SAG Award Surprises: What Can We Learn From These Weird Nominations?

By Katey Rich and Sean O'Connell 2012-12-12 08:51:20discussion comments
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This morning the Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees for the best performances of the year, and threw in more than a few surprises. Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy? Javier Bardem for Skyfall? Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Best Ensemble? In the world of people who aim to predict the Academy Awards, these nods raised a lot of questions, and presented a lot of exciting possibilities for what might happen when the Oscar nominations are announced January 11.

To talk over some of those surprises, and figure out any new frontrunners or contenders based on this morning's announcement, Sean and Katey got together to hash it out , as usual, on chat. In the Great Debate below we talk about whether Nicole Kidman deserved that nomination, if Javier Bardem can really make it in for the Oscars, if Lincoln is now the Best Picture frontrunner, and much much more.

SEAN: History suggests that the Oscar race has become a little more clear now that the Broadcast Film Critics and the Screen Actors Guild have revealed their annual nominations for year-end awards. Typically, these groups are good bellwethers for where the Academy could lean, and so I think we can make a few bold assumptions based on what we've heard over the past two days. For example, I'm willing to concede that Anne Hathaway is a lock for a Best Supporting Actress nomination (though I'd still love to see someone beat her in the category) after scoring nods for both SAG and the Critics' Choice. Can we make any other bold predictions? Like, maybe, Javier Bardem being a lock for some Oscar love?

KATEY: I'm fascinated to see Javier Bardem emerge in both of those groups, but there are still a lot of X factors jostling for attention in that category. I think that fifth spot could easily also go to Matthew McConaughey-- who the BFCA also included, because they cheat and include six. But let's talk about the real honest-to-God shocker in a supporting category: Nicole Kidman!!

SEAN: That's not just an eye-roll. It's a flat-out knee slapper of a joke nomination. There's no way to possibly explain that, except to say that the group needed/wanted star power for its TNT/TBS telecast. It's worse than nominating Depp and Jolie for The Tourist at the Globes.

KATEY: Oh come on, Kidman is fantastic in The Paperboy. It's an awful movie, but I think it's pretty remarkable when someone is rewarded for being great despite all the crap around them. And the Supporting Actress category is super weak-- a lot of the BFCA picks, like Judi Dench or Ann Dowd or even Amy Adams, could easily be knocked out. Nicole Kidman might have a real chance now-- and I would LOVE to see it happen, even though I know she'll get steamrolled by Hathaway.

SEAN: Ugh. Hathaway. Stop rubbing it in.

I think at this point, there are a few movies and performances we have to say are out of the race, right? The Master took a serious hit today with the SAGs. So, too, did Django. Are you surprised it didn't get a Cast nomination? Or any nomination, for that matter?

KATEY: Django? A little bit, only because it's got such a HUGE cast and so many good performance. But I think that's more of a factor of time than anything. There are a ton of SAG members and they only started screening Django a week ago-- there's no way everyone was able to see it.

It's what I've been saying all along about Django-- it's a movie that needs time to grow on people. Releasing it like this in the thrum of everything else essentially dooms it. I have a really hard time seeing it getting into Best Picture for many of the same reasons-- and I thought this even before SAG.

SEAN: It all depends on how many Best Picture noms the Academy decides to have. If they keep it to five or six, Django could be on the outside looking in. If they go as high as nine or 10, though, I think it gets in. Tarantino likely won't get the Director nod, though. The field is way too crowded.

Is there a person or film that scored victories over the past few days that has made you exceptionally thrilled for their Oscar chances? Beyond Bardem, I'd have to say Naomi Watts, who I would LOVE to see in the Best Actress race. The fact that she got recognized for The Impossible by both groups has me feeling much better about her chances.
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