18 December 2008

SAG Thursday

The SAG Award nominations were announced this morning, and (in what has been up until now such a confusing and mostly unpredictable season) things got just a little bit clearer. There will always be last minute surprises, but the Screen Actors Guild did give us some indication of how things are shaping up.

Best Ensemble
And the nominees are:
Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The omission of Revolutionary Road here and in other categories really makes this a two way race for Best Picture between Slumdog Millionaire and Milk. I think the winner will be determined by how far along the inevitable Slumdog backlash is by the time voting ends. Either way, the fact it was able to get in with a cast whose most famous member was the comic relief on a British teen drama is kind of remarkable, especially since it beat out star heavy ensemble films like Rachel Getting Married and The Reader. Don't expect it to win, though.

Winner?: My pick would be Milk, but I'd say the smart money is on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is full of very industry-popular actors.

Best Actor
And the nominees are:
Richard Jenkins- The Visitor
Brad Pitt- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frank Langella- Frost / Nixon
Sean Penn- Milk
Mickey Rourke- The Wrestler
Probably the biggest blow to Revolutionary Road is Leonardo DiCaprio's failure to get in here. It's not exactly a huge surprise, but the film really needed him to start gaining traction if it hoped to do as well as people thought it would earlier this year. Other than Brad Pitt, who I can't imagine making it to an Oscar nod (thought who knows for sure?), I'd say this is the usual suspects. Very nice to see Richard Jenkins continuing to build momentum for a performance I thought no one would remember but should.

Winner?: Sean Penn still has the momentum, and I don't think it's going to stop with the Screen Actor's Guild. Langella is a looming threat, however.

Best Actress
And the nominees are:
Anne Hathaway- Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie- Changeling
Melissa Leo- Frozen River
Meryl Streep- Doubt
Kate Winslet- Revolutionary Road
It's sad not to see Sally Hawkins or Kristin Scott Thomas here, and it's looking more and more like only one of them is going to make it. My money's on Hawkins whose been winning most of the critics' prizes thus far. This Oscar, though, is Kate Winslet's to lose, almost by default. She's long overdue, and the other contenders don't exactly have a lot of excitement behind them. Bride Wars is opening next month, so Anne Hathaway might want to hold up on writing that speech and just go find a pretty gown. She'll be in the building but probably not called to the stage.

Winner?: This is looking like more and more like Winslet's year to win the Oscar but never underestimate how much other actors love Meryl Streep. But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say if any category at the SAGs surprises, it'll be this one (cross your fingers Leo).

Best Supporting Actor
And the nominees are:
Josh Brolin- Milk
Robert Downey Jr.- Tropic Thunder
Dev Patel- Slumdog Millionaire
Phillip Seymour Hoffman- Doubt
Heath Ledger- The Dark Knight
Well, thank god that inexplicable Tom Cruise express didn't go anywhere after the Golden Globes nod. I'm sad not to see James Franco here, because it's looking less and less likely that he'll get in come Oscar time (even though, frankly, I'd rather see Hirsch nominated from Milk over Franco and Brolin). At this point, all but Patel seem pretty much assured nominations come January, and his chances have been given a large boost recently. If Slumdog Millionaire is as popular come Oscar time as it is now, he could very well find himself among the nominees. Oh, and I guess we're saying goodbye to Michael Shannon this season . . .

Winner?: Do you even need to ask?

Best Supporting Actress
And the nominees are:
Amy Adams- Doubt
Penélope Cruz- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis- Doubt
Taraji P. Henson- The Curious Case of Benjamin Butto
Kate Winslet- The Reader
Despite flying way under the radar this entire season, Amy Adams keeps getting nominations at this late stage in the game. It's hard for me to imagine her getting an Oscar nod, but if Doubt does really well, I suppose she could sneak in with it. Still, I don't see her landing at #1 on people's ballots, especially with a co star overshadowing her. I think both Tomei and DeWitt have a shot at her place. Otherwise, this looks like our line up (although Henson isn't a lock by any means).

Winner?: Cruz has the momentum this year, but Davis' scene stealing turn is the kind of thing they sometimes like to honor in this category (i.e. Ruby Dee last year).

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