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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Get Real

Yesterday the 2013 Oscar Race got interesting, today it got serious.  For while it's perfectly fine for all the nation's critics to name their favorite films and actors of the year, the critics don't actually vote for the Oscars, but other actors do, and today the actors spoke.  The Screen Actors Guild announced their nominations for the SAG Awards this morning, and for the first time, we have an indication of which films and actors some actual Oscar voters prefer.

(helen mirren in "hitchcock")

Following is a list of the SAG nominees, and we'll split the list into "Expected" and "Surprise" categories.  The Expected nominees are the same ones that the country's critics have been picking, and the Surprise nominees are the ones who have heretofore been completely ignored by the critics, but who might just find themselves showered with some Oscar love in a few weeks.

Best Actor-
EXPECTED: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"; Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
SURPRISES: John Hawkes, "The Sessions"; Denzel Washington, "Flight"; Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"

Hawkes and Washington have certainly been mentioned as possible Oscar contenders, but so far, they haven't won any critics awards.  The real surprise here is Jackman, whose reviews for Les Mis have been mixed at best.  The only critics awards winner absent from this list is Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master".

Best Actress-
EXPECTED: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
SURPRISES: Helen Mirren, "Hitchcock"; Naomi Watts, "The Impossible", Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"

There are no real surprises here; even though Mirren, Watts and Cotillard haven't won any critics awards, they were clearly on everyone's Oscar radar this year.  The glaring snub is for Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour", who is mopping up the critics awards.

(nicole kidman in "the paperboy")

Best Supporting Actor-
EXPECTED: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
SURPRISES: Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Alan Arkin, "Argo"

Again, no real surprises here; all five of these guys have been mentioned as Oscar hopefuls.  The surprises are the snubs.  No one from "Django Unchained" got a nod, nor did Ezra Miller, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", who has already won one critics award and will probably win a few more.  But maybe the biggest snub is for Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike", who won the first critics award of the season, which then gave permission to an adoring fanbase in the entertainment industