‘Tis the Season: “Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations, Part I”

IMG_0387.JPGTis the season to be jolly… fa la la la la…. Blah blah blah… The Christmas season is great and fun, trust me, I have the music going the day after Thanksgiving, plus decorations up! but nothing is quite as exciting as the day film and television award nominations come out! Sure there have been many already, and some wins, which are also just as exciting, but none gets me more pumped up than the major awards! You know which one’s I’m talking about.

So, as this is the first big one, and introduction to this yearly series, how ‘bout I get right down to it! Whatever that’s going to look like. Chances are, I’ll be totally making it up as I go along, and that’s just this year. Next year, I’ll probably do something different.

Also, it’s quite long, so I hope you have time!

As it’s the thing that interests me most this year, potential/now nominees wise, Motion Picture nominees:

While these nominees weren’t announced first, they still came in before 6:10 this morning. I would know, I was awake too as it’s that exciting!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

Steve Carell- “Foxcatcher”
Benedict Cumberbatch- “The Imitation Game”
Jake Gyllenhaal- “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton- “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne- “The Theory of Everything”

None of these choices are really that surprising, even Gyllenhaal’s nomination. Each one has really been heavily favored by critics and fans that have seen the films. My only question is Gyllenhaal, as he seems like the least likely to win, nor have a performance that deserves a nomination. However, mainly as I haven’t seen his film, nor the others for obvious reasons, I can’t say he’s not deserving. He’s good and proven it time and again.

Redmayne is my next sort of surprise. Only because I’ve never been able to fully appreciate the film he’s in. I can’t find a way to like the film all that much, let alone get excited for it. I believe this has to do with the fact that the man he’s portraying worked in science, and science seldom, if ever, interests me. It’s unfortunate.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

Jennifer Aniston- “Cake”
Felicitty Jones- “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore- “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike- “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon- “Wild”

Once again, we find ourselves at an interesting group of people. Also meeting again, are a group of films I’ve not seen, but want to, a bit more now. Moore, Jones, and Witherspoon really aren’t surprising. I’ll admit, Witherspoon could’ve gone either way, and been replaced by another deserving actress, but she’s been talked about a lot. The same goes for Moore and Jones. I only wish I could recall one film I may have accidentally seen of Jones’. It would certainly help me get excited for her inclusion.

Pike, when you think about it, or for some, who have seen “Gone Girl”, understand why she was nominated. I’m not surprised as she had a pretty complex character to play (I read the book), and pretty much everyone loved her.

Aniston, is truly the wild card. I’ve heard of the film mentioned, and praised a bit, but no absolutely nothing about it. I feel, that much like the late and mildly desperate attempt by “Selma”, it just slipped in somehow. Any other female actress could’ve been nominated, but she won over the voters. Now I may just have to watch the trailer, which finally surfaced, and see for myself.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

Robert Duvall- “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke- “Boyhood”
Edward Norton- “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo- “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons- “Whiplash”

I’ve just discovered, in the course of doing this, how tiresome it is to write again and again about not having seen a film. I really need to see more films, or move to a place where I can see the ones only in limited runs.

Hawke and Norton are really the no-brainers of this group of men. Ruffalo, I’m pleased with, as he does better with dramatic roles. But, if I’m recalling what I’ve read about the story and his character, it’s a tough one to play. A very deserving nomination and likely another solid performance.

Duvall, well, yeah, he’s a veteran actor, which is great, but I was kind of surprised. This film debuted awhile ago. Received well, and still haven’t seen, but I just feel surprised. Maybe it’s also because I’ve forgotten what anyone’s said about his performance.

Simmons, I’m just not sure either. He’s been talked about, a lot. It’s probably the only reason I know of the film “Whiplash”. I guess I should’ve watched the trailer when I first heard of it. I find that it definitely makes for an interesting and somewhat fun nomination. This is a man who’s done so much work, but seldom is nominated, unless it’s in an ensemble type category. I’m fine with the success he’s finding in this film and role.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Patricia Arquette- “Boyhood”
Keira Knightley- “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone- “Birdman”
Meryl Streep- “Into the Woods”
Naomi Watts- “St. Vincent”

Even now, I’m getting really excited and having a difficult time keeping up with my thoughts. So much happened!

Arquette, Knightley, and Stone are not surprising. Man I’m tired of just what I’ve heard. That’s what’s so irritating about these awards. Anyway, the clips and trailers I have seen, do present each one as being really strong and interesting. I’m even more excited than before to watch these films. It helps too that I want to watch them. There’s a big difference during awards season.

Streep, while probably great as The Witch, I’m sure didn’t deserve this nomination. It could just be me, but I’m kind of sick of seeing her nominated for everything. She cold read the phone book, or a how-to manual, and still end up with a nomination for something. It always reminds me, I dare say, of the storyline involving Maggie Smith’s Violet on “Downton Abbey”, where she always given the award for her prize winning roses. Here, Streep just keeps getting nominated, whether she deserves it or not.

