Talkin’ SAG: And the Winners will be…

It is another year, and another chance for the various guilds to start awarding their own members in lavish ceremonies. While most of these are quite limited, what with their small number of awards, the Screen Actors Guild has the benefits of numerous awards, big names to parade down red carpets, and enough clout when it comes to Oscar predictions to be of importance. Plus, like the Golden Globes, it encapsulates both cinema and television, providing a great deal of variety for viewers. In short, of the various guild presentations, the SAG Awards are the only ones worth televising (8pm EST, TNT).

As a result, let’s take a look at the various nominees on both the Television and Cinema side of things. Also, yes, I just got Photoshop, and find it ever so much fun.

TELEVISION

First things first, let’s get it out of the way. Due to, I guess, wanting to avoid weighing either TV or Cinema over the other, there are no Supporting Categories for the SAG Awards in Television. There is still a binary between comedy and drama, however, which makes for four awards total, but it makes it very hard for actors and actresses in supporting roles. I’m going to skip the TV Movie-Miniseries Awards, only because I find them slightly boring. Oh, also, because how can one go against Helen Mirren grabbing a SAG Award to sit next to her recent Golden Globe win for Elizabeth I? And, I can’t argue against comedy sensation Jeremy Irons for his work in the same film.

Best Actor in a Drama Series

James Gandolfini – THE SOPRANOS
Michael C. Hall – DEXTER
Hugh Laurie – HOUSE
James Spader – BOSTON LEGAL
Kiefer Sutherland – 24

This is a category that is probably the most difficult to predict, mainly because there is a great deal of precedent for each individual. Gandolfini is a perpetual nominee, Laurie just won the Globe, Kiefer just won the Emmy, and despite being snubbed by the Academy in September Spader won the Emmy the previous year. Which, really, just leaves Michael C. Hall without any sort of awards recognition. In fact, for all of his year’s on HBO’s Six Feet Under, he was never once nominated for his work.

Well, Dexter IS Michael C. Hall, perhaps even moreso than Kiefer Sutherland has become synonymous with 24. While Kiefer perhaps had his most hard-working supporting cast to date in Season 5 (Although sadly neither Gregory Itzin or Jean Smart are nominated here), Michael C. Hall has no such foil to work from, and Dexter works entirely because of his fantastically nuanced performance. Dexter is a killer who operates by his own code, independent from that of the world in which he lives. His performance is absolutely stunning, and I believe that he has a great shot at winning this award.

But, can I argue against Kiefer? I’ve got him as my selection to win, but he just own his Emmy, so people might feel he has enough awards. Perhaps, then, it would be time to bestow a SAG award on Mr. Laurie? I’m predicting they’ll stay clear of the good doctor, but you never know.

Myles’ Pick: Kiefer Sutherland (24)

Dark Horse: Michael C. Hall (Dexter)

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Patricia Arquette – MEDIUM
Edie Falco – THE SOPRANOS
Mariska Hargitay – LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT
Kyra Sedgwick – THE CLOSER
Chandra Wilson – GREY’S ANATOMY

Only one supporting actress makes the cut in this case, which is disappointing considering the dearth of such actresses (Technically, past winner Sandra Oh should probably be there before Arquette, but I just find her boring). This being said, Chandra Wilson’s Miranda Bailey is capable of stealing scenes one second, and appearing incredibly vulnerable the next, and is able to be the bitch and the heart of the show all at the same time. For this she deserves her just rewards, and has thus far been denied it.

But yet, I can’t argue against Sedgwick and Hargitay here. Two relatively procedural shows that place their heroines at the center of the action in a way that Wilson never is. This gives the edge to one of these two, and they even each have their Actor’s connection (Hargitay’s father, Sedgwick’s husband Kevin Bacon). However, in this situation, I’m giving it to Hargitay.

