Jared Leto? Ugh…anyway…
Another year past…another year seeing most of our films on the streaming thingees. I can’t decide if it was a down year for film because of the pandemic, or if it was just a down year. Regardless, there were far fewer films (and TV shows ) that excited me than in years past. As a result, my predictions are bound to be disastrous because so many of the nominee choices selected by the Nominating Committee are so out of left field, who KNOWS how the rank and file will vote? At least I can rely on the Oscars to be much more predictable…so look out for those predictions down the road. But seriously…Jared Leto. Huh.
To that point, the nominees for the best of the best in film acting seem decidedly lacking in quantity…and in some cases, quality. But I’m tired of bashing the SAG Nom Comm. At a certain point if our awards are to be taken seriously, we need to change how nominations happen. How is it that the BAFTA’s and Oscars get the acting nominations so much closer to top quality than we do. I mean…did anyone on the Nom Comm actually WATCH “House of Gucci”?! Good god, easily the worst big budget “serious” film of the year (with “serious” defined as any movie with award aspirations). Here’s just some of the film nominees that the Oscars and BAFTA’s got right that we didn’t:
- Kristin Stewart (Spencer)
- Tessa Thompson (Passing)
- Nina Arianda (Being the Ricardos)
- Renata Reinsve (Worst Person in the World)
- Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
- Nic Cage (Pig)
- Mike Faist (West Side Story) – I mean…come ON!
- David Alvarez (West Side Story)
- Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
- JK Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
- Jesse Plemons (Power of the Dog)
- Ann Dowd – (Mass)
- Aunjanue Ellis – (King Richard)
- The cast of Mass
You get the point….I mean…Jared Leto. JARED LETO! And Bradley Cooper in Licorice? Do we now simply nominate whoever can burn down the most scenery? If that’s the case than the statuette should go to Mark Rylance for his work in “Don’t Look Up” (who was actually fantastic and convincing in his weirdness)! Watch Simmons or Plemmons and talk to me about Leto.
On the television side…well..that makes more sense. There is so much content out there it is simply unreasonable to think that the actors on the committee, who are no doubt working long hours trying to survive until the industry gets fully back on its feet (speaking specifically to us VO actors), can watch every FYC thang thrown their way. Hell, even I couldn’t get to all the nominated series because of my other job. But I watched enough to know what we might have done instead of what we did in terms of nominees…namely ignoring “Pose” and “Insecure”…again. And…sigh…we’re stuck with supporting actors and lead actors bunched in to one category. I know I beat this drum in a very small room year after year, but I don’t understand why we can’t have one Supporting performance award that encompasses all three categories in the television area. Would literally add about three minutes to the ceremony and allow the brilliant and heartbreaking performance of “Dopesick’s”, Kaitlyn Dever, or the strange, but mesmerizing work Olivia Colman and David Thewlis in “Landscapers”, or the once-in-a-lifetime work of Joel Edgerton in “Underground Railroad” or, hell, ANYONE from “Yellowstone”, “Pose”, “Insecure”, etc…to be recognized.
Okay…off my soapbox. Here we go…
So, nominees in ITALICS are who I think will win. Nominees in PLAIN BOLD are who I think should win (ie. who I voted for).
PART 1: FILM
LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A FILM
So did the “Mass” producers just not get their promotional materials out there? Anyhoo…this is a race between Colman and Kidman. While I thought “Daughter” was terribly paced and incredibly annoying at times, Colman was her usual superb self (though her performance in “The Landscapers” was much more complete). As for Kidman, I actually really liked the film, mostly because Kidman didn’t try to impersonate her assignment – in fact, none of the actors did. They simply existed in the world of the script and approximated…much more dramatically powerful. That said, it’s Arianda and Simmons that make that thing go. Chastain was terrific in a really badly jumbled film. The script and direction let’s her down over and over again as she tries like hell to bust out of the bio-pic box she’s constrained in. The less said about Gaga the better. Sheesh…watch one scene and tell me her accent doesn’t sound more Yiddish than Italian. As for Hudson…well..she has the same typical bio-pic issues to maneuver around that Chastain did…HOWEVER…the sheer amount of work and commitment and effort made it, for me, the best performance of this group. She has no shot of winning and I’m okay with that, but in the absence of Stewart, Cruz or Reinsve…that’s who I voted for. I’ll flip a coin and say Kidman gets the win…
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Lady Gaga, House of Gucci
Jennifer Hudson, Respect – my vote
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos – will win
I think this is Smith’s to lose. And while Bardem does amazing scenework, I think many will find his Ricardo too jarringly different from the original. Cumberbatch was the early favorite, but if you think back on his work, it’s pretty one note throughout, and his shift toward empathy is way too fast (which is the main flaw of Campion’s script). Denzel quite literally says all his lines as fast as possible, taking all the terror and suspense out of the original murder mystery. And finally, Garfield is incredible in “Tick Tock”, but man, that is one self-indulgent script and I know for a fact I am not alone in that estimation amongst my SAG peers – which should keep him from winning. Man, I hated that film. Anyway, Will Smith will be King of SAG this year.
