December 11, 2013

OSCARLAND: The SAG Nominations

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The Screen Actors Guild Awards are important, because the Actors branch is the largest single constituency of Oscar voters, but they’re also very different from the Oscars.  Their major award isn’t a “Best Picture” prize, per se, but one for Best Cast–this hurts intimate dramas like Gravity and All is Lost, while helping starry ensembles like August: Osage County, The Butler and American Hustle, all of which got major nominations in today’s announcements.  (The complete list of nominees is here.)

Apart from August and The Butler, the biggest winner today was probably Dallas Buyers Club, which has been teetering on the edge of being a likely Best Picture nominee, and which received the fifth Best Cast nomination today, along with individual nominations for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.  12 Years A Slave also did extremely well, taking all the nominations it could have reasonably been expected to take for Cast, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o.  In the Supporting Actor category, Daniel Bruhl of Rush and Barkhad Abdi of Captain Phillips both had their candidacies boosted with nominations.

The shocking omission was Robert Redford for his solo performance in All Is Lost, which had been considered an awards magnet.  It was also a surprise that Saving Mr. Banks didn’t manage a Best Cast nomination to go along with its individual citation to Emma Thompson.  The Wolf of Wall Street and its stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were also snubbed, although in that case the fact that not all members of the SAG nominating committee (2000 randomly chosen SAG members of the 100,000 total) were able to see it may have figured into the result.

Tomorrow brings the Golden Globe nominations, which can usually be counted upon for some wild choices.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."