The road to this year’s 27th Annual SAG Awards is going to look and feel a little different — especially now that the ceremony won’t be held until April 4, two months after the nominations announcement. But, now that the nominees are known, there is a bit more shape to quite a few unpredictable races in an unprecedented year.
The SAG Awards are still considered a precursor to the Academy Awards in many ways, but there is not as much guaranteed correlation on the television side of the ballot, for the eventual Primetime Emmy Awards in September. Most notably this is because many already had their crack at the Emmy ballot at last year’s ceremony. (Unlike the SAG season, whose eligibility was determined this year by extending the 2020 calendar year to also include projects released through Feb. 28, the Television Academy’s calendar still follows the traditional broadcast schedule, making what aired or streamed from June 1 of the previous year to May 31 of the current year the in-contention titles and talent.)
On the television side of the ballot this year, Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” scored a comedy series ensemble nom and individual acting noms for all four of its cast members who picked up Emmys in September. Here, though, they won’t be able to see the same volume of trophies as they received from the Television Academy, since their male actors and their female actors share the same category. Other series and performers that are seeing SAG love this year after already being Emmy-nominated for their seasons include Netflix’s “Ozark” and its performers Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner; Netflix’s “Dead To Me” and its stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini; “Mrs. America’s” Cate Blanchett; “Little Fires Everywhere’s” Kerry Washington; and “I Know This Much Is True’s” Mark Ruffalo.
A number of series that debuted in time for winter awards season made it onto this ballot, as well, from Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” and its stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Bill Camp; to “I May Destroy You’s” Michaela Coel, “The Good Lord Bird’s” Ethan Hawke, “The Undoing’s” Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, and HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” as well as its star Kaley Cuoco.
Meanwhile, on the film side, “Minari” had a strong showing after many considered it being snubbed at the Golden Globes yesterday with merely a foreign language film nomination. Lee Isaac Chung’s movie scored nominations for it’s ensemble and individual nods for Steven Yeun and Youn Yuh-Jung, tying with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods” for most nominations. The latter film failed to see Delroy Lindo, a critical fave of the season, land an individual nomination, but with nods for the ensemble, stunt ensemble and Chadwick Boseman, still walked away with three.
Also making a strong, surprise showing was “Hillbilly Elegy” with two noms; though Glenn Close was predicted to make the supporting cut, Amy Adams landing in lead was a big surprise and a nice boost for the Netflix film.
Here, Variety breaks down the biggest snubs and surprises of the 27th Annual SAG Awards.
SNUB: Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Long considered a major frontrunner (with many saying she would be the film’s sole acting nomination), Seyfried was overlooked for her tender, heartfelt work as Marion Davies in David Fincher’s latest. But her co-star Gary Oldman did make it onto the ballot in the title role.
SURPRISE: Amy Adams, “Hillbilly Elegy”
Adams hasn’t really campaigned for her role in Ron Howard’s film and the movie itself hasn’t been in the conversation much outside of Glenn Close’s supporting performance, but that didn’t matter – her turn as an addicted and unstable mother still scored a nomination. Adams’ took the nod over such actors as Andra Day (“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday”) who received a Golden Globe nomination yesterday in the actress in a drama category and others such as Zendaya (“Malcolm and Marie”) and Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”), who was nominated in the musical/comedy category at the Globes.
SNUB: “Nomadland” Ensemble
Chloe Zhao’s meditation on the life of modern-day nomads is considered an Oscar frontrunner, but didn’t land a coveted ensemble nod at SAG. Perhaps voters view it primarily as a tour de force for star Frances McDormand or perhaps the category was just too crowded. Still, “Nomadland” shouldn’t worry as recent best picture winners “Green Book” and “The Shape of Water” also failed to land ensemble noms.
SNUB: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Though he’s been racking up critics’ awards for his lead turn in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” Lindo missed an individual acting nom — but he is nominated as part of the movie’s ensemble. He was also snubbed for a Golden Globes nomination on Wednesday.
SNUB: Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
Another favorite of the critics’ groups, Raci’s breakout turn as Joe, the leader of a deaf commune who helps Riz Ahmed’s Ruben adjust to a new life, didn’t make the cut for male actor in a supporting role. And “Sound of Metal” didn’t pick up an ensemble nom as many had predicted.
SNUB: The “Tenet” Stunt Team
Though Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-melter featured many effects done practically, and eye-poppers like fights and car chases done backward, it failed to land a spot on the ballot.
It’s not really shocking, considering the acclaim for Lee Isaac Chung’s beautiful film about a family of South Korean immigrants in Arkansas — but considering the stiff competition and unpredictability of the year, nothing was certain. After scoring only a foreign language film nod at the Globes, “Minari” made up for it with nominations not only for the ensemble, but female actor in a supporting role Youn Yuh-Jung and lead actor Steven Yeun, breaking into the extremely competitive best actor race.
SNUB: The women of “Killing Eve”
In many ways it is not entirely surprising that neither the BBC America drama “Killing Eve,” nor its co-leads Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh cracked onto the SAG ballot this year: Even though Oh was nominated in 2019 and Comer just last year, this third season aired in the spring of 2020, which admittedly feels like a whole different time in our television landscape. Still, their performances only became more nuanced as their characters not only continued to chase each other in the third season, but they also explored rich individual lives outside one another.
SURPRISE: Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You”
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, the English actor-writer-producer made Variety‘s Golden Globes snubs and surprises list as a snub. She had seemed like more of a shoo-in for a nom from the HFPA than the Screen Actors Guild, so when that didn’t happen, it seemed like hearing her name today would be a longer shot than originally imagined. But that just goes to show prognostication is not a perfect science.
SURPRISE: Female Actor Battle Between Only “The Crown” and “Ozark”
Since the individual acting categories still combine lead and supporting players into one all-star race per gender, this year’s female drama series actor race is coming down to three women from Netflix’s royal family period piece “The Crown” and two from the same streamer’s dark money-laundering family drama “Ozark.” From the former, it’s returning heavyweight Olivia Colman, and Season 4 newcomers Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin, while the latter sees Laura Linney and Julia Garner. While all of these women have been top contenders this entire winter awards campaign, it is still shocking to see the list in print and realize that out of five nominees, they only represent two shows.
SNUB: Limited Series / TV Movie Ensemble Casts
We’ve said it before and we’ll have to keep saying it because nothing is changing, it is a huge missed opportunity not to offer a limited series/TV movie ensemble category and subsequent award. From the 1st Annual SAG Awards in 1995 the org included gender-specific individual performer categories for limited series/TV movies, but not ensemble, and when representatives from the organization have been asked about it, they have cited the need to keep broadcast of the show from ballooning. But with so many big-name and big-talent actors coming together in these shorter-form small-screen projects (see: FX’s “Fargo” and HBO’s “The Undoing,” for example), it feels like an even bigger oversight today to keep ignoring that ensemble than it did a quarter of a century ago.
SURPRISE: Regé-Jean Page and “Bridgerton”
In many ways it just seemed early for SAG to recognize these new kids on the block — especially when there were so many returning favorites that could (and in some places, did) cram up the drama categories. But what SAG often does best is recognize rising talent, not just the big names. By celebrating both Page and the show as a whole, it has welcomed a whole new class of performers into its folds and potentially even been the start of a trend of celebrating them. (Though that, technically, still remains to be proven.)