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10 Whispers From Screen Actors Guild / Golden Globes Nominations

A few words around the awards season camp fire as the recent announcements of the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes sent us all into something of a spin. Here are 10 of the things that stood out for me in the last 24 hours. We’ve been begging for an exciting Oscar race like this for years, right?

The Actress Categories Are Riddled With New Generation Talent
We knew this already.It is swaying back and forth, both in the indication of the awards so far and in our own minds, in the Best Actress race between Brie Larson (Room) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) as the two to beat. Nothing is certain though, with the likes of Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), and Emily Blunt (Sicario) still in the conversation, some missed out in the last 2 days. Not to mention some sterling veterans in the shadows. And there is no real whiff of “she is owed” this year. Elsewhere, for the, what shall we call it, category confusion side of things Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl; Ex Machina) are certain nominees, while Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) is not to be ruled out. Neither is Kristen Stewart (Clouds of SIls Maria).
The Martian’s Comedic Awards Season Status
The Martian and Ridley Scott and Matt Damon were everywhere for the weeks leading up to the complete shut-out from the Screen Actors Guild. You could hear the murmurs of disappointment and glasses dropping to the floor with shock. An exceptional ensemble left out of the loop by some very surprising choices (I am not saying Beasts of No Nation, The Big Short, Straight Outta Compton, and Trumbo are unwarranted) choices. The Golden Globes did what many of The Martian followers hoped for, which was to nominate the Picture, the Director, and the Actor. Great news indeed, and just like that The Martian is back in the game. And the Oscar race could really do with a good, credible “comedy” in the fight to the finish line.
Alicia Vikander Is Competing With Herself
Alicia Vikander was a contender for Woman of the Year long before awards season even kicked off. Featuring in movies like Burnt and The Man from U.N.C.L.E for starters, Vikander was excellent in the World War I drama Testament of Youth too early in the year. Her awards talk was always with The Danish Girl, even when the “category fraud” nonsense surfaced, but I am not the only one who prayed her role in Ex Machina (and the actual movie itself) would be memorable enough to make a run for it. Pleasantly so, Vikander has received recent plaudits and awards attention for both roles, so much so the whole cancelling herself out has not really applied – with 3 nominations in total from SAG and HFPA. However, this may mean she now has to compete with herself, with both films seemingly vying for Supporting Actress. Challenge accepted.
Best Song Invites More Diversity Again In Film Choices
I won’t name or shame, or attempt to project some film-snobbery opinions, but the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey and Furious 7 are very rarely going to be mentioned in awards season discussion, let alone be in the running for (major) awards. The Song category is not taken as seriously as many of the other shortlists, but it does boast some alternate titles when it is not all over the animation genre. This is also one of the most refreshing categories regarding its film showing – remember “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp”? However, I have to say I will be making more coffee while Sam Smith whines his way through the spoiled “Writings on the Wall” song (Spectre) when / if he performs it at the Oscars.
Mark Rylance Seems Like The Only Supporting Actor Lock
There’s never much debate that the supporting categories are possibly the most competitive and surprising, year in, year out. This year as the packs are reshuffled with every announcement, the name Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) seems to be the one sitting prettiest – reading and discussing around the various film sites he seems to be the strongest flavor. There is heavy, if inconsistent, competition though with Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), and late-comer Michael Shannon (99 Homes). Add to that alternative recent nominees like Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Christian Bale (The Big Short), and Jacob Tremblay (Room), not to mention Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), this is going to continue to sway with the wind.