Myles’ Pick: Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU)

Dark Horse: Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)

 

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin – 30 ROCK
Steve Carell – THE OFFICE
Jason Lee – MY NAME IS EARL
Jeremy Piven – ENTOURAGE
Tony Shalhoub – MONK

“Hug it out, Bitch” has been uttered by two of these men this past season; its initiator, Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold, as well as Steve Carell’s Michael Scott. And, in the end, I believe that these are the two front runners for this award. Carell and The Office have yet to get any SAG attention, this being their first shot at it as a major success for NBC, and Piven is in exactly the same boat with Entourage. In the end, I’m giving it to Carell; he was robbed of an Emmy, he deserves to start being awarded for his work.

That being said, let’s look to Alec Baldwin in what is really a supporting performance, despite his recent went for Lead Actor at the Golden Globes. I think that this won’t quite be his year, mainly due to the above two individuals having their shows nominated as well, but his performance is the greatest thing about 30 Rock and one of the reasons I lament its current ratings situation.

Myles’ Pick: Steve Carell (The Office)

Dark Horse: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

 

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

America Ferrera – UGLY BETTY
Felicity Huffman – DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE
Megan Mullally – WILL & GRACE
Mary-Louise Parker – WEEDS
Jaime Pressly – MY NAME IS EARL

This is pretty much a sure bet, at this point. America Ferrera’s Golden Globes win was no fluke, ala other Golden Globes winners in the past, but rather an industry wide agreement that her performance is powerful, broadly funny, and honestly moving. Ugly Betty is the kind of show that works entirely because of her ability to pull off physical comedy and emotional attachment, and without her there is NO show. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss has the Emmy connection, maybe, but she’s not the upset candidate here. That goes to Mary-Louise Parker, whose Weeds may not be watched by too many viewers but definitely represents a strong career achievement.

Myles’ Pick: America Ferrerra (Ugly Betty)

Dark Horse: Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)

 

Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Desperate Housewives

Entourage

The Office

Ugly Betty

Weeds

This is a tough, tough race. Housewives has won two of these things in a row, and there is no doubting the power of Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher, neither nominated for individual awards. And, if they could win one for their 2nd season? They could win one for their 3rd, especially for the likely episode submission of “Bang!” which was actually quite fantastic.

However, it’s against four first time nominees. Entourage doesn’t really have a shot here, despite the fact that I think it’s well-acted, and while Weeds has gotten a lot of critical attention I don’t think it has enough of a story to get through. Ugly Betty certainly has a strong cast, but I don’t see the SAG getting behind it to the level of the foreign press. Similarly, I think that The Office gets more love in circles of writers-directors and everything in between, as opposed to actors.

For this reason, I’m going with Housewives, based on precedent alone. Perhaps based on sentiment alone, I’ve got to go with The Office as my Dark Horse.

Myles’ Pick: Desperate Housewives

Dark Horse: The Office

 

Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

24

Boston Legal

Deadwood

Grey’s Anatomy

The Sopranos

Such a fascinating category. 24 won the Emmy, Grey’s won the Golden Globe, and Boston Legal was in the Comedy category last year. While both The Sopranos and Deadwood have critical acclaim, I don’t think they were as culturally relevant as Grey’s and 24, so it’s really a race between these two behemoths. And, in the end, I think that 24 will take home the win for the great ensemble acting done in Season 5. With Itzin and Smart on the list along with Kiefer, I think it should be a sure bet, even against Oh-Wilson on the Grey’s side. Still, don’t count out the staff of Seattle Grace. And, Lost should really at least have a shot of finishing close to the top due to write-in ballots. Stupid people, not nominating Lost, they deserve a good write-in campaign to mess with their heads.

Myles’ Pick: 24

Dark Horse: Grey’s Anatomy

 

CINEMA


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Adriana Barraza – BABEL

Cate Blanchett – NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Abigail Breslin – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Jennifer Hudson – DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi – BABEL

In all likelihood, the Jennifer Hudson steamroller will continue on its path straight to the Oscar. She has too much momentum, too much praise, to just bow out gracefully this late in the game.

That said, this is the one place where an upset is possible. This is the Actor’s guild after all, and they might not quite appreciate an American Idol songstress stepping in on their turf. As a result, they’ve got a Hollywood favourite in Blanchett, but most importantly recent Oscar nominee Breslin, whose Olive is the heart of this year’s most critically accepted feel good film.

