Earlier this week the Screen Actors Guild announced its nominees for its 20th Annual SAG Awards show. Not only were the Guild’s choices spot on but they have also created one of the toughest award races in recent years.
The contest heats up right away with Outstanding Performance by a Male Lead. With such prestigious actors as Bruce Dern for his amazing role in Nebraska to the underrated and well-deserving Chiwetel Ejiofor for the epic 12 Years A Slave it is sure to be a close call. The only one that seems out of place is Forest Whitaker for The Butler. Honestly, The Butler may be the one movie on the list where the main character did the least amount of work. Granted, the film was critically acclaimed and a box office hit but that doesn’t mean it deserves an award.
The race is just as tight for the female leads with a full roster of some of the industry’s top actresses being nominated. Any list that includes Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Emma Thompson is going to be truly wonderful. Each of and every one of them were poignant and moving in their roles this year. The biggest surprise on the list is Sandra Bullock, who completely blew away audiences with her role in Gravity. Honestly, considering she had to convey her entire spectrum of emotions almost entirely through breathing she is a clear underdog among the other nominees.
Least surprising of the mix is Meryl Streep who would have been nominated no matter what role she played. It has reached the point where she has become such a regular nominee she almost shouldn’t be nominated at all if only to give others a chance.
As more and more film personalities make their way to television the comparison between the two mediums has become a lot more interesting. No longer is there a set hierarchy between the film and television as the long form style of television is very quickly getting just as much attention as feature films.
That makes the nominations in the television category all the more lucrative. This is especially true when you have powerhouses like Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey, Bryan Cranston and Jeff Daniels all vying for the same prize. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Daniels alone could do some serious damage. When they speak, you listen. Peter Dinklage is the underdog in this category for his role in Game of Thrones, a series that is finally starting to get the level of attention it deserves. Odds are Cranston will win for an epic final season of Breaking Bad but Kevin Spacey brought down the house as Francis Underwood in the freshman series House of Cards and really does deserve the prize.
One of the biggest surprises though came in the comedy category. One gets the feeling that certain shows get nominated on principle rather than actual quality, which can be disheartening. That is the only reason I can think of for having Jason Bateman receive a nomination for his work on season four of Arrested Development. While it was great having the cast back the season itself was uneven and generally poorly acted (not surprising since almost of the cast was working on other projects at the time). Chances are Bateman won’t win but that nomination could have easily gone to someone way more deserving.
For the most part many of the nominations were spot on this year and the judges should be commended for picking out the cream of the crop. The ceremony will be simulcast live on Jan. 18, 2014 on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. ET.
See the full list of nominees!