Leonardo DiCaprio Is Getting A Standing Ovation
We’ve been talking up Leonardo DiCaprio for months now about his role in The Revenant giving him his first ever Oscar win. It has built up so much that he now appears to be the most overdue actor in Oscar history. He is not not, but film coverage is so loud now it is hard to block that notion out. His nominations with SAG and the Golden Globes are still significant if not so surprising – The Revenant screeners had apparently not arrived through the Guild members’ letterboxes yet. Whatever the state of the race though, there could well be a positive rapture of applause when Julianne Moore (once the most overdue actress in Oscar history?) hands DiCaprio the gold statuette.
Bryan Cranston May Ride The Wave To Oscar Night
So DiCaprio needs some competition right? It is not like Johnny Depp (Black Mass), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), and Matt Damon (The Martian) are far behind (that could well be the Oscar 5). Tides change day-to-day though, and Bryan Cranston’s very recent endorsement (Trumbo) through nominations with both the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press may well give him some momentum. He is liked by audiences of both film and TV, and has been in this game a while. There’s a whiff of Jennifer Aniston (Cake) about this, with a potentially different outcome.
Charlize Theron’s Omission Won’t Hurt Mad Max: Fury Road
Even though the roller-coaster awards success of Mad Max: Fury Road was / is welcomed with open arms, most of us were right behind Charlize Theron for a well-deserved best Actress bid. It looks like it might not happen now (though again, things can change at the drop of a very encouraging hat), but the George Miller train just keeps on trucking with further nods for Picture and Director with the HFPA. One ever-so-slightly worrying thing is that the Guilds weigh heavy on the Oscar nominations, and with no love from the actors there is still that chance Mad Max: Fury Road could run out of steam. A potentially tragic possibility indeed.
The Security Of Spotlight Acting Nods Are All Over The Place
The so-called front-runner, a horse that cannot surely fall no matter the hurdle. I have never been quite so sure with Spotlight’s sure-thing. We’ve have this before with a movie ticking all the right boxes at the right times, and then not prevailing. Not always, but sometimes. The Screen Actors Guild sprung a few surprises, and perhaps the omission of Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo was right up there. Sure, they could have cancelled each other out, but I am not wholly buying that either. Even more mysterious, but no less deserved, was the nomination for Rachel McAdams (the only acting nod in a movie crowded with men). Then the Golden Globes announced their nominations and there was no Spotlight shining on the acting. The acting votes weigh heavy overall with the Academy, but the lack of actual support in those categories does signal a small warning light that ought not to be ignored.
Carol Is The True Dark Horse
On top of my over-stated Cannes prediction that Dheepan would take the Palme d’Or, I also jeopardized my moderate reputation by stating Todd Haynes could be the man to win Best Director with AMPAS. I had not yet seen Carol, I was going with my gut, my longing for Haynes’ so-far invisible Oscar record to be vastly improved, but also the aura the movie has given off since then, and still is today. Carol won’t go away, even with the critics awards success which was more reassuring that surprising, the Cate Blanchett / Rooney Mara love story has only grown in power rather than getting forgotten in the dust. Not many are confidently declaring this as the favorite, but 2 acting nods with SAG (don’t fret about the lack of Ensemble mention) and HFPA, as well as Director and Picture mentions with the latter, do not dare rule out this one triumphing in the end.