Still, it’s Hudson’s to lose…but she should look down to Breslin for her biggest challenge.

Myles’ Pick: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

Dark Horse: Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Leonardo DiCaprio – THE DEPARTED
Jackie Earle Haley – LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou – BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy – DREAMGIRLS

This year’s SAG and Academy Award nominations match up pretty darn closely; in fact, the only difference in the acting categories is that, due to his performance being considered Supporting only at the SAG awards, Leo appears in place of Mark Wahlberg. This adds an interesting dynamic to the situation, that’s for sure.

Actors feeling light-hearted go to Alan Arkin’s cantankerous Grandpa. People who like comeback stories (If he was even in this league to begin with) go with Eddie Murphy. And people who like Leo (He IS nominated twice, after all) go with Leo. I figure it’s anyone’s race, but Murphy has the better story and Breslin has the better shot from Little Miss Sunshine.

Myles’ Pick: Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)

Dark Horse: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed)

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Penelope Cruz – VOLVER
Judi Dench – NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Helen Mirren – THE QUEEN
Meryl Streep – THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Kate Winslet – LITTLE CHILDREN

It’s not even a contest. Seriously, the biggest drama coming out of this category is that Streep won’t be there to smile politely in the audience due to a fundraiser she’s hosting with Al Gore. Dame Helen walks away with another one.

Myles’ Pick: Helen Mirren (The Queen)

Dark Horse: Al Gore

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio – BLOOD DIAMOND
Ryan Gosling – HALF NELSON
Peter O’Toole – VENUS
Will Smith – THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
Forest Whitaker – THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

While it wasn’t looking like it, this ends up being exactly the same as Oscar’s race. If we had seen Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat) in here, things could get interesting. Johnny Depp actually won a SAG Award for Pirates of the Caribbean, so it seemed like the one place he could get some attention. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

As a result, Whitaker is a pretty solid pick. Not incredibly well known, but hard-working, actor who takes on a ruthless dictator? It’s an easy sell. This being said, there’s still O’Toole for the spoiler, and let’s face it: People like Leo. A lot.

Myles’ Pick: Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)

Dark Horse: Peter O’Toole (Venus)

 

Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Babel

Bobby

The Departed

Dreamgirls

Little Miss Sunshine

Now, to explain briefly. Sure, it got a Golden Globes nod, but critical praise of Bobby has been tough to find. Basically, it’s an actor’s film. Emilio Estevez wrote and directed and starred in it, and there is nearly 25 actors nominated for the SAG award compared to an average of about 8 for the other films in the category. Managing to incorporate that many SAG members is apparently more worthy than the recreation of the British Royal Family (The Queen), the missing Best Picture nominee.

However, in the end, I believe that this comes down to a race between Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed. These are two very much ensemble casts, with no standout lead amongst them. In the end, based primarily on what I’ll call the Sideways factor from two years ago, I’m going with Little Miss Sunshine. Not that we can count our Jack, Leo and Co., but I simply think that the SAG Awards want to appreciate happiness just as much as everyone else does. Plus, there’s no tougher ensemble than one that’s rarely separated and has to push a van together.

Myles’ Pick: Little Miss Sunshine

Dark Horse: The Departed

 

Now, what does all this mean for the upcoming Oscars? Well, in most cases, it’s a pretty good precursor. The actors definitely have their preferences, but from an acting perspective things are pretty straightforward this year compared to most. The Ensemble award will be a strong precursor as to what support lies behind a film like The Departed, or Babel. If Little Miss Sunshine takes it, it’s got the push it needs.

As for television, it really just shows us to what degree people are embracing news shows as well as newly successful ones. Plus, another award win for Alec Baldwin might just save 30 Rock, or so I can hope.

2 Comments

Filed under Award Shows, Cinema, Television

2 responses to “Talkin’ SAG: And the Winners will be…

  1. Grace

    My choices, because they are the BEST, are HUGH LAURIE and DEADWOOD.

  2. Mr. Mcnutt, this may have taken you quite a while to write, and what a pleasure it has been to read.

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