Thursday, December 20, 2007

Screen Actor's Guild Fallout


Oscar ballots are mailed out next week, making the SAGs not only the last major precussor of the year, but also the last chance at influencing the Academy into voting for a particular actor or actress. This year's SAGs raised more questions than it answered though. What it has done however, is filter out some weak links and solified some major contenders. Individual category breakdowns follow:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
GEORGE CLOONEY / Michael Clayton - "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Daniel Plainview - "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage)
RYAN GOSLING / Lars Lindstrom - "Lars And The Real Girl" (Sidney Kimmel Entertainment)
EMILE HIRSCH / Christopher McCandless- "Into The Wild" (Paramount Vantage)
VIGGO MORTENSEN / Nikolai - "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)


This was at once the most suprising yet most satisfying group of nominees this morning. Two grossly overlooked performances were included here, those being Ryan Gosling and Viggo Mortensen, while Johnny Depp and James McAvoy were snubbed (as were their respective films). In my opinion, as good as McAvoy is in Atonement, he isn't award worthy, but Depp - the supposed "competetion" to Daniel Day Lewis - is a baffling omission. Perhaps these gimmicky performances have become old hat to other actors, or perhaps this is just par for the course for Depp (probably both actually). Emile Hirsch meanwhile, who has been dangling in limbo, got the well deserved push he needed here to grab his first Oscar nod. But it's gonna take a something extraordinary to knock Daniel Day Lewis out of the frontrunner seat at this point.


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Queen Elizabeth I - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal Pictures)
JULIE CHRISTIE / Fiona - "Away From Her" (Lionsgate)
MARION COTILLARD / Edith Piaf - "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse)
ANGELINA JOLIE / Mariane Pearl - "A Mighty Heart" (Paramount Vantage)
ELLEN PAGE / Juno MacGuff - "Juno" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)


If isn't wasn't already obvious, fellow actors love Cate Blanchett, singling out her work in the both the overwrought Elizabeth: The Golden Age and her great supporting turn as Dylan in I'm Not There. Christie, Cotillard and Page were undeniable here - all are in for Oscar nods. Jolie gets good exposure as well, getting in over the much beloved Amy Adams, who's film (Enchanted), I'm afraid, will be looked at as too "light" to get in with Oscar. And as sad as it makes me, Laura Linney looks like she is all but out of the race, having recieved no (yes, not one!) precurssor award or nod from any critics group or voting body for her fantastic performance in The Savages.


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
CASEY AFFLECK / Robert Ford - "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JAVIER BARDEM / Anton Chigurh - "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
HAL HOLBROOK / Ron Franz - "Into The Wild" (Paramount Vantage)
TOMMY LEE JONES / Ed Tom Bell - "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
TOM WILKINSON / Arthur Edens - "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)


Only one suprise here: Tommy Lee Jones recieving a surprise nod over Phil Hoffman's turn in Charlie Wilson's War. This just solidifies the love for No Country at this point. If Jones gets an Oscar nod, you can all but cancel the ceremony and give No Country the Oscar.


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Jude - "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
RUBY DEE / Mama Lucas - "American Gangster" (Universal Pictures)
CATHERINE KEENER / Jan Burres - "Into The Wild" (Paramount Vantage)
AMY RYAN / Helene McCready - "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax Films)
TILDA SWINTON / Karen Crowder - "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)


As expected, this category is all over the place. Blanchett, Ryan and Swinton are all in, while the remaining two slots keep getting foggier, especially with these mentions for Catherine Keener and Ruby Dee. The love Keener has within the acting community is nearly unmatched - she is nominated for seemngly everything at this point. I didn't get the love for her work in Being John Malkcovich or Capote either, but she snuck in for both those fims, so who knows? Ruby Dee on the other hand, who was in fact the best thing about American Gangster, will have a tougher go of it though. I'm still holding out hope for a Marissa Tomei nomination.


