Road to the Oscars: SAG Nominations and what they mean for the Oscars | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Road to the Oscars: SAG Nominations and what they mean for the Oscars

Jan 11, 2024 01:21 PM IST

The Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations were announced on Wednesday and here is what they could foretell about the Oscars to come.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards announced their nominations yesterday. The nominations were a mixed bag of the usual suspects with some surprising inclusions and omissions. American Fiction came out swinging, while Leo and the trio of foreign-language films all went home empty.

Margot Robbie in an as Barbie, which scored most Film nominations alongside Oppenheimer at the SAG awards.
Margot Robbie in an as Barbie, which scored most Film nominations alongside Oppenheimer at the SAG awards.

(Also read: SAG Awards full list of nominations: Barbie and Oppenheimer lead in films, Succession dominates in TV categories)

Barbenheimer continues to dominate

After a rough weekend at the Golden Globes, Barbie bounced back. The plastic doll tied with her summer partner Oppenheimer to lead the tally with four nominations each. The blockbuster duo are showing no signs of slowing their inevitable march to the Oscars. Both movies were also nominated in the Cast in a Motion Picture category, which is the SAG equivalent of a Best Picture. The Cast in a Motion Picture category (also known as the Ensemble award) has traditionally been a bellwether for the Best Picture category at the Oscars. Barbenheimer has fortified their position there, and so has Killers of the Flower Moon, despite the surprising lack of a nomination for star Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Oppenheimer actors Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy attend the 14th Governors Awards in Los Angeles.(REUTERS)
Oppenheimer actors Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy attend the 14th Governors Awards in Los Angeles.(REUTERS)

The real news with yesterday’s nominations is the prominent showing by race satire American Fiction which picked up three nominations - Male Actor in a Leading Role for Jeffrey Wright, Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Sterling K. Brown, and Cast in a Motion Picture - indicating strong support for the movie, and all but guaranteeing multiple nominations at the Oscars. Also surprising was Nyad, which picked up nominations for both Annette Bening in Lead and Jodie Foster in Supporting, keeping those actor’s hopes alive for the Oscars.

Meanwhile, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things did not make the cut for the Ensemble award despite nominations for Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe, and an overall strong cast with Mark Ruffalo (who missed out on a nomination) and Rami Malek. That doesn’t necessarily diminish its chances at a Best Picture nomination, since SAG maxes out at five nominees, while the Academy expanded to 10 nominees around a decade ago.

(Also read: Golden Globe Awards 2024 complete list of winners: Oppenheimer leads with five wins, including Best Picture)

SAG and the Oscars

When it comes to predicting which way the Academy will go with their nominations, it’s important to note that the majority of the Academy’s membership is made up of actors. This means that there is a huge overlap with the SAG membership. So it’s not just the awards for the specific craft, in this case acting, but even the Best Picture award that can be swayed by the actors’ block. For example, last year SAG perfectly matched the Oscars on all four acting awards and its Ensemble winner won Best Picture as well.

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in May December.
Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in May December.

Another notable miss was Todd Haynes’ May December which could conceivably have received up to four nominations including Ensemble, but did not find a mention in any category. Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore were both considered locks in their respective categories, while everyone was expecting recognition in the supporting race for Charles Melton who turned in a quietly powerful performance. This could be the death knell for a movie like these, which is strongly predicated on performances.

Foreign-language movies went home empty-handed

Also absent were foreign-language movies like Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest, both of which were fielding German actor Sandra Hüller in Lead and Supporting respectively. It’s not the end of the road for her dual chances, given that SAG tends to be predominantly Hollywood focused, but it’s going to be an uphill climb. The same is true for Greta Lee’s amazing turn in Past Lives. This should also have been a chance for the Spanish-language Society of the Snow to make a dent, capitalizing on the steam it has been gaining in the last couple of weeks.

On the other hand, Penelope Cruz finally got some love in the supporting category for her fiery turn in Ferrari. The movie received lukewarm reviews, but garnered near universal praise for Cruz’s performance which is more internalized than her usual roles. She’s well loved by the Academy and this should help her gain a foothold in a category that’s already stacked with Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) who already won at the Globes, and Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer) who was the favourite going in.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards will stream live on Netflix on February 25, 2024 at 06:30 AM IST.

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