With almost a month to go before the 2021 SAG Awards, Variety Film Awards Editors Jenelle Riley and Clayton Davis break down the nominees for best lead and supporting male actor categories.
Riz Ahmed has been nominated for his portrayal of Ruben Stone in “Sound of Metal,” a heavy metal drummer who starts to lose his hearing and has to adjust to a new life on a deaf commune. Riley said Ahmed gave a fantastic performance and is glad the actor is getting recognized this awards season.
“Early on I was a little worried that maybe people wouldn’t seek out this performance and enjoy it as much as I did, but I have to say, I have been proven wrong and I’m thrilled,” Riley said. “I think he’s really coming through in terms of critics awards and people are really loving the movie.”
Davis said nominee Chadwick Boseman knocked it out of the park when it came to his final performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which is a testament to what he was going to do as an actor. Additionally, Riley said best male actor nominee Anthony Hopkins gives the best performance of his career in “The Father,” which she describes as heartbreaking and fierce.
“I know we don’t like to talk about locks, but for a year now, people have been like, ‘Anthony Hopkins is a lock,”‘ Riley said.
Gary Oldman, who played “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s “Mank,” is another veteran actor nominated in this category. On the other hand, Steven Yeun has been nominated for his leading performance in “Minari,” which Riley described as a beautiful and stunning film. Davis pointed out that Yeun is the second person of Asian descent and the first Asian American to be nominated for male actor in a leading role at the SAG Awards.
“It’s great history, it’s well deserved and hopefully this isn’t his last nomination,” Davis said.
Moving on to the best male supporting actor category, Sacha Baron Cohen has been nominated for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” who Davis said stood out in a film with a stacked ensemble cast. Additionally, Boseman was nominated again for his role in “Da 5 Bloods,” making him the first posthumous double nominee ever at the SAG Awards. Riley said she is certain the late actor would have been nominated for both of these categories if he were still alive as well, as they are both fantastic performances.
Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for his portrayal of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which Davis said is his favorite performance of the year due to the visceral energy and humanity the actor brought to the film. Also, Jared Leto was nominated for his performance in “The Little Things,” which Riley described as creepy but fun.
“He has this cat-and-mouse thing with Denzel Washington, which is really, really fascinating to watch,” Riley said.
Rounding out this category, Leslie Odom, Jr. was nominated for his portrayal of singer-songwriter Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami.”
“He is incredibly aware of how his mannerisms are, the way he delivers the lines, the way he interacts with his co-stars, which is a great cast,” Davis said.
The SAG Awards are scheduled to take place on April 4.