Watts, in this category is the dark horse. I’ve heard generally good things about “St. Vincent”, but it came and went, and nobody really noticed after that. I can’t even remember hearing anything specifically about Watts’ performance, so I’m sure somebody else not nominated, should’ve been.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

The end of the Motion Picture nominations. It’s sad. Fortunately, it’s the shortest and quickest.

If you look at all the above nominees, these nominees don’t come as a surprise. “Birdman”, “Boyhood”, “The Imitation Game”, and “The Theory of Everything”, each have nominations in an Outstanding/Supporting actor type category, be it male or female actor. “Boyhood” has nominations in Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress, which isn’t a bad way to enter the major awards, but is different.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, just simply has a massive cast. Seriously. If I listed them all, I think there’d be about 10 actors listed 17 actors, I checked. Something far bigger than the other films. I didn’t care for it, so I don’t think it’ll fair well. No, not off of that. Just the story itself isn’t as strong as the others. And, just because you have a massive cast doesn’t mean anything, except, well, you have a massive cast.

Television Programs:

I feel that it’s a good time as any, to mention that I probably won’t know what to say about the actors in most of the shows. I do watch a lot, but not as many to know about the quality of the show nor the actors. I think predictability will mostly have a hand in these choices.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:

Adrien Brody- “Houdini”
Benedict Cumberbatch- “Sherlock: His Last Vow”
Richard Jenkins- “Olive Kitteridge”
Mark Ruffalo- “The Normal Heart”
Billy Bob Thornton- “Fargo”

Okay, admittedly, most of these nominees just surprised me. I never put in too much thought as to what could be nominated, let alone deserved to be. These programs stretch back to the early/mid part of the year. Around then. I’m not actually sure what the official qualifying start time is.

Brody isn’t surprising, mainly as he’s starring as Harry Houdini. A biopic, especially a miniseries, usually means automatic nominee. Guess I’ll have to watch it now. It’s been on my DVR for awhile.

Cumberbatch for “Sherlock” I would say is predictable, but as he’s never been nominated for this role, it’s a bit of a surprise. I haven’t watched the third season, which includes this particular episode for which he’s been nominated, but I’m sure it’s great, acting wise. His character’s probably still an unbearable asshole, which is why I hate the show, but he delivers in the performance.

Jenkins and Thornton are sadly in programs I haven’t seen. I forgot all about “Olive Kittredge”, so I must catch up! “Fargo” on the other hand, I just ran out of time. Next thing I know, it’s over. End of season. I’ll wait for Netflix to have it. But, I’m not too surprised by Thornton, as he was talked about a lot and got the Emmy nomination earlier in the year.

Ruffalo, on the other hand, I just didn’t consider. This film debuted on HBO months ago, easy to forget, as there’s so much else in between. The film and his work was phenomenal! If he hadn’t gotten it, I’d be surprised.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:

Ellen Burstyn- “Flowers in the Attic”
Maggie Gyllenhaal- “The Honorable Woman”
Frances McDormand- “Olive Kitteridge”
Julia Roberts- “The Normal Heart”
Cicely Tyson- “Trip to Bountiful”

Let’s see, how many of these films have I seen? Four out of five! Not bad!

I loved Gyllenhaal in “The Honorable Woman”! Everything about her and the show made it all the more engrossing as it went on. Definitely worthy of this, and a win, but also just being watched. Make it a priority!

Burstyn, while playing the villain, was phenomenal. Far better than Louise Fletcher in the original film. I was surprised by the entire film, as it is a Lifetime TV movie after all. Burstyn made it really fun to watch. You hate her character the right amount, but love seeing her being so vicious. If only she could’ve had that same amount of time and material in the sequel film.

Tyson in “Trip to Bountiful”, which is an odd Lifetime film, was just adorable. There’s so many ways to love and sympathize with her. I’m also basing this on the Emmy nomination she received this year. The saddest part is that the film itself is somewhat forgettable, and that’s just based on the story itself. Cute, but not something you’ll be all that moved by and want to share with others. However, she didn’t win, so I’m not expecting that here either.

Roberts, for a small-ish role, packed a punch! She was fierce, compassionate and determined! Everything I felt like when watching this HBO movie. I knew right away that I liked this film and could understand why so many others did. I did differ on some other opinions, but that’s for another time. This is not all that surprising, but well deserved.

