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SAG Nominations 2023: 15 Biggest Snubs and Surprises, From Michelle Williams to ‘Yellowstone’

Michelle Williams Kevin Costner
Universal / Paramount

The 29th annual SAG Awards unveiled its nominees Wednesday morning with presenters Ashley Park and Haley Lu Richardson and, as always, there were a few surprises in the mix.

Of course, the biggest shock of the morning may have been the 11th hour Hail Mary to save the SAG Awards, as the orphaned kudocast suddenly has a new home. Although Netflix execs had previously expressed no interest in picking up the telecast — which had been let go by TNT/TBS after decades — the streamer reversed course Wednesday morning and announced a new deal that will see the SAG Awards run on Netflix’s YouTube channel this year and on the actual platform in 2024.

The 2023 SAG Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Here, Variety breaks down the biggest snubs and surprises from this year;s SAG Awards nominations.

SURPRISE: Adam Sandler, “The Hustle”
The actor and comedian turned in perhaps his best dramatic performance yet as Stanley Sugarman, a basketball scout who risks his career on an unproven talent. Sandler has been close here before; his lauded turns in “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Uncut Gems” garnered awards buzz, but until now, he thus far he has failed to snag a SAG nomination. With the male actor in a leading role category so competitive, nothing was certain. But in the end, Sandler joined the line-up with a long overdue.

SNUB: Michelle Williams, “The Fabelmans”
All season long, the female actor in a leading role competition has been fierce, and the category was ripe for some shockers. Still, Williams seemed like a sure thing for her role in Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” having already picked up Golden Globe and Critics Choice nods. While she is still nominated as part of the film’s ensemble, the only solo nominee from the film ended up being Paul Dano in supporting.

SURPRISE: Hong Chau, “The Whale,” and Stephanie Hsu, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the day, both Chau and Hsu received recognition for their wonderful supporting work. One on hand, it’s not a surprise to see them here — both earned raves for their turns in films that were certain to show up here today as Chau’s co-star Brendan Fraser and several of Hsu’s cast members were also assured nominations. But it’s a competitive category and neither received Golden Globe nods — though Chau was recognized with a Gotham nomination and Hsu has received nods from both Critics’ Choice and the Spirit Awards. There was also a question of competing against their own cast members, as both films feature several outstanding supporting performances. But in the end, both actors landed spots in what might be the most in flux category in the race.  

SURPRISE: “Babylon” in Ensemble
On one hand, it makes perfect sense: “Babylon” is a big, bold movie about the industry with a cast made up of big-name movie stars like Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie but also breakthrough talents like leading man Diego Calva. But the film is not for everyone and after a muted box office response, there was a question of how many people had actually seen the film. As it turns out, there was enough to land it a coveted slot despite a lack of solo nominations for its actors.

SNUB: “Glass Onion,” “Elvis,” “The Woman King” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in Ensemble
The toughest category to predict this year was likely film ensemble, as so many amazing films were in the running. There’s also very little to go on — while voters seem to love big, starry ensembles, they have also gravitated toward more intimate casts in the past. But Rian Johnson’s starry, fun “Glass Onion” seemed built for the ensemble category and the film is clearly beloved. “Wakanda Forever” not only had a sure bet with Angela Bassett being nominated, the first “Black Panther” actually won in this category four years ago. Both “Elvis” and “The Woman King” were going to score nods for their leading actors but also featured the kind of large casts and true ensemble work that positioned the casts as real contenders. Ultimately, there was too much of a good thing when it came to choices in the category.

SNUB: “House of the Dragon”

A day after HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” won the Golden Globe award for best TV drama, it was mostly passed on in the SAG nominations roster — with the exception of a nod for stunt ensemble in a TV series. Although “Game of Thrones” never won the SAG for TV drama ensemble, it was a seven-time nominee in that category. And “Thrones” dominated the TV stunt ensemble field back in the day, winning from 2012-2020. (Of course, the only acting prize “Thrones” received was one for Peter Dinklage in 2020.)

