The SAG nominations were handed out minutes ago, and as the first major guild of the season, they should do their part in bringing the web chatter back down to earth. First, the Dark Knight scored just a single preordained nod, perhaps confirming that most of it's love come Oscar morning could be from the technical branches. Slumdog Millionaire on the other hand proved it's staying power with 2 nominations, one for newcomer Dev Patel and one for Ensemble cast, and this from a film without one name star. Doubt similarly looks as strong as ever, with four nominations for each one of it's participants, although a Best Picture nomination still feels like a long shot to me.
From the individual side of things there was no Sally Hawkins to be found, reiterating my constant reminders that critics don't vote for Oscars. The actors branch instead went for the gut-wrenching turn from Melissa Leo (Frozen River) and the awards-floundering performance of Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. While I'm not by any means counting out Sally Hawkins (she is in a Mike Leigh film after all) this certainly clouds the race even further. And that's not even taking into account the suddenly resurgent Angelina Jolie, who gives her best performance ever in Changeling. One thing is for sure, there will be snubs come nomination morning.
Best Actor went more or less as planned. SAG has never been trigger happy with Clint Eastwood nominations, so his absence her was not surprising. Richard Jenkins on the other hand feels like a perfect SAG nominee - hard working character actor in a breakout role - and with this increased attention, his Oscar hopes have grown significantly. Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) and Brad Pitt are seemingly vying for the final slot in the race, with this round going to Pitt once again. Benjamin Button is the more Oscar palatable of their respective films, and right now I'd say he has pulled ahead in my predictions.
The all important Supporting categories have finally cleared the waters in some respects. I think were getting closer to the Oscar lineup for Supporting Actor right here, with Dev Patel scoring a nod that I have long predicted. Only Michael Shannon poses a threat - and it's a serious threat - probably on the verge of stealing the slot of Robert Downey Jr., who may have a harder time with scoring nod from the stone-faced Academy.
The Supporting Actress race has gone through another reevaluation this morning, as Taraji P. Henson finally scores her first major citation of the year, while Amy Adams joins her other three cast members from Doubt in the nomination circle. Adams have a tougher time avoiding vote splitting with the Academy however, especially with Marissa Tomei (The Wrestler) and the criminally snubbed Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) nipping at her heals. Kate Winslet grabbed her second nomination of the morning, this time for The Reader, and Harvey Weinstein must be breathing a sigh of relief that the voters disregarded the category fraud and voted as the FYC materials prompted.
The two biggest losers of the morning have to be Rachel Getting Married and The Dark Knight. I feel both will ultimately play better with the Academy, although I am admittedly a bit confused by the lack of the love for the actor driven Rachel. The morning's winners include Frost/Nixon, who I wasn't sure would grab a ensemble nod, and of course Benjamin Button and it's three galvanizing nominations. Those two films, along with Milk and Slumdog Millionaire seem like sure bets for Oscar nominations for Best Picture. The PGA and DGA should help determine the fifth slot, and it is there that I fully expect The Dark Knight to solidify it's placement.
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Rev Road
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey , Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Night
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet, The Reader