The SAG Nominations Kick Off The Awards Season!

By December 9, 2015

Though a few film critic associations have released their lists for the best movies and performances of 2015, the real race to The Oscars began this morning with the release of the nominees for the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Award (or SAG) Awards.

The SAG Awards have a pretty good track record of predicting the eventual Oscar winners (last year they went five for for five: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), and Birdman for Best Ensemble, SAG’s equivalent to Best Picture), so studios, journalists, critics, and movie fans alike will be dissecting this years list in the days to come.

Actors Anna Faris and Anthony Mackie announced those in contention for categories in both film and television.

In film, the nominees are:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Helen Mirren, “Woman in Gold”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Sarah Silverman, “I Smile Back”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Michael Shannon, “99 Homes”
Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams “Spotlight”
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
“Beasts of No Nation”
“The Big Short”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Well, some of that shook out the way industry experts predicted, with heavy hitters like Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and Michael Fassbender going at it for outstanding performance by a lead male actor (while Edie Redmayne hopes for a chance at a back-to-back victory), while a number of young talents garnered nods in both female categories.

Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara are nominated for The Danish Girl and Carol, respectively, though the decision to consider their performances as supporting has been a source of controversy this awards season (so much so that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has placed them in the lead category for The Golden Globes) and many predict that the outstanding female in a leading role category will come down to a fight between Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn and Brie Larson for Room.The outstanding supporting male performance is, perhaps, the most wide open category with past nominee (and winner) Christian Bale taking on a number of newbies, including nine year old Jacob Tremblay for Room.

It wouldn’t be awards season without a surprise or two; however, and the omission of Matt Damon for The Martian, Jennifer Lawrence for Joy, Jane Fonda for Youth, and anyone from The Hateful Eight, particularly stand out. The biggest surprise; however, may be the lack of a nomination for Sylvester Stallone for Creed, who is widely considered to be a sentimental favorite.

Others who were left out, but are still considered to be in The Oscar mix, are, Kristen Stewart for The Clouds of Sils Maria, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight, Tom Hardy for The Revenant, and Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years.

As far as unexpected nominations, a few slipped through, including Sarah Silverman’s dramatic turn in I Smile Back and Helen Mirren’s double nominations for Woman in Gold and Trumbo.

Nominees for outstanding performances in television were also announced:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series:
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Caul Saul”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series:
Clare Danes, “Homeland”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”
Julianne Margulis, “The Good Wife”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“Mad Men”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series:
Ty Burell, “Modern Family”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Jeffrey Tambour, “Transparent”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Ellie Kemper, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Kaye and Peele”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Ben Kingsley, “Tut”
Ray Liotta, “Texas Rising”
Bill Murray, “A Very Murray Christmas”
Mark Rylalnce, “Wolf Hall”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco”
Queen Latifah, “Bessie”
Christina Ricci, “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles”
Susan Sarandon, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”
Kristen Wiig,”The Spoiler Before Dying”

Though many fans and critics considered its most recent season to be somewhat controversial, the Game of Thrones juggernaut continues to charge full steam ahead and is the frontrunner for outstanding dramatic ensemble. It’s most likely competition comes in the form of Mad Men’s final season, but one can never count out Downton Abbey (which won the ensemble for Best Drama last year).

On the comedy side, many of the usual suspects have returned, but with a couple of interesting twists. The outstanding ensemble nod for Kay and Peele is a surprise, as is Ellie Kemper’s nomination for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (especially considering she wasn’t nominated for an Emmy this year while a number of her co-stars were). The sentimental favorite for outstanding female performance in a comedy is most likely Amy Poehler, though, for her last turn as Leslie Knope in the final season of Parks and Recreation.

As always, the omissions shine almost as brightly as the nominees, and the most glaring in the television categories seem to be Taraj P. Henson for Empire, Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men and Better Call Saul in the dramatic ensemble category.

Finally, the Screen Actors Guild also includes categories for Best Stunt Ensembles. Those nominees are:

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:
“Furious 7”
“Jurassic World”
“Mad Max Fury Road”
“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series:
“The Blacklist ”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland ”
“Marvel’s Daredevil”
“The Walking Dead”

It’s a fun category that honors some stunning work by stunt men and women (I can’t see how Mad Max and Daredevil don’t win, though…)

The SAG Awards will take place on January 30, 2016 and be simulcast by TBS and TNT.

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Rachel Cushing
Rachel is a television editor by day and either a Jedi knight, vampire slayer, or elvish warrior by night. In between she makes time for movies, movies, and more movies (plus a few books, television shows, and then…more movies). When she’s supposed to be sleeping, she writes about movies as well, both here on and on her own blog. Tweet her @RachelJCushing