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

3:10 TO YUMA (Lionsgate)
CHRISTIAN BALE / Dan Evans
RUSSELL CROWE / Ben Wade
PETER FONDA / Byron McElroy
GRETCHEN MOL / Alice Evans
DALLAS ROBERTS / Grayson Butterfield
VINESSA SHAW / Emmy Roberts
BEN FOSTER / Charlie Prince
ALAN TUDYK / Doc Potter
LOGAN LERMAN / Will Evans

AMERICAN GANGSTER (Universal Pictures)
ARMAND ASSANTE / Dominic Cattano
JOSH BROLIN / Detective Trupo
RUSSELL CROWE / Richie Roberts
RUBY DEE / Mama Lucas
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR / Huey Lucas
IDRIS ELBA / Tango
CUBA GOODING, JR. / Nicky Barnes
CARLA GUGINO / Laurie Roberts
JOHN HAWKES / Freddie Spearman
TED LEVINE / Lou Toback
JOE MORTON / Charlie Williams
LYMARI NADAL / Eva
JOHN ORTIZ / Javier J. Rivera
RZA / Moses Jones
YUL VAZQUEZ / Alfonse Abruzzo
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Frank Lucas

HAIRSPRAY (New Line Cinema)
NIKKI BLONSKY / Tracy Turnblad
AMANDA BYNES / Penny Pingleton
PAUL DOOLEY / Mr. Spritzer
ZAC EFRON / Link Larkin
ALLISON JANNEY / Prudy Pingleton
ELIJAH KELLEY / Seaweed
JAMES MARSDEN / Corny Collins
MICHELLE PFEIFFER / Velma Von Tussle
QUEEN LATIFAH / Motormouth Maybelle
BRITTANY SNOW / Amber Von Tussle
JERRY STILLER / Mr. French
JOHN TRAVOLTA / Edna Turnblad
CHRISTOPHER WALKEN / Wilbur Turnblad

INTO THE WILD (Paramount Vantage)
BRIAN DIERKER / Rainey
MARCIA GAY HARDEN / Billie McCandless
EMILE HIRSCH / Chris McCandless
HAL HOLBROOK / Ron Franz
WILLIAM HURT / Walt McCandless
CATHERINE KEENER / Jan Burres
JENA MALONE / Carine McCandless
KRISTEN STEWART / Tracy Tatro
VINCE VAUGHN / Wayne Westerberg

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Miramax Films)
JAVIER BARDEM / Anton Chigurh
JOSH BROLIN / Llewelyn Moss
GARRET DILLAHUNT / Wendell
TESS HARPER / Loretta Bell
WOODY HARRELSON / Carson Wells
TOMMY LEE JONES / Ed Tom Bell
KELLY MACDONALD / Carla Jean Moss


Hopefully this list of nominees will finally put to rest the notion that the Best Ensemble SAG nomination is their version of Best Picture. Hairspray's got no shot with Oscar, and 3:10 to Yuma & American Gangster, while both good movies, are on the outside looking in at this point. The only thing going for American Gangster at this point is it's box office numbers, which outshine all the competition. Meanwhile, No Country and Into the Wild have that widespread support from the actors that can power a film to a Best Pic win - remember, the actors single handedly won Oscars for Gladiator, Chicago and Crash, over the more highly touted likes of Traffic, The Pianist and Brokeback Mountain respectively.

What does this mean for the snubees? Well, Atonement should fare well with the Academy on pedigree alone - it certainly isn't the frontrunner it once was though. Sweeney Todd took the hardest shot today, being competely shut out. I never bought into the idea of it as a major Oscar threat, but now more than ever, things will be an up hill climb. The there is There Will Be Blood, which, while it did get a Best Actor nod, didn't show up anywhere else. It really is a director's film though, as opposed to an actor's film, so I see it making more of an impact with the guilds, particularly the writers and directors. The DGA is in fact the last piece of the Best Picture puzzle. When they announce, things should be all but set in stone.

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