SNUB: “Yellowstone

Last year, Paramount Network was celebrating the first-ever drama ensemble nomination for “Yellowstone” at the SAG Awards, heralding it as, finally, the arrival of that series in the awards space. After years of ratings prowess, it finally had been embraced by the folks in Hollywood as well. The show continues to gain both in buzz and ratings — it aired the most-watched entertainment series episodes on linear TV in 2022, and on Tuesday night won its first major award, for Kevin Costner at the Globes. But somehow, the “Yellowstone” ensemble didn’t pull off a repeat nomination in the TV drama field at the SAG Awards this year.

SNUB: Dominic West and Imelda Staunton (“The Crown”)

The last time “The Crown” was eligible for a SAG Award in 2021, it cleaned up in the nominations: Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) were all nominated, while Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher) and the ensemble both won. Previously, Claire Foy won twice (in 2017 and 2018) for playing a young version of the Queen, while Colman had been nominated twice for her portrayal. But the streak stops here, as Imelda Staunton didn’t receive a nomination for playing the older Queen Elizabeth. Also failing to secure a nomination was Dominic West for his version of Prince Charles. (The ensemble, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, were still nominated.)

SNUB: Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”)

We’re a broken record here. Rhea Seehorn deserves all the awards attention for playing Kim Wexler on “Better Call Saul,” and this was SAG’s last chance at honoring her (just as the Emmys finally did last year). Luckily, she is a part of the ensemble that was nominated in TV drama, but nonetheless, the SAG Awards missed a final opportunity to recognize Seehorn’s portrayal.

SNUB: Tyler James Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”)

It’s hard to get too worked up over an “Abbott Elementary” snub, given that the show is still well-represented in this year’s nominations. But nonetheless, Tyler James Williams is just coming off a Golden Globes win on Tuesday night, while Sheryl Lee Ralph earned a well-deserved Emmy in September, so failing to include them in the nomination mix still feels like a snub at SAG.

SNUB: Sebastian Stan and Lily James (“Pam and Tommy”)

It looks like the “Pam and Tommy” fairytale stops here. The show, which premiered a year ago on Hulu, has been an awards nomination darling, receiving multiple Golden Globes, Critics Choice and Primetime Emmy nominations — including performance nods at all three awards shows for stars Sebastian Stan (as Tommy Lee) and Lily James (who transformed into Pamela Anderson). But the SAG Awards voters have clearly moved on.

SURPRISE: Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”

Making the Seehorn snub all the more puzzling is the fact that SAG Awards voters had never nominated anyone from “Better Call Saul” besides star Bob Odenkirk in the individual actor categories — until this year, the swan song season of the show. Banks has been nominated five times at the Emmys for playing Mike Ehrmantraut (once for “Breaking Bad,” four for “Saul”), but this is his first individual nod at the SAG Awards.

SURPRISE: Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”

There was surprising depth to the character of NoHo Hank in this season of “Barry,” and the SAG nomination committee noticed it. Carrigan has been nominated twice at the Emmys for playing the “Barry” character, but in the supporting actor category. There are no supporting categories at the SAG Awards, which makes it all the more impressive for actors normally in those slots to graduate to the outstanding performance by a male actor or a female actor fields — just as Carrigan and Banks did this year. Carrigan managed to make the cut, even as co-stars like the beloved Henry Winkler didn’t. (He’ll be up against “Barry” star Bill Hader.)

SURPRISE: Steve Carell, “The Patient”

FX’s “The Patient” didn’t make a ton of noise when it came out, although it earned high marks for its storytelling and performances from the likes of Steve Carell — and clearly SAG noticed. The awards are clearly a fan of Carell, having previously nominated him for “The Morning Show” in 2020, “Battle of the Sexes” in 2018, “Foxcatcher” in 2015 and for “The Office” six times between 2007 and 2012.

SURPRISE: Sam Elliott, “1883”

While mothership “Yellowstone” was blanked by the SAG Awards nominations, its prequel series did eke out a nod: Sam Elliott, for outstanding performance by a male actor in a TV movie or limited series. This reps the first major acting nomination for “1883,” which received three nods in craft categories at the Primetime Emmys. And it’s only the second SAG nod for Elliott, who was previously nominated for “A Star Is Born” in 2019.