Usual disclaimer: My SAG picks are usually FAR less accurate than my Oscars’ picks. We actors are so unpredictable. Oscar voters, not so much.
So, each year I give massive grief to the Nominating Committees for some of the inane choices they make. However, as I was actually on the TV Nominating Committee this year, I can’t go there with my usual vitriol. Even better, there are no outrageous choices this year. They mostly make sense!
I think we mostly got a lot of the film side right…at least a lot more than the Oscars did. What’s that? Michelle Williams got an Oscar nod for a lead role over Viola Davis‘ tour de force baddassery in “Woman King”?! Did any of the Oscar nominating committee take the time to see it? I mean, holy shit, she carries the film, quite literally on her back! Davis spends three hours kicking butt all over the place…all while making me feel something for good measure. Williams, otoh, dances in front of headlights. Oy.
But otherwise the SAG film noms are mostly legit…with the obvious exception of Paul Dano (who I generally love) getting the nod over David Henry Tyree – which is insane. As for our Ensemble choices…we’ll get to it in due time…
But many of the TV choices lacked creativity and were mostly what was expected. Not surprising given that the world is becoming more and more tribal along narrower and narrower paths of conflict – even as it relates to TV viewing habits. This is evidenced by my reaching out to ask “Better Call Saul” fans what two or three episodes they think would best show off its acting work (especially Messrs. Banks and Odenkirk). The vitriolic responses I received from more than a handful of folks whom I call friends was pretty amazing…
- “How dare you not recuse yourself from the process! Do you not take this seriously?!”
- “How can you possibly get a feel for the show if you don’t watch the entire series before you vote!”
- And my favorite, “it’s UNETHICAL for you to vote if you haven’t seen the whole thing!”
The irony here is, ask anyone, I take this awards stuff more seriously than anyone I know. And I don’t need to get a feel for the show, I need to observe the acting. And being a pro for over 40 years, I think I can judge an actor’s work in relation to a competition by watching a few scenes. You all know how impossible it is to find the time to watch all the nominees (nevermind the sheer quantity of choices NomComm folk have to watch)! I knew Odenkirk would be nominated so I just needed to see some scenwork to compare with all the other stuff that needed me to watch. Anyhooooo…on with the show…Oh! Before we move to picks, my TV nominations outrage…
- “Pachinko”: WTF, SAG NomComm?! Easily the best show of the season and, what? Nobody watched? Alright, I get it…it came out early in the year on Apple+, but it is so very, very good. Cinematic, epic, and acted to within a millimeter of perfection by Kim Min-ha, Lee Minho, and previous Oscar winner, Youn Yuh-Jung. Regardless of the awards, if you’re looking for something to watch, this is it!
- “Peaky Blinders”: WTF, SAG NomComm?! Easily the best show of the…okay…maybe not the best, but Murphy’s work this final season was ridiculously good. And the ensemble has never received the respect it deserved from our nominating committee over the years.
- “Slow Horses”: Well, not outrage – more wishful. I thought the season was terrific, brilliantly acted and certainly more deserving than “Lotus”.
Okay…off my soapbox. Here we go…
So, nominees in BOLD are who I think will win. Nominees in ITALICS got my vote. Plus I pick one dark horse in each race…unless there is no chance.
PART 1: FILM
LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A FILM
Cate Blanchett (Tár) – Will win & My vote
Viola Davis (“Woman King”)
Ana de Armas (“Blonde”)
Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”)
Michelle Yeoh (“Everything…”) – Outside chance
So…Cate Blanchett. End of.
As for Ms. Armas, a thankless task in a brutal script, she was terrific, but man, that was a hard watch…and, yes, I’m aware that was the point. Ms. Deadwyler makes what could have been a TV movie (the script teeters in that lane ever so much) and elevates it to something much more. I already mentioned how phenomenal Ms. Davis was in my preamble. And finally, Michelle Yeoh. Playing a million characters in a million dimensions and yet, she is a wholly defined and emotive powerhouse in every one of them. I loved “Everything…”…maybe tied with “Living”, “All Quiet On the Western Front” and “Close” for my fave of the year. And most certainly the one I plan on watching more than a couple times to grasp it all. For that reason alone, in my book, she’s worthy of the award.
