was overlooked, as was Andra Day for her chameleonic turn as a troubled diva in “The United State vs. Billie Holiday.” And “Lovecraft Country” may have earned an ensemble nomination, but its stars, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, were overlooked. Perhaps the strangest nomination of the day went to the stunt cast of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a historical drama that largely unfolds in courtrooms and antechambers. Its few set pieces are much smaller than the magnitude of “Tenet” or “Birds of Prey,” both of which it beat out to get into the final five.
This year’s nominations were announced on Instagram Live by Lily Collins and Daveed Diggs, who was also nominated for his performance in “Hamilton.” The pair’s occasionally awkward banter drew mixed reviews on social media.
The awards show will air on TNT and TBS on Sunday, April 4, 2021.