The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations have ignored the two most widely praised, awe-inspiring, levitational performances of 2015 — Charlotte Rampling‘s delicate but depleted wife-of-Tom Courtenay in 45 Years and Paul Dano‘s Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. That pretty much says it all about this organization. They have their odd moments but they’re just not very attuned. They’re basically sheep who live in their little wine-buzz realm and chit-chat with each other at studio-funded parties and respond only to the obvious stuff that doesn’t require a great deal of thought or examination or inwardness. For the most part, I mean.
And so they’ve nominated Black Mass‘s Johnny Depp because he’s loaded and wore a heavily hair-sprayed wig and Alaskan husky contact lenses and acted psychopathically tough, and they’ve nominated Eddie Redmayne because he gave 110% in playing a transgender pioneer, and they’ve nominated Helen Mirren TWICE (once for a lead performance in a film that nobody thought was very good, and for her Hedda Hopper in Trumbo) and ginger-haired Michael Fassbender because he plays a hammerhead genius who constantly goads, berates and barks at colleagues and makes his daughter feel like a conundrum.
I’m sorry but these are not what the Webster’s Dictionary guys had in mind when they defined the term “best.”
SAG Rule #13B: Salute what’s good whenever convenient or when the mood strikes, but mostly champion what you “like” and especially whom you enjoyed talking to at parties. Ignore subtlety, ignore grace, ignore performances that will last through the decades and just nominate the usual political favorites.
At least they’ve shown proper respect for Leonardo DiCaprio‘s suffering survivalist performance in The Revenant, not to mention his 23 years of knockout bravado and numerous Oscar noms. And they’ve nominated the deserving Michael Shannon for his performances in 99 Homes and Freeheld. And they’ve embraced the Beasts of No Nation guys with an ensemble acting nomination and BSA nom for Idris Elba. And they stepped out of the box by nominating Rachel McAdams for her intrepid Spotlight reporter and Sarah Silverman for her addicted-mom performance in I Stand Alone.
On the other hand the SAGsters have ignored the determinations of critics groups and dutifully submitted to the Weinstein Co,. dance card by nominating Carol‘s Rooney Mara for Best Supporting Actress and the always on-target Cate Blanchett for Best Actress — no independent thinkers, they!
And Jennifer Lawrence‘s Joy performance didn’t make the cut, largely, I’m guessing, because too many SAG members were somewhat divided about David O. Russell‘s film. And they waved away Mr. Holmes‘ Ian McKellen and Youth‘s Michael Caine. Caine’s costar Jane Fonda didn’t get the love either. And they blew off Sylvester Stallone‘s Creed performance. Sly to SAG members: What’d I do?
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street) — HE comment: A sincere, perfectly servicable performance of a strongly principled know-it-all in a perfectly decent HBO-level biopic.
JOHNNY DEPP / James “Whitey” Bulger – “BLACK MASS” (Warner Bros. Pictures) — HE comment: Lacquered wig, colored contact lenses, Boston accent…wash, rinse, repeat.
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / Hugh Glass – “THE REVENANT” (20th Century Fox) — HE comment: Throughly deserved, “due” — he suffered for his art.
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Steve Jobs – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures) — HE comment: Really?
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features) — HE comment: Nobody and I mean nobody was raving about this peformance after Danish Girl opened in Toronto, and yet SAG members are on their knees.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
CATE BLANCHETT / Carol Aird – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company) — HE comment: Fine.
BRIE LARSON / Ma – “ROOM” (A24) — HE comment: Locked in, no comment, I get it.
HELEN MIRREN / Maria Altmann – “WOMAN IN GOLD” (The Weinstein Company) — HE comment: No comment.
SAOIRSE RONAN / Eilis – “BROOKLYN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures) — HE comment: Excellent call — should win.
SARAH SILVERMAN / Laney Brooks – “I SMILE BACK” (Broad Green Pictures) — HE comment: Cool.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role :
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry – “THE BIG SHORT” (Paramount Pictures) — HE comment: Because he played a barefoot genius dork? Whatever. Bale was sufficiently eccentric in an original, very sharp, well-delivered film.
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant – “BEASTS OF NO NATION” (Netflix) — — HE comment: Yeah!
MARK RYLANCE / Abel Rudolph – “BRIDGE OF SPIES” (DreamWorks) — — HE comment: Nodding out but fine.
MICHAEL SHANNON / Rick Carver – “99 HOMES” (Broad Green Pictures) — HE comment: Cheers & salutations.
JACOB TREMBLAY / Jack – “ROOM” (A24) — — HE comment: Nominating Tremblay — a sentimental cute kid attaboy gesture — instead of Dano is an affront to the Movie Godz.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
ROONEY MARA / Therese Belivet – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company) — HE comment: Mara should be nominated for Best Actress.
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer – “SPOTLIGHT” (Open Road Films) — HE comment: Welcome surprise!
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street) — HE comment: Boilerplate villainy.
ALICIA VIKANDER / Gerda Wegener – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features) — HE comment: Deserved.
KATE WINSLET / Joanna Hoffman – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures) — HE comment: Not so much.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
BEASTS OF NO NATION (Netflix)
ABRAHAM ATTAH / Agu
KURT EGYIAWAN / 2nd I-C
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant
THE BIG SHORT (Paramount Pictures)
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry
STEVE CARELL / Mark Baum
RYAN GOSLING / Jared Vennett
MELISSA LEO / Georgia Hale
HAMISH LINKLATER / Porter Collins
JOHN MAGARO / Charlie Geller
BRAD PITT / Ben Rickert
RAFE SPALL / Danny Moses
JEREMY STRONG / Vinny Peters
MARISA TOMEI / Cynthia Baum
FINN WITTROCK / Jamie Shipley
SPOTLIGHT (Open Road Films)
BILLY CRUDUP / Eric MacLeish
BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES / Matty Carroll
MICHAEL KEATON / Walter “Robby” Robinson
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer
MARK RUFFALO / Michael Rezendes
LIEV SCHREIBER / Marty Baron
JOHN SLATTERY / Ben Bradlee, Jr.
STANLEY TUCCI / Mitchell Garabedian
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (Universal Pictures)
NEIL BROWN JR. / DJ Yella
PAUL GIAMATTI / Jerry Heller
COREY HAWKINS / Dr. Dre
ALDIS HODGE / MC Ren
O’SHEA JACKSON JR. / Ice Cube
JASON MITCHELL / Eazy-E
TRUMBO (Bleecker Street)
ADEWALE AKINNUOYE-AGBAJE / Virgil Brooks
LOUIS C.K. / Arlen Hird
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo
DAVID JAMES ELLIOTT / John Wayne
ELLE FANNING / Niki Trumbo
JOHN GOODMAN / Frank King
DIANE LANE / Cleo Trumbo
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Edward G. Robinson
ALAN TUDYK / Ian McLellan Hunter