Worthy…but nowhere near Blanchett. I mean. Jesus…
Austin Butler (“Elvis”) – Will win
Colin Farrell (“Banshees of Inisherin”) – Outside chance
Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) – My vote
Bill Nighy (“Living”)
Adam Sandler (“Hustle”)
So Austin Butler follows in the footsteps of many a biopic star to the biggest prizes (Jamie Foxx/Ray Charles, Joaquin Phoenix/Johnny Cash, Rami Malek/Freddie Mercury, etc.). But I dare say, this was the most immersive of the bunch. He is phenomenal. And he will win. But, I would place him third behind Brendan Fraser and the incomparable, Mr. Nighy. When “Living” finished, I wanted at least two more hours of it. Usually it takes a full film to believe a transition like the one Mr. Nighy’s character goes through. He does it in ten minutes and you are spell bound the rest of the way. A beautiful, nuanced, emotional and simply brilliant performance in the smallest script of the year. But, then I saw Brendan Fraser in “The Whale”…and was so wrecked by it, I had trouble dealing with my own shit for about a week (granted my dog went deaf during that time, but still). As for Colin Farrell, when all was said (and there was a lot said) did you actually give a crap about anyone other than Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan and the donkey? He still could win if Fraser and Butler knock each other out, but no likely. Finally, Adam Sandler. Lovely movie. Fine performance. That said, I guess no one in the Film NomComm watched “Aftersun”. Paul Mescal should have received the nod.
SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A FILM
Angela Bassett (“Wakanda Forever”) – Will win
Hong Chau (“The Whale”)
Kerry Condon (“Banshees of Inisherin”) – Outside chance
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything…”) – My vote
Stephanie Hsu (“Everything”)
Okay. Really unpopular opinion on the way. Angela Bassett, who, I assure you, I believe is one of our best actors, would come in fourth in this group if I were to select from top to bottom. “BP2” just was this side of too maudlin – mixed with a boring plot – for me to really connect with her performance. I put her ahead of Stephanie Hsu, who is great but utterly overshadowed by the other two female identifying stars, and just behind Hong Chau, who brings the real to the symbolic in “The Whale”. Which left me the unenviable task of choosing between Kerry Condon and Jamie Lee Curtis. I literally flipped a coin and Ms. Curtis got the luck of it. She is a joy to watch as she bounces around dimensions, and lends weight to the craziness going on all around us. But Ms. Condon is also sensational and so much more interesting than the feud the movie is based on. Even now, I’m thinking I got it wrong.
Paul Dano (“The Fablemens”)
Brendan Gleeson (“Banshees of Inisherin”) – Outside chance
Barry Keoghan (“Banshees of Inisherin”) – My vote
Ke Huy Quan (“Everything…”) – Will win
Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Nurse”)
I think I’ve already made it clear that Paul Dano has no right to be in this mix, certainly not at that expense of David Tyree Henry. As for Gleeson and Keoghan, the latter is the most interesting thing on the screen throughout “Banshees” seventeen hour run time. No disrespect to Gleeson. He’s wonderful…but…I mean…fairly one note. A three dimensional note, to be clear, but still. And if I’m being honest, I ran out of time and didn’t see “The Good Nurse” (I know, I should recuse myself). Nonetheless, I’m sure Eddie Redmayne was phenomenal. No matter. I think Ke Huy Quan, and his thirty seven characters, will pick up the statuette. Deservedly so. Just not my choice.
“Banshees of Inisherin” – Will win
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Outside chance
“Women Talking” – My vote
I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t know. All terrific…except “Fableman’s”. I hated that film and have never, in my life, met any suburban Jew who resembled Dano or Williams (to be clear, I was raised as a suburban Jew). Just so sappy. The casts of “Babylon” (deliciously over-the-top, but believable), “Everything…” (deliciously over-the-top, but believable), and “Banshees…” (deliciously UNDER-the-top, but believable), could all have garnered my vote. But in the end, I went with the film that had the most stake…and that was “Women Talking”. As for WHO will win? I think it’ll go to “Banshees”, but it could be “Everything…” or “Woman Talking”. <shrug emoji>
PART 2: TELEVISION DRAMA
Got my anger out earlier on about my issues with some of our nominations. and, for the 117th time…we need a supporting actor category, so supporting actors don’t take away slots for lead actors. Even if we did it like the Globes does (lump Drama, Comedy, and Limited Series together). No one listens to me.