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick Boom
Will Smith, King Richard – my vote & will win
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A FILM
So, I really wish Nina Arianda was in this mix. She’s maybe the best thing in “Ricardo’s”. And Aunjane Ellis deserved a nod here. And while we’re at it, Tōko Miura is simply brilliant in “Drive My Car”…but I don’t think anyone from the Nom Comm can be expected to watch a three+ hour drive around Japan (even if it is my favorite film of the year). But of this group? Blanchett, to me, fails as Bacall. Way too over the top a performance in a not very good film. Negga, who is one of my absolute favorite actors, is terrific, but not going to take it out of this group…and she’s done better work (ie “Loving”). Dunst is amazing in “Dog”, as is Balfe (“Belfast”), but much as I enjoyed their performances, Debose is the wonder here, and she gets my vote. As for who wins? I think Debose dances away with it…
Caitriona Balfe, Belfast
Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley
Ariana Debose, West Side Story – my vote & will win
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Ruth Negga, Passing
Jared Leto. Let’s just pretend he’s not listed here. Same for Cooper. A funny bit, but hardly worthy of a nomination given the work by the two male supporting actors in “Belfast”. Same can be said for Affleck…although he’s at least trying to be an actual human character in “Tender Bar”. So…you three sit down and let the real performers go at it. Smit-McPhee is going to win, I think…and not undeserving either. He’s pretty hard not to watch in this film and whether you see the ending coming or not, he’s pretty pretty good at not showing his hand. But for me, there may not be a more human and heart-wrenching scene this year than Kotsur’s post-concert scene with his daughter (not to take away from the entirety of the performance which is remarkable). He got my vote!
Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar
Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza
Troy Kotsur, CODA – my vote
Jared Leto, House of Gucci
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog – will win
Other than the preposterous inclusion of “House of Gucci”, and criminal exclusion of “West Side Story” or “Mass”, this isn’t a bad list. I might have nominated the above two at the expense of “Gucci” and “Don’t Look Up”, though the latter is one of the best executed comedies of the year. “Richard” features a good cast, but not great – I have no idea what Jon Bernthal is doing in the film, but it ain’t acting…not that the script helps him much, nor his need to emulate the real person he plays. So that leaves “Belfast” and “Coda”. Both excellent casts, top to bottom. But since I lean toward historical drama as a rule, “Belfast” gets my vote (even if it is “Roma Goes To Belfast”). But, I’d be just as happy if “Coda” won, which I think it will.
Belfast – my vote
CODA – will win
Don’t Look up
House of Gucci
PART 2: TELEVISION DRAMA
I mean, I suppose I could find fault with this list…I could see Ms. Witherspoon being traded for any number of performers, but her last scenes of season 2 with her brother make her an easy sell to be here. Full disclosure, I was only able to get through a couple episodes of “Squid”, and I stopped watching Handmaid’s when they decided to use my church, Fenway Park, as the location for the mass murder of women. Nope. But none of it matters. The dialogue – and performances of those words – is so so good on “Succession”, the award will be handed to Ms. Snook (and she got my vote).
Jennifer Aniston,The Morning Show
Jung Hoyeon, Squid Game
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Sarah Snook, Succession – my vote & will win
Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show
Now THIS is the category where not having a supporting actor category really hurts. It would have allowed Steve Carrell, Mark Duplass, and Dusean Terry to get some notice for their incredible work in “The Morning Show”. And “Yellowstone” has some supporting performances outside of the family quartet that are simply impossible to take your eyes off…talking to you, Cole Hauser, Forrie J. Smith, and, especially, Jefferson White (holy cow, he’s good – see what I did there?). Hell, I would even consider Owen Wilson’s work in “Loki” worthy of discussion in a supporting category.
But it is what it is and this group is pretty pretty strong. Jung-jae’s face is the best thing about “Squid Game”. Culin is my favorite cast member on “Succession”…certainly this past season, anyway. Cox is ferocious. And Strong is…well…the very picture of a fucked up, privileged, addict – and he’s going to win. All that said, Crudup is, in my estimation, the best of this bunch. Yeah, he chews some scenery, but he’s like the prize inside of a Cracker Jack box…every time he’s on screen, I can’t wait to see what’s going to come out of his mouth or from behind his sparkling eyes. And the very last scene this season…that’s gonna stick with me for a long time. But, yeah, Strong will win.
Brian Cox, Succession
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show – my vote
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game
Jeremy Strong, Succession – will win
I mean, it’s a foregone conclusion “Succession” will win this. But if you look at which show depends on its smaller pieces more, then you have to at least consider “Yellowstone” and “Morning Show”. The former suffers from some over the top writing for the main characters, but the ensemble as a whole is so of the world it takes place in, it’s kind of magical (and I wonder if “1883” arrived too late to be considered, because that’s another show where every single character is cast/performs to perfection – maybe next year? And maybe it’s a Limited Series?). But yeah, Succession..and yes, I voted for “Succession”…if for nothing else than the sexual play acting scene between Snook and MacFayden…or the confession scene with the three kids. The best TV scenes of the year. (And not for nothin’…where is “Pose”?! seriously, five seasons, not one SAG nomination – at least we’re consistent. sheesh!)
