Nominations for the SAG Awards never match nominations for the Academy Awards completely, but there is usually quite a bit of overlap. Last year, for example, both of the male categories matched 4/5. So, while the average person might not even watch the ceremony when it’s aired on TNT and TBS in January, if they’re into the Oscars at all, they should take a long hard look at the nominees that were released this morning and start getting used to most of the faces because they’ll be talked about for the next few months.

As Kristy pointed out in her response this morning, there weren’t a whole lot of drop-your-coffee-double-takes in the organization’s choices. Nothing was way the hell out of bounds, and no one who was considered a huge frontrunner was snubbed. Hidden within the seemingly obviously choices, however, are five clues that some of the larger films might be in some serious trouble for the Academy Awards. Whether because of a complete lack of nominations or merely way less than expected, there are five films that had worse mornings than expected.

Let’s talk about them.
The Wolf Of Wall Street
What Could Have Been: The embargo for Martin Scorsese’s Wolf Of Wall Street hasn’t ended; so, we really don’t know what the general consensus on the film is. That being said, it did score one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 of 2013 slots, and given the talent involved, it has all the makings of a serious player. Most insiders assumed Leonardo Dicaprio would be a serious contender in the lead category and Jonah Hill and/ or Matthew McConaughey would make a strong push in the supporting category. None of those things happened here. The film didn’t pick up any major nominations, and if this is taken as a larger sign, it may not pick up the necessary momentum needed for a viable Oscar campaign.

Why: Most of the voters likely got screeners or were invited to various showings, but it’s still a safe bet that a whole lot less people saw theWolf than say The Butler, which came out months ago. Beyond that, DiCaprio has never been a huge favorite with voters for whatever reason. He’s almost routinely listed in the snubs category, and both McConaughey and Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) may have screwed themselves out of supporting nods thanks to thanks lead actor nominations for Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips.

The Bottom Line: It’s too early to write the film off, but this is a very poor sign.
Inside Llewyn Davis
What Could Have Been: The latest from the Coen Brothers has been earning rave reviews. Critics are in love with the film, and they’re fans of lead actor Oscar Isaac’s performance. As such, it was assumed the film would have an outside chance at a Best Ensemble hat tip, an outside chance at a supporting actress nomination for Carey Mulligan and a fairly decent chance at a lead actor nomination for Isaac. None of those things happened. The film was shut out of all major categories, and now, fans are left to wonder whether the same thing will happen at the Academy Awards.

Why: The Coen Brothers are brilliant directors. They’re among the best working in Hollywood today, but they’re not necessarily actors’ directors. By that, I don’t mean they’re difficult assholes. I mean they tend to choose the larger movie over individual performances. They’re not the type who write parts that let actors have big showy moments that might play well on a highlight reel. They choose the pace of the film every time and are unwilling to linger with the camera to capture moments that either aren’t deserved or slow down the overall momentum. As such, sometimes brilliance can go unrecognized because it’s a little more subtle.

The Bottom Line: Inside Llewyn Davis’ best shot at Oscar glory was always going to come in the Best Director and Best Picture categories. This doesn’t help, but it doesn’t doom the film either.
Her
What Could Have Been: There was a whole lot of chatter back in late November about how Scarlett Johansson’s voice only performance was deemed ineligible for consideration. She was fair game for the SAG Awards, however, and some thought she might have a realistic chance at a nomination. The same can be said for Joaquin Phoenix too whose lead role as the eccentric protagonist has been earning high marks. He’s an awards season veteran and figured to be a strong contender, but the film didn’t earn anything in any of the major categories.

Why: While Scar Jo was technically eligible for a nomination, people really don’t like voting for voice only roles. Maybe they really do require less effort. Maybe voters are unfairly biased. Either way, despite all the hope, she was working from behind the eight ball. She really could have used a nod here to prove she’s a legit contender, but apparently, that wasn’t to be. Beyond her (pun intended), many other voters may have been apprehensive about the larger film’s bizarre subject matter or about Phoenix’s track record of strange behavior and openly talking about how little he cares for awards season.

The Bottom Line: This hurts. Momentum has to start somewhere. Maybe it’ll be at the Globes tomorrow but probably not.
All Is Lost
What Could Have Been: After a long, universally adored career, many thought Redford’s daring, one man performance in All Is Lost could finally be the film to give him a Best Actor Oscar. It would have been some delicious icing on an otherwise very tasty career, and it would have marked a very interesting pairing alongside Sandra Bullock’s mostly one woman performance in Gravity, but apparently, voters weren’t feeling his turn as much as expected and he lost his spot in the top five, likely to The Butler’s Forrest Whitaker. This category is the only real shot the larger film has at 2013 glory, and it may be the last chance Redford personally ever has.

Why: People like voting for performances in movies they really, really love. That might seem obvious, but thanks to the Tomato Meter, it’s not always initially clear whether a huge rating means a film was utterly brilliant or just that a film was good enough in certain ways to get a thumbs up. All Is Lost works thanks to Redford, but it’s not the type of film most viewers are going to want to own and watch once every few years for the rest of their lives. It’s just not that absorbing, especially compared to the higher end fare this year had to offer. In addition, All Is Lost really hasn’t been seen by a ton of people, and while many voters will watch the screeners, all of them certainly won’t.

The Bottom Line: Redford really needs a Golden Globe nomination tomorrow to keep hope alive.
American Hustle
What Could Have Been: American Hustle actually performed pretty well today. The film was nominated for Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actress, but it’s not nearly the mountain of awards some were hoping for. In fact, many were convinced the film could pick up a nomination in every single acting category, a feat pulled off at the Oscars last year by Hustle director David O Russell’s brilliant Silver Linings Playbook. Apparently, voters weren’t feeling Christian Bale, Amy Adams or Bradley Cooper, all award season veterans, as much as they were Jennifer Lawrence who picked up the only solo nomination. All involved should still be proud of themselves thanks to the collective nod, but one would imagine, secretly, there’s at least a little bit of disappointment there.

Why: Well, it’s really, really hard to tell. No one who was snubbed today was considered a frontrunner for a statue. They were all sort of in play for possible honors. What’s weird is that three out of the four of them missed out, which means there might be less collective love for the larger film than first imagined. Let’s put it this way. If you really like a movie, you might vote for it in a category or two, but unless you think it’s one of the best two or three movies of the year, you’re probably not going to vote for it in every single available category.

The Bottom Line: I'm bullish on American Hustle. It’s still a frontrunner for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress nods. It may even snag one more acting nods, but don’t look for a clean sweep.
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