Jennifer Coolidge (“White Lotus”) – Will win
Elizabeth Debicki (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”) – My vote
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Zendaya (“Euphoria”) – Outside chance
Let’s just start with Ms. Garner. How much are we going to miss Ruth?! One of the greatest characters of this decade and if we don’t recognize how brilliant Garner was in birthing, fostering and delivering her to us, I’ll be extremely disappointed. The same cannot be said of Laura Linney. Oh, listen, she’s amazeballs as ever…but really, when you think of this show years from now…it’ll be Ruth (and maybe Darlene – speaking of supporting nods) that will immediately come to mind. As for Elizabeth Debicki, I’m so very, very glad we have recognized her work with a nomination in this new cast of “The Crown”. In a down season, she picks up right where the fabulous Emma Corin left off and takes it to new heights…even if the normally outstanding Dominick West is lacking as her emotional foil. Zendaya. Well, I don’t particularly love the show, but she is more than deserving of the nod, if not the win. And finally, Jennifer Coolidge. I’ve tried. I’ve really really tried. But I cannot stand “White Lotus”. I just don’t give a fuck about anyone, except for Ms. Coolidge’s character, the only empathy-inducing character on the show. The millions of thoughts racing through her eyes in the “dissociative” sex scene in the first episode is pretty phenomenal work. And, of course, who doesn’t want to hear her speech?! She’s got the best shot of winning. Just don’t ask me to watch any more of it.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Elizabeth Debicki (“The Crown”), Julia Garner & Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Kim Min-ha & Youn Yuh-jung (“Pachinko”)
Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”)
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Jeff Bridges (“The Old Man”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) – Will win and my vote
Adam Scott (“Severance”)
As you’ll see below, NONE of the actors I nominated are in this list. Not to say they aren’t deserving, just not how I would have gone with it. In fact, I would have put Oldham sixth, and THEN these fellas. Ah well. So of this bunch? The lock of the night is Odenkirk. No chance he loses. I watched three suggested episodes and it is quite obvious he is the leader of the pack. Jonathon Banks is the coolest man alive. Jason Bateman’s character took a serious back seat to the rest of the bunch in “Ozark’s” final season, Adam Scott is maybe the fifth best male actor on “Severance”, and while no one loves Jeff Bridges more than me, “The Old Man” just isn’t substantial enough a character to get my vote. Please watch “Pachinko” or “Peaky Blinders” to see why either of the two acting leads deserved nominations.But, yeah. Odenkirk.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Tony Hale (“Mysterious Benedict Society”), Diego Luna (“Andor”), Lee Minho (“Pachinko”), Cillian Murphy (“Peaky Blinders”) and John Turturro (“Severance”)
“Better Call Saul” – My vote
“The White Lotus” – Will win
I feel like many NomCommers voted for “The Crown” by rote without actually watching any of the show. It’s still super heavy and has some terrific secondary performances in addition to Ms. Debicki (specifically Lesley Manville, Johnny Lee Miller, Salim Daw and the amazing Jude Akuwudike, who would have received my vote for Supporting if we had such an award). But the leads are, for the most part, lacking in comparison to their previous counterparts. Like “The Crown”, this season of “Ozark” just wasn’t as dense, character-wise, as previous seasons. Not that that’s a surprise. They had to wrap up the main character’s stories, so adding too many other personalities would have gunked up the works. But let’s take a second to acknowledge the amazing Lisa Emery in one of the strangest and most powerful roles ever created (Darlene). “Severance” is lovely chamber piece that probably suffers a bit from “Westworld”-itis (a disease in which writers reset the characters from episode to episode, thereby stalling character tension throughout an entire series). However, there are NO missteps from an acting perspective and I’m really happy it got the nod. Then there ‘s “White Lotus”, where everyone is a terrible person with such complete commitment that I hate the show. “What about Succession…,” you ask, “that has equally horrible people!” True! But if the dialogue on “Lotus” were one iota as clever and interesting as on “Succession” I might feel differently. But I don’t. So sue me. Or, alternatively, tell me how unethical it is for me to get to vote. LOL. It’s probably going to win though, so, wtf do I know? What does that leave? “Better Call Saul”, which should win. But won’t because of that “Lotus” debacle.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated “Pachinko”, “Peaky Blinders”, “Ozark”, “Severance” and “Slow Horses”
PART 3: TELEVISION COMEDY
Hey! We did a pretty good job nominating this year! I mean, again, we really need a supporting category so Anthony Carrigan (who is absolutely deserving), wouldn’t take a spot from, say, Stephen Merchant (“Outlaws”) or Ricky Gervais (“After Life”), both of whom I nominated (along with Hader, Martin and White). And a supporting category might have allowed Sarah Goldberg (brilliant in this season’s “Barry”), Alex Borstein (who was better than Ms. Brosnahan in “Maisel” year 4), Linda Cardellini (“Dead To Me”), Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”), some more of the “Abbott” cast, and maybe MOST egregious, the lack of a nomination for Ayo Edibiri, who was a revelation in “The Bear”. Nonetheless, as a member of this year’s TV Nominating Committee, and without that Supporting option, it’s hard to argue with any of the nominations.
