‘Birdman’ & HBO Lead Nominations for 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards

By December 10, 2014
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It’s awards season! The Golden Globe nominations will be revealed tomorrow morning, and that will begin even more speculation about who will get nominated for Academy Awards next year. But in the meantime, some of the other key awards ceremonies are also revealing their nominations, and today it’s the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards announcing their list of nominees in film and television. As always, there are surprises and snubs, but first, here’s the nominees:

MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler (Open Road)
Michael Keaton – Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Jennifer Aniston – Cake (Cinelou Releasing)
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
Julianne Moore – Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics)
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
Reese Witherspoon – Wild (Fox Searchlight)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall – The Judge (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood (IFC Films)
Edward Norton – Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash (Sony Picture Classics)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood (IFC Films)
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Emma Stone – Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods (Walt Disney Pictures)
Naomi Watts – St. Vincent (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by the Cast in a Motion Picture

Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Boyhood (IFC Films)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight)
The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)

TELEVISION PROGRAMS

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

Adrien Brody – “Houdini” (History Channel)
Benedict Cumberbatch – “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Richard Jenkins – “Olive Kitteridge” (HBO)
Mark Ruffallo – “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Billy Bob Thornton – “Fargo” (FX)

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

Ellen Burtsyn – “Flowers in the Attic” (Lifetime)
Maggie Gyllenhaal – “The Honorable Woman” (Sundance TV)
Frances McDormand – “Olive Kitteridge” (HBO)
Julia Roberts – “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Cicely Tyson – “The Trip to Bountiful” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi – “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Peter Dinklage – “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Woody Harrelson – “True Detective” (HBO)
Matthew McConaughey – “True Detective” (HBO)
Kevin Spacey – “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Claire Danes – “Homeland” (Showtime)
Viola Davis – “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)
Julianna Margulies – “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Tatiana Maslany – “Orphan Black” (BBC America)
Maggie Smith – “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Robin Wright – “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Ty Burrell – “Modern Family” (ABC)
Louis C.K. – “Louis” (FX)
William H. Macy – “Shameless” (Showtime)
Jim Parsons – “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Eric Stonestreet – “Modern Family” (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba – “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Julie Bowen – “Modern Family” (ABC)
Edie Falco – “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep” (HBO)
Amy Poehler – “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
“Veep” (HBO)

SAG AWARDS HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Fury (Columbia Pictures)
Get On Up (Universal Pictures)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Unbroken (Universal Pictures)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

“24: Live Another Day” (Fox)
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“Sons of Anarchy” (FX)
“The Walking Dead” (AMC)

The Good

Nightcrawler - Jake Gyllenhaal

First of all, it’s nice to see singular actors regarded for their performances on the big screen, even if the ensemble didn’t also get a nomination. Jake Gyllenhaal’s inclusion for his turn in Nightcrawler gives hope that he could get an Oscar nod, and the lead actress race is full of fine performances in that same regard with Reese Witherspoon in Wild, Jennifer Aniston in Cake and Julianne Moore in Still Alice. But my favorite nomination is that of J.K. Simmons for his role in Whiplash. That’s an Academy Award worthy performance and a half.

On the TV side of things, cable is king, which is perfectly fine as a lot of network TV struggles right now. HBO is always pulling down huge accolades, and it’s no different this year with two nods for the ensemble drama series casts of “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” along with their ensemble comedy cast “Veep” as well, plus well-deserved lead actor nominations for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective.” Showtime got some love to for “Nurse Jackie” star Edie Falco and “Homeland” star Claire Danes and the ensemble.

Streaming also came in strong, at least from Netflix, with “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” pulling down some solid nominations. Though their shorter comedy series haven’t penetrated the awards race just yet, that should come with time.

The Bad

St. Vincent - Naomi Watts

What the hell is Naomi Watts doing getting a nomination for her caricature Russian prostitute performance in St. Vincent? That spot should have gone to Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year or Carrie Coon in Gone Girl. Watts is a talented actress, but this is not a performance that is worth a SAG nomination at all. Also, Robert Duvall for The Judge seems like wild turn out of left field. Could his legacy and age be an influence?

On the television side of things, my biggest beef is with the continued presence of love for “The Big Bang Theory.” I just don’t get it. The writing is bad, the performances are weak, and the show feels archaic, broad and flat. I don’t have a vendetta against this show, but I just don’t like seeing mediocrity awarded over and over again., especially when “Parks & Recreation” and “The Goldbergs” are far more deserving as far as ensemble casts go.

Also, despite the fact that Netflix pulled out some big nominations, it’s a bit disheartening to see that Amazon’s acclaimed series “Transparent” starring Jeffrey Tambor was shut out completely. A nomination for Tambor by himself would have been great, but there’s no praise here whatsoever. Maybe Amazon needs to step up their game to deliver more consistent quality programming to get attention, or maybe they just didn’t push it hard enough to the guild.

The Ugly

Selma

How is it possible that there aren’t any nominations for Selma at all? The film has been buzzed about ever since it started screening at AFI Fest and various critics circles, from performances to the film as a whole, but there’s not a single nomination here at all. Some say that voters saw the film to late and it wasn’t easy to consider with the rest of the pack, but that sounds like a lame excuse to me. Maybe Selma will have to wait for some Golden Globes and Oscar love instead.

That’s all from me on the SAG Awards, which will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.

Check back tomorrow for the Golden Globe nominations!

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.