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If SAG Voters Could Talk – Film Writers Have an Screen Actors Guild Nominees Rant

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Open your eyes, look up to Miss Blunt and sing,
SAG made a poor choice, there’s no Regina King,
Because its Ethan come, Ethan go, Collette yes, Collette no,
Anyway, awards shows, do not really matter to me, to me…

So that was my answer to Clayton Davis asking Twitter for our Screen Actors Guild nominations, just hours before they were announced. Margot Robbie was always going to challenge as soon as Mary Queen of Scots was actually seen. And with the Best Actress race so crowded, you can understand why Saoirse Ronan would have been an even crazier No Guts, No Glory.

So imagine the headlines in a parallel universe: ‘Hot Favorite Bohemian Rhapsody Completely Shut Out of SAG Nominations’, or ‘Regina King Comes From Nowhere to Stun Screen Actors Guild Awards’. Pretty messed up, right. When the real-life Screen Actors Guild nominees were called out, there was a shudder of turbulence across #FilmTwitter as the surprises were so surprising it actually created some rage.

I let off some steam with fellow perturbed film writers – Matt St.Clair, Doug Jamieson, Jo Geaney, Audrey Fox, Paddy Mulholland, and Matt Neglia – to try and make sense out of what just happened. And as we did, what might this mean for the pending Oscars race, given the close proximity of the voters between to the two parties.

Hereditary

Acting lead critic darlings were notably abscent. “No Toni Collette, no Ethan Hawke, no Regina King,” Matt Neglia of Next Best Picture exclaimed, “But they nominate Bohemian Rhapsody!? Really!?” Rami Malek was always a safe bet, but for the film to tumble into the Cast Ensemble was a real curve ball. We also sadly noted that Mike Myers is included in the Ensemble for Bohemian Rhapsody, essentially making him an SAG Award nominee. No film this awards season has had such a change of fortune.

“Just let this sink in,” I droned, “Bohemian Rhapsody is a better acting ensemble than Widows.” Fucking hell, that was hard to say. Matt St.Clair was not laughing, none of us were to be fair. “I’m literally getting very frustrated with Widows getting the fucking cold shoulder. Very. Fucking. Frustrated.” And Paddy Mulholland piped up, “Such a shame that Widows‘ box office under-performance might have been used as an excuse to overlook it.”

“The Ethan Hawke miss is a bit saddening too.” I was obviously keen to change the subject. “Hawke was always gonna get snubbed by the big groups.” Paddy added, “His best shot at a nomination for a televized award (BFCA aside) was always gonna be Oscar. Fucking capitalism.”

Perhaps the Screen Actors Guild are broken, I suggested. “Was there a screener delay or something with If Beale Street Could Talk, like they claimed with Selma?” I wondered aloud. “It’s very possible.” came the NBP founder’s response. Half-heartedly I might add. Regina King, who has been the most dominant force this awards season, was nowhere to be seen on the Supporting Actress roster.

How about John David Washington making the Lead Actor line-up for BlacKkKlansman? That was a bit of a surprise too. “I don’t get the Washington hype,” Matt Neglia added, “It’s a good breakout role for him, but not one of the year’s best.” Yeah, I think we all feel that.

The Supporting Actor and Lead Actress categories though with SAG may well match what AMPAS delivers next month. “I give up on Viola Davis now. It’s not happening.” Doug Jamieson admitted. Audrey Fox joined us late, “It all just feels so lazy. But don’t ever give up, Davis still has a shot.” Doug also didn’t “want to give up on Toni Collette. I still have hope.” Audrey, meanwhile, was “still mourning my dear, sweet First Man.” With not even Claire Foy in an unpredictable Supporting Actress list, I thought that film must be dead now, in the above the line categories, if the actors don’t love it.

Widows

But the Widows neglect keeps on coming back. “I do care for Widows‘ downfall though,” said Paddy, “I am still shocked how Daniel Kaluuya hasn’t risen above the shut-outs and established himself as a real nomination contender.” I agreed, but thought “Kaluuya was always a long shot though. Viola Davis might get in with AMPAS yet, though. Might.”

And what of double-nominee Emily Blunt? “I wonder if Emily Blunt could win this year.” ponders Matt St.Clair, “If it’s not Glenn Close’s year, maybe Blunt.” It’d be about time I think, but I was still looking at the whole vibe with a glass half-empty outlook: “Emily Blunt might actually still get zero nods at the Oscars – this could be a huge red herring.” Matt argues the case, though: “Well, she’s hit everywhere she needed to.” Paddy also added “Yeah, it happened with Helen Mirren’s double SAG nomination 3 years ago. I feel like Blunt can ride her popularity and her film’s goodwill to an Oscar nomination at last though.”

Jo Geaney, is was self-proclaimed “in complete holiday mode, and so out of the awards season loop.” For the last few days at least. But days a re a long, long time in the Oscars race. Amazingly, we had not mentioned The Favourite yet. “No Ensemble for The Favourite?” an appalled Jo said, “How does that work when they’re all nominated individually?! The Favourite is such an odd miss.” Jo is right, and it is a kind of small blessing that Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone all got in considering how things shaped up elsewhere. I guess we can be happy about that. At least.

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