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”) – REAL chance
Jenna Ortega (“Wednesday”)
Jean Smart, Hacks – my vote & will win
In “Dead to Me” the humor comes mostly from the show’s quiet dialogue and heightened emotional angst. And not many female actors are better at that than Christina Applegate (although her work in this is slightly reminiscent of Jennifer Aniston’s character in “The Morning Show”). Does the performance rise above any of the other nominees? Not for me. But it’s worthy of the nod, even if I think Ayo Edibiri, Sarah Goldberg or Pauline Chalamet (“Sex Lives of College Girls”) are possibly more deserving. Ms. Brosnahan was nominated out of habit, I feel, since Borstein was MUCH better in season four. I don’t really understand the inclusion of Jenna Ortega other than maybe a bunch of NomComm members’ kids voted? She’s fine and it’s a fine show, but…really? Over Edibiri? I think not. Unpopular opinion two: not really a fan of “Abbott Elementary”. More on that later, but I don’t think Ms. Brunson is even the best female identifying performer on the show (not that anyone gives a crap what I think, as she’s most likely going to win). Which leaves the inimitable powerhouse that is Jean Smart, who perfectly lends her emotional heft to what might be the best written comedy on TV at the moment. I just have to believe, as a Union, we’ll reward brilliance over momentum…and I’m ready to be disappointed in 3..2..1…
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Alex Borstein (“Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Ayo Edibiri (“The Bear”), Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”), Sarah Goldberg (“Barry”) and Jean Smart (“Hacks”)
Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)
Steve Martin (“Only Murders in the Building”)
Martin Short (“Only Murders in the Building”)
Jeremy Allan White (“The Bear”) – Will win and my vote
Noho Hank is one of the great comic characters of the last ten years and its a joy to watch Hader try desperately to keep it together during Anthony Carrigan‘s improvisational responses over the last few years. But THIS year, we were privileged to see what really goes on in Hank’s world…and what a treat! A three-dimensional Noho Hank. Brilliant! As for his co-hort, Hader was more well-rounded, more self-aware, and more… well… everything. “Barry” is easily the most undefinable and ever-surprising comedy on TV, and Hader remains its fulcrum. As for “Murders” star, Steve Martin, the final episode of the season featured ALL of his talents, not just his ability to be a brilliant straight man to Short’s craziness. That episode, for me, explains why I nominated him and not Short. Though I can’t find fault with Mr. Short getting a nod. Crazy, desperate, but always in control, he’s a tour de force of over-the-top nuttiness. However, I think he and Martin cancel each other out in the voting. It’s irrelevant, though, as Jeremy Allen White has it pretty much sewn up. I mean, not sure how “The Bear” is considered a comedy…but Mr. White holds it all together even as its always falling apart. It’s a bit of an acting high-wire act, and what makes it fun to watch is how close he comes to falling. Brilliant.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Ricky Gervais (“After Life”), Bill Hader (“Barry”), Steve Martin (“Only Murders…”), Stephen Merchant (“Outlaws”) and Jeremy Allan White (“The Bear”)
“Abbott Elementary” – Will win
“The Bear” – My vote
“Hacks” – Outside chance
“Only Murders in the Building”
I think “After Life”, like Peaky Blinders, has been criminally ignored by our Union’s award process. Same for “Atlanta”! And, as an ensemble, “Outlaws” has absolutely no holes. And while I’m at it, “The Sex Lives of College Girls” is really funny and has a fantastic ensemble. It is what it is. Regardless, you’re here for the real noms. As alluded to earlier, I think “Abott Elementary” just doesn’t have the phenomenal (and necessary) jokes that other comedies in the same style possess, ie “Brooklyn Nine Nine”, “The Office” or “Community”. And in a comedy, an ensemble is only as good as the believability of its jokes. That said, it’s momentum is probably too strong for it to lose. Not sure what more can be said about “Barry”. It remains consistently phenomenal, as does its cast. But its a tough group this. Even “Only Murders…”, with its brilliant extended cast, can’t hang with the next two. “Hacks” comes in second in my process only because I’m not sure this past season integrated the minor roleplayers well enough to call it a truly ensemble piece. Rose Abdoo, Carl Clemon-Hopkins and Poppy Liu just weren’t featured enough for me. Those three grounded the first season. This past season was much more an exploration of our two leads. It’s great, don’t get me wrong! But ensemble? Not so sure. Which leaves “The Bear”. Possessing two deserving actors for individual honors (White and Edibiri), it’s a cast of real people that delivers throughout and is that very rare thing, a comedy about a restaurant that’s actually intriguing and funny. Admit it, every time you’ve worked as a server you’ve thought, “this would make a great sitcom”…but, of course, it never does…not since “Alice”, anyway (you youngsters will have to look that up). I just hope we’ll see clear to recognize it as the best comedy ensemble over “Abbott”, but probably not.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated “After Life”, “Barry”, “The Bear”, “Hacks” and “Outlaws”