  1. thevofl thevofl December 11, 2015

    I think Rylance is more of a lock to be nominated; I'm not so sure about a win.

    This year seems so uneasy in comparison to previous years. The fact that MM:FR is a strong contender despite being a total non-Oscar-y film. (I support the film mind you.) It's strange that at this point in the race as the guilds start to nominate, that no front runner has emerged in any of the acting, directing, or picture categories. Last year, 3 out of the 4 acting categories were pretty much locked up, and the 4th was a two man race. The year before the two actress categories were solid.

    I am kinda loving this uncertainty. It's very refreshing after years where many of the categories were solidly locked and many complained of its predictability.

  2. Tim J. Krieg Tim J. Krieg December 11, 2015

    I agree across the board with your assessment of the race so far. The only thing for certain at this point is that Spotlight is the front-runner by a sizable margin. Everything else is pretty wide open. The Revenant, The Martian, The Big Short, Carol and Mad Max Fury Road seem like the safest bets outside of Spotlight, with about ten others fighting for the remaining slots. I think it is pretty funny that people are so surprised that Trumbo has done so well in the early going. Trumbo is exactly the kind of film the industry goes for with awards. It has a large ensemble of well-liked actors and it is about an important time and figure in film history. Is Trumbo the best film of the year? No. Is it as good as Argo or The Artist? Probably, and that's good enough for Oscar. We'll see.

  3. Asif Khan Asif Khan December 11, 2015

    Agree with these points, very well observed. Supporting Actor category truly is puzzling at this point. Spotlight/Fury Road are pretty much competing for the gold with Carol as the dark horse.

  4. Robin Write Robin Write December 11, 2015

    Yeah I meant Rylance a lock for nomination. I still can't see him winning at the moment. I just don't feel it.

    The uncertainty is great yes. The predictability is often emphasised by everyone constantly updating their predictions, it is refreshing to see even the so-called experts in a muddle.

  5. Robin Write Robin Write December 11, 2015

    Indeed. Well put. I also wonder where this year's mud will be slung.

  6. Steve Schweighofer Steve Schweighofer December 11, 2015

    The “shock and awe” response to some of the awards so far, esp. the SAGs, has been amusing. I agree with you, Robin, that we've been waiting for an awards season that's wide-open with no clear frontrunners in nearly every category, and this year has piqued my interest just as I was ready to pack it in with regards to year end accolades.

    There are basically three reasons why this year seems, on paper, anyway, to be more exciting than any in the past decade:

    1. Todd Haynes appears poised to get the recognition he deserves. There aren't many filmmakers who never disappoint (even Hitch and Kubrick gave us a couple of stinkers), but Haynes is one of them. His artistry and imagination are almost unparalleled by any of his contemporaries, yet he has been shucked aside for some of the best film work of the past 15 years by the Academy. I don't see how they cannot recognize CAROL and still maintain their credibility.

    2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Miller's design, editing style and general motif are almost identical to that of ROAD WARRIOR, which was completely ignored by everybody the year it was released. Not since GLADIATOR has an action film been taken so seriously, and I'm expecting that AMPAS will allow MAD MAX to shatter that glass ceiling which has prevented expertly crafted, big box office set pieces from expanding beyond the technical categories. Miller gave younger directors a master class in how old school, pre-CGI style can knock you out of your seat when done properly. It cannot be ignored.

    3. I cannot remember a year when the acting categories had so many possibilities, with performances from the mainstream competing on a level playing field with turns in “artier” films. At the beginning of the year, did we expect that Rylance and Stallone would be involved in a horserace against each other? Or that Rylance would be the one in the mainstream and Stallone coming from the opposite end? I still have confidence that K Stewart will make the cut for the glorious CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. Alicia Vikander is the discovery of the year, no question, but look at Oscar Isaac's smooth as silk performance at her side in EX MACHINA. Fassbender, Redmayne, and Blanchett continue to add to their already formidable resumes and Rooney Mara proves that TGWTDT was no fluke. While its unlikely that AMPAS is ready for him, Tom Hardy continues to prove that he can do anything with ease – just look at the range in MAX MAX, LEGEND plus THE REVENANT (where does he find the time or the talent?)

    So, yeah – I'm surprised that I'm excited this year. Who knows what the results will be?

  7. Robin Write Robin Write December 11, 2015

    Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in!

    Yeah for me personally too there is a lot of support for Todd Haynes (and Carol), Mad Max: Fury Road, and Ex Machina (Oscar Isaac is a great shout) – to name just three. I have a few other movies I really liked that I know will be nowhere near the Oscar race. But alas. At the end of the day I don't get too emotionally scarred if the films I like win the Oscars, but it is really great to see the variation in nominees and winners so far. As for Tom Hardy, he has done enough stellar work in the last few years to not go unnoticed, but I guess it does not always work that way. Which is a shame.

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