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Morning Show
Succession – my vote & will win
PART 3: TELEVISION COMEDY
So, I LOVE “The Great”. LOVE. But Ms. Fanning should have been nominated last year…her first season was stronger…though she is pretty damned spectacular in it. Who would I replace her with…Issa Rae, obviously. I mean…seriously. And while there’s been an outcry for Selena Gomez here, I would not have nominated her. Now, if there were a supporting category, Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”) and Yvonne Orji (“Insecure”) are more than deserving. As for this lot, I personally disliked “The Chair”, but Ms. Oh was terrific in it (and the new season of “Killing Eve” starts the same night as the Awards!!!!!!!!). Mss. Temple and Waddingham are certainly essential building blocks to Lasso. But, come on, Jean Smart gives the performance of a lifetime (actually, she does that all the time…). She gets the win and my vote. A no-brainer.
Elle Fanning, The Great
Sandra Oh, The Chair
Jean Smart, Hacks – my vote & will win
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso
Umm…the problem here, as it always has been, is no supporting. Alan Arkin would have one two already, and this year a supporting would obviously go to Mr. Goldstein (“f************ck!”). But, seriously, what does Ricky Gervais have to do to get a nod for the tremendous “After Life” (unless this latest season was released after the deadline). I didn’t like “Murders”. I know, I know. I stopped watching Kominsky a while back. I know, I know. But I think Sudeikis is the easy choice, with Steve Martin as a possible longshot (would love to hear his speech!). Me? I voted for the angry guy (Goldstein) who made a supporting role the most talked about and impersonated every where.
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso – my vote
Steve Martin, Only Murders in the Building
Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
Can’t really argue with this group. I love “The Great”, and the ensemble is hilarious…but, again, it was better last year. I would’ve been happy to see “What We Do in the Shadows” here…or “After Life” (chock full of some of the best British funny folk). When I voted it was a toss-up between “Lasso” and “Hacks”. I went with the latter because “Lasso” was often just this side of having “very special” episodes, which, while extremely British, can be deadly at times. Of course that won’t keep it from winning. But “Hacks” may surprise.
Hacks – my vote
The Kominsky Method
Only Murders in the Building
Ted Lasso – will win
Part 4: TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Let’s just get to it. Winslet will and should win. Would love to have seen Julianne Nicholson have the opportunity to go head-to-head with Ms. Smart in a supporting category for her terrific work in “Mare” – or the aforementioned and criminally underappreciated, Kaitlyn Dever (“Dopesick”)…ah well. I didn’t get to “Maid” (sorry), Coolidge is never not brilliant, and Erivo is the queen of making a bad script a hundred times more watchable. But…
Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha
Margaret Qualley, Maid
Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown
Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown – my vote & will win
Joel Edgerton. Joel Edgerton. Joel Edgerton. What is wrong with y’all?! His work in “Underground Railroad” is so much better than anyone on this list with the exception of MAYBE Mr. Keaton (who I voted for and will win). Peters is fine in “Mare”…but it’s a stock supporting role (not a stock performance, mind you). We kinda all know what was wrong with “Halston”. Isaac is always great, but man, that’s a brutal watch. I know, yer saying, “Jason, nothing has ever been more brutal than ‘Railroad’!”. But it has this constant, undulating inventory of DEEEEP layers (and is directed by Barry Jenkins like an Oscar-worthy film). “Marriage” is just an in your face couples counseling session (and since I do that for a living…). I ran out of time for “Lotus”, but I can live with that. “Dopesick” was magnetic. I watched it in one night (yes, I was a wreck the next day). Keaton says more without saying anything than any of these other performers can with words.
Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
Oscar Isaac, Scenes from a Marriage
Michael Keaton, Dopesick – my vote & will win
Ewan McGregor, Halston
Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown
Part 5: Stunts
Hey, I saw all of these in the theater! Dune isn’t terribly stunt-y. Same can be said for “Matrix”…which felt more like choreography than stuntwork (I’m quite certain I’m an idiot for saying that). Bond always has great stunts, but a limited amount compared to “Shang-Chi” and “Black Widow”. The problem with Shang-Chi is that felt very FX laden, so, as a result, less stunt-ish (again, I’m quite certain I’m an idiot for saying that). For me, “Black Widow” had me thinking, “holy crap, how did they do that.” Mostly because it’s more hand-to-hand combat, which I connect to more. So, I gave it my vote. However, the word is it’s between Bond and Marvel’s Rings. I think Bond pulls it out.
Black Widow – my vote
The Matrix Resurrections
No Time to Die – will win
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Apparently “Squid Game” is a lock. I voted for “Falcon”. I mean, holy crap, THAT’S stuntwork…on a grand scale. The only show that impressed me more with its stunts was “Hawkeye”, which wasn’t nominated. But…did I mention I’m an idiot when it comes to these categories? The Union should really give us some direction on what we are supposed to be looking for so we can make more informed decisions. Then again, we nominated Jared Leto…so maybe it wouldn’t help.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – my vote
Mare of Easttown
Squid Game – will win
Enjoy the Awards!! See you at The Oscars!
Jared Leto. If only WordPress had an SMH emoji…