The SAG nominations have taken on a more populist cast (i.e., less sophisticated picks, an element of dumbshit-ism) since the SAG-AFTRA merger of 2012. How else to explain The Girl on The Train‘s Emily Blunt being nominated for Best Actress while 20th Century Women‘s Annette Bening and Elle‘s Isabelle Huppert were blown off?

I don’t agree with Sasha Stone‘s suspicion that La La Land‘s failure to snag an ensemble nom means something as Damien Chazelle‘s film is a total two-hander, and I fully expect La La‘s Emma Stone to win the SAG award for Best Actress. Nonetheless, three Stone observations (posted this morning) are worth pondering:

(1) “Perception is still everything. Unfortunately, La La Land missing in ensemble, for whatever reason, is not a good thing. It just isn’t. Can it overcome? Well, sure. Movies have in the past. But that is a big, big, big, big stat. Which would mean, to my thinking, Best Picture is down to Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Fences.” Repeating: I don’t agree about any notions about La La Land being on the ropes, but Sasha may be right about perception being more important than the reality. At the very least last weekend’s Natalie Portman BFCA Best Actress win + this morning’s SAG noms suggest that the Emma Stone campaign has some work to do.

(2) “We really didn’t see the full impact of [the SAG-AFTRA merger] until last year when the SAG noms were wildly off the charts compared to what we were thinking and seeing in the race. Remember, only two of their 2015 choices for ensemble went on to be nominated for Best Picture last year. Two of their Best Actress choices did not go on to get Oscar nominations and one in their Best Actor category missed.

(3) “The nominating committee is a random sampling of SAG-AFTRA’s 150,000 membership. They are selected totally at random and with a membership about which it is virtually impossible to do two things: (1) judge them on the basis of their pre-merged history with AFTRA, or (2) judge them by their history at all because they are different people, randomly selected each year, as opposed to other groups that have roughly the same individuals choosing the nominees year after year.

“But really, the SAG_AFTRA [merger] is what’s really changing up the game, as we saw last year. For the record, the R in AFTRA stands for radio. Which means every easy-listening DJ and wacky AM jock across America is a voting member. And they’re all very fine people, no doubt. They’re just not actors.”