Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nominees for 15th SAG Awards

Here are the nominees for the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, with scores and comments:

BUT to get it out of the way: I DON'T like the nominations all that much.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Score: 4/5. Left out Pitt for DiCaprio. After getting two nominations two years ago, DiCaprio is shut out for what many critics have been calling a career-best performance. I'm thinking he fell slightly short of votes. Hopefully, he'll still get the Oscar nod. Though I expected it, the Eastwood snub is pretty big.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Score: 3/5. I quite foolishly removed Jolie and Leo from my list, but it was also hard to imagine the actors not voting for Hawkins and Scott Thomas. The lack of nods for these two is seriously telling and could be really hurtful, particularly for Scott Thomas, who apparently is not as much of an "actor's actor" as many (including myself) have thought. The Blanchett snub also stings, given how well her film performed in other categories.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)

Score: 4/5. The voters are so in love with Slumdog Millionaire that they voted in Patel and ignored Shannon's much heralded (though brief) performance. Huge boost for the young British actor coming into the homestretch.

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Score: 3/5. Another film that they love: Doubt. Adams, written off by many because of Davis's scene-stealing supporting performance, gets a big boost. So does Henson, SAG's most nominated actor of the year (this one, an ensemble nod for the film, and one for TV's "Boston Legal"). Most glaring omissions: the girls of Rachel Getting Married (no love for DeWitt for even Winger!).

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

Score: 2/5. Got only Doubt and Milk right. Has there been any other year where this slate has looked so much like a typical Oscar Best Picture predictor instead of what it should be, i.e., something that rewards a great ensemble cast? Is Slumdog's really that much better than The Dark Knight's or Rachel Getting Married. The lack of nods for the latter and for its two supporting players may mean the end for its campaign for the Oscar Best Pic nom. Dark Knight's is lessened to some extent. As to how much, it's not exactly easy to tell. It may still rally, especially with its re-release next month. Benjamin Button, the film that many have labeled as not much of an actor's film, gets a nod here and two for its actors. We may very well be looking here at the eventual Oscar Best Pic list, with the likely exception of Doubt.

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