I’m supposed to be feeling excitement or at least a moderate sense of urgency about the Screen Actors Guild nomina- tions, partly (I’m thinking) because they announced them at 6:05 ayem Pacific, which was no skin off my ass sitting here in Brooklyn. The three biggest statistical beneficiaries (because they each got three nominations) are Babel, Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine — make of this what you will. Here’s what I make of it: go, Babel! Yay, Sunshine! And despite divided loyalties, an “attagirl” to Best Supporting Actress nominee Jennifer Hudson.

The Departed getting only an ensemble acting nomination plus a Best Supporting Actor nom for Leonardo DiCaprio means…aahh, probably nothing. (It just would have been cooler if The Departed‘s Mouthy-Boston-Attitude King Mark Wahlberg had snuck in alongside DiCaprio.)
The big news as far as the Best Actress category is concerned is…no big news. Penelope Cruz for Volver, Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal, Helen Mirren for The Queen, Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada and Kate Winslet for Little Children. Right down the middle, totally expected, etc. Likeliest Winner at This Stage: Judi….kidding! Obviously Ms. Mirren.
No surprises in the Best Supporting Actress category either: Adriana Barraza for Babel, Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal, Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine, Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls and Rinko Kikuchi for Babel. Breslin’s inclusion plus Alan Arkin‘s nomination for Best Suppporting Actor plus Little Miss Sunshine‘s acting ensemble nomination obviously means there’s lots of love for the little movie that might. Likeliest Winner at This Stage: Jennifer Hudson, no?

The Best Actor rundown played strictly according to mainstream opinion as reflected by the critics groups and the Oscar blogging community…zip in the way of shockers. Leonardo Dicaprio for Blood Diamond, Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson, Peter O’Toole for Venus, Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. Those critics awards for Gosling and all those Half Nelson FYC ads helped, I’m sure — congrats to ThinkFilm. Likeliest Winner at This Stage: Whitaker, right?
The Best Supporting Actor category is a little weird. Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed. Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children. Djimon Honsou for Blood Diamond. (What? “Son! I want my son!”) and Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls. What could the Murphy nom be about? Because he sings well, drops his pants and then dies? I ‘ve been told all along that the SAG rank-and-file regards Murphy as an asshole. Maybe it’s the old animal-kingdom instinct of showing obeisance before power, because Murphy was King Shit in the ’80s? I know this: Murphy isn’t fit to shine Mark Wahlberg’s shoes. Likeliest Winner at This Stage: DiCaprio.
The Ensemble Acting nominations went to Babel, Bobby (hooray for Harvey), The Departed, Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine. Likeliest Winners at This Stage: either the Babel or the Little Miss Sunshine crew. Am I wrong?
The SAG awards will be handed out on Sunday, 1.28.