2019 SAG Awards Viewing Guide: Part 3 – TV Movie or Miniseries Awards

This is the area with the least amount of consistency, and this year is no different. These shows and performances are kind of all voer the place in both style, genre, and quality.

But more importantly…did NO ONE see “Homecoming”?! Julia Roberts, Stephan James, Shea Whigam…? Anyone?! Really?! Or, while we’re at it, Jared Harris from “The Terror”! Sheer brilliance!

Also, placing miniseries and TV movies together always seems slightly unfair. A series is a series. A ninety minute film is not. Perhaps that is why there is only ONE nomination from a stand-alone film this year, Anthony Hopkins for “King Lear”, who pretty much has no shot.

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Women

Okay, Nominating Committee….you mostly got this right, although I wasn’t nearly as enamored with “Sharp Objects” as the rest of the world. BUT…I’d have replaced Patricia Clarkson (whose role is a supporting one) with either “Homecoming’s” Julia Roberts or Laura Dern from “The Tale”. If you haven’t seen either, get to it right now. I’ll wait.

Okay…so…

Amy Adams – “Sharp Objects” (HBO)

I really disliked this show. Mostly style over substance, and her performance reminded me a little too much of her sleepy turn in “Nocturnal Animals”. Not saying it’s her fault, per se. The character is written as a constant alcoholic, melancholic downer. I found it stupefying. Regardless, she’ll get votes, just not mine.
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Patricia Arquette – “Escape At Dannemora” (Showtime)

Ms. Arquette is a rock star. And maybe no performance is as fearless as hers this season. In fact, in a story about two men, she basically relegates them to the background with her performance. And I’d love to see her win just to see her speech! Yeah, I didn’t love this show either, but I sure loved her in it. It’s a coin toss for me between her and another nominee we’ll get to in a minute. Regardless of who I’m voting for, she’s absolutely deserving of the statuette.
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Patricia Clarkson – “Sharp Objects” (HBO)

So…I think Ms. Clarkson is a an actor’s actor. Always committed. Always emotionally connected. But in “Objects” her character is simply too maudlin, and without enough emotional variance, for me to vote for her (or want to finish the show, for that matter). Also, it’s a supporting role…so…
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Penelope Cruz – “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)

Man, is it me or has this show been around for like seven years already. I didn’t particularly love it when it first aired in 1957 (or so it seems), but Ms. Cruz is always great, always interesting, and here, always bizarre. But, while I wouldn’t mind if she won, she’d come in third on my ballot.
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Emma Stone – “Maniac” (Netflix) (…she gets my vote in lieu of Julia Roberts)

This brilliant and strange bit of television magic is as good as it is wackadoodle. But what makes it work is her relationships with the brilliant Julia Garner and the better than expected Jonah Hill, and her ability to inhabit the various eras and worlds she is asked to venture in to, including 1983 Long Island and a fantasy world run by elves. But it is her earnest and emotional connection in her real world that makes the performance so special. Like “The Tale”, “Maniac” is crazy good and if you haven’t seen it yet, what on earth are you waiting for? I happily give her my vote.
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Men

Antonio Banderas – “Genius: Picasso” (NatGeo)

I don’t know. I found this to be a really dull show…and it shouldn’t have been. And a large percentage of the show’s failure must fall on Banderas. It’s a largely one note performance…that note being annoyed indignation. I would have much preferred to see Ben Whishaw nominated for his brilliance in “A Very English Scandal”.
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Darren Criss – “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”

So…yeah…he’s pretty great in this show – much better than we’ve seen him prior (although that is kinda limited to “Glee”). In fact, he’s probably the best reason to watch it (which I did reluctantly). But he ain’t getting my vote. That goes to…
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Hugh Grant – “A Very English Scandal” (BBC/AmazonPrime) (…he gets my vote)

This is a deeply flawed show (for instance, it doesn’t come to a satisfying end as much as it simply stops), but none of that is due to the performances. Hugh Grant is absolutely perfect as a simply terrible, terrible, yet unbearably, sad person with a consistent smile borne of British stoicism. It might be the most three-dimensional performance of this bunch. Finally, every interaction with Whishaw, Alex Jennings and Monica Dolan makes for great television.
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Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear” (AmazonPrime)

I’m not going to pretend I am some brilliant judge of Shakespeare. Nor should I critique the pros or cons of placing the bard’s work in modern dress. I will say that I enjoyed this production, even if much of it seemed like a size 12 idea shoehorned in to a size 7 shoe. But, of course, there is no denying Hopkins’ brilliance. Glad he was nominated.
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Bill Pullman, “The Sinner” (USA Network)

Leaving aside the weirdness of this being considered a “Limited Series” while in its second season, Pullman is fine in it. It’s just not very special. I mean, given the style of the show, you could just as easily have put in Titus Welliver from “Bosch” or Billy Bob Thornton from “Goliath”. But more importantly, why isn’t Stephan James in this spot?! Oy.

Next up, the film category…

Written on 1/19/2019

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