Part 4: TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
This category. Oy vey. All over the place. Always. That said, this year it’s about as reasonable as I can ever remember. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d have loved to see some obvious choices, like Isabel May, so powerful in “1883”, or Amber Midthunder, who slayed in “Prey” (see what I did there?), Chaske Spencer’s subtle brilliance in “The English”, or Matthew Goode’s tour de force in “The Offer” among the nominations! Or from one of the lesser known shows, “Pistol!” – Sydney Chandler’s Chrissie Hynde or Anson Boon’s Johnny Lydon. But, again, the noms that made it will suffice…
Emily Blount (“The English”) – My vote
Jessica Chastain (“George & Tammy”)
Julia Garner (“Inventing Anna”)
Niecy Nash Betts (“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”) – Outside chance
Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”) – Will win
The only performance of the year that I thought bested Emily Blount‘s would be Isabel May’s in “1883”, but we’re splitting Western hairs. Blount is grounded, naive, vulnerable and strong as hell in this bizarre look at the dangers of the West during expansion. The next best performance for me would be Julia Garner‘s delicious weirdness in “Anna”. Not the best show, mind you, but weird! Was not a fan of “Dahmer”, but Niecy Nash Betts shone through as the most believable main character (no disrespect to Evan Peters). Jessica Chastain‘s turn in “George and Tammy” is swell, I guess. I just didn’t really give a hoot after a couple episodes (and for the record, I’m a HUGE George Jones fan). It all seemed a little paint-by-numbers – including her arc. Which my least favorite performance of the bunch, Amanda Seyfried. Bored. Bored. Bored. But she will Win. Win. Win.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Emily Blount (“The English”), Sydney Chandler (“Pistol”), Julia Garner (“Inventing Anna”), Isabel May (“1883”) and Amber Midthunder (“Prey”)
Steve Carrell (“The Patient”) – My vote
Taron Egerton (“Blackbird”)
Sam Elliott (“1883”)
Paul Walter Hauser (“Blackbird”) – Outside chance
Evan Peters (“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”) – Will win
Not sure how to go about breaking this down since every one of these performers (and performances) are top notch, so it’s really a matter of taste. Taron Egerton & Paul Walter Hauser fill “Blackbird” with a kind of smoldering tension. Evan Peters, who is likely to win, is both a scary monster and a super creep, making the show kind of a hide-your-eyes bit of voyeurism. Sam Elliott is, well, Sam Elliott in “1883” which is good enough for me (though I would have liked to maybe see his compatriot in the show, LaMonica Garrett get a nod). All that said, Steve Carrell easily gives the performance of the year in “The Patient” (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a mental health professional). I just don’t think enough people watched to appreciate it.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I nominated Anson Boon (“Pistol”), Steve Carrell (“The Patient”), Sam Elliott (“1883”), Matthew Goode (“The Offer”), and Chaske Spencer (“The English”)
Part 5: Stunts
“Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever”
“Top Gun 2” – Will win
“The Woman King” – My vote
Hey, I saw all of these in the theater! For my money, “Woman King” was easily the most stunt heavy and believable, followed by “BP2”. Also, “Avatar 2” and “The Batman” were dangerously close to be being more CGI than stuntwork…even if that is completely untrue (I really have no idea – it just LOOKED like it). However, “Top Gun: Maverick” appears to be a lock for the award.
“House of the Dragon” – Will win
“Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” – My vote
I dunno. Of this group, the “Lord of the Rings” show had the most and largest series of stunts which is why I voted for it. And while “House of Dragon” felt more like CGI than stunts, it’s going to win. “Stranger Things” was pretty low key this year on the action. And “Andor”, while great, really wasn’t a stunt based show (even though they were great when there were). Never watched “Boys”. It’s okay. It’s got no shot. I’ll survive.
As a member of the Nominating Committee, I have no recollection who I nominated.
Enjoy the Awards!! See you at The Oscars!