McDormand is an actress I’ve liked in the majority of what I’ve seen, which arguably may be low, especially when considering how long she’s been acting. But in those few things, I’ve never felt she was terrible or overdoing things. The perfect amount for each performance to get me into things and like her. I will now need to make time for this miniseries.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series:

Steve Buscemi- “Boardwalk Empire”
Peter Dinklage- “Game of Thrones”
Woody Harrelson- “True Detective”
Matthew McConaughey- “True Detective”
Kevin Spacey- “House of Cards”

So, the duo from “True Detective” rightly so, and obviously, are the only newcomers. I may have been disappointed with the need to drag on for two to four extra episodes, but thoroughly enjoyed both actors on the show. It makes me wonder who will win, or will they both lose?

Buscemi, Dinklage, and Spacey, are back. Dinklage is the only thing I like about the show, so there’s that, but he’s also the only expected actor to be nominated individually, each year. Spacey is in for his second, and it’s very fitting. His character and the show both grew so much, and got so much better! Buscemi, well, I haven’t watched it so I don’t know. Fortunately he got it, as it may be his last.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a drama Series: (6 Nominees; a tie)

Claire Danes- “Homeland”
Viola Davis- “How to Get Away with Murder”
Julianna Margulies- “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany- “Orphan Black”
Maggie Smith- “Downton Abbey”
Robin Wright- “House of Cards”

WOW! Six nominees! A tie. Didn’t know that could happen. Danes, Wright, and Smith (yes, that example from above applies here too), are your usual crop of nominees. I may like these three women and their work, but I’m bored with them. It’s apparently a common theme this year.

Margulies has been nominated before, but last year she was skipped over. So, this is exciting because she’s back! And, fresh off an Emmy win, for an exception previous season of “The Good Wife”, there’s high hopes for her! This season thus far has also been amazing, so there’s that too.

Davis and Maslany! I’m surprised and not. I’m ambivalent on where I stand for Davis. She’s great in just about everything she does, but with this role, it’s a bit different. Sure she’s still great, but at the same time, the performance is a bit off putting. I discovered this as the season was going and am hesitant about watching past this first season.

Maslany. Well, she was an incredibly welcome surprise. I hope she wasn’t the tie, but at the same time, if she was, I’m glad! She’s done amazing work on both seasons of “Orphan Black”! More so on season two, but overall deserving of this nomination. She plays so many characters, and each is incredibly different, it’s unbelievable. I’m in awe of her. I truly believe, oddly enough, she does far more work for her roles, than any of these other women, and that alone makes this nomination, all the more exciting!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series:

Ty Burrell- “Modern Family”
Louis C.K.- Louie”
William H. Macy- “Shameless”
Jim Parsons- “The Big Bang Theory”
Eric Stonestreet- “Modern Family”

Well, this one’s actually easy. If you’re not Macy, you’ve been nominated and/or won before. Macy’s a good actor and if you look at his other nominations for any of his other projects you’ll see that. Or, if you’ve seen his work. So, it’s exciting. Everyone else, as I heard the names, I just rolled my eyes. It’s the usual crop of nominees. Moving on.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:

Uzo Aduba- “Orange is the New Black”
Julie Bowen- “Modern Family”
Edie Falco- “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus- “Veep”
Amy Poehler- “Parks and Recreation”

Per usual, there’s one surprise. A good surprise, from what I hear my roommate tell me! Aduba has been nominated! She’s in good company, but does she stand a chance at winning?

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:

“Boardwalk Empire”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”
“House of Cards”

“Boardwalk Empire”, “Downton Abbey”, “Game of Thrones”, “Homeland” have all been nominated or won in the past, so, once again, no surprises. However, I do believe this is the last time “Boardwalk Empire” should be eligible, as it wrapped it’s run this year, so that’s a good sign. Maybe. “House of Cards”, another show that aired awhile ago, was good. Too bad I can’t recall what happened. On top of individual acting nods, I’m glad this show got ensemble. It’s an impressive group of actors, which only seems to become more and more so, with each new season!

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:

“The Big Bang Theory”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Veep”

So, this category only saw two new additions. I wonder what got left out? I have not seen “Orange is the New Black”, which is more unfortunate. I hear it’s good, and I’m sure I’d like it. What? I’ve pretty much loved Netflix original programming. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, I just refuse to watch. So, enough of that. The others are not surprising. They too are also you’re expected nominees, which is kind of sad, but also says a lot about the quality of the shows as they get older in seasons.

Life Achievement Award:

Debbie Reynolds

Do I really need to talk about this? Good.

The SAG Awards air on Sun. Jan. 25, 2015 in a simulcast on TNT/TBS.

I want it understood now, this piece is just about those that were nominated. I haven’t even begun to think on who or what got snubbed. I may come back with a follow up piece, after reading what professionals think, later on. Stay tuned for that my friends! Or, as is always welcome, comment to your hearts desire! I welcome you to join the conversation.

And I will be back tomorrow with the Golden Globe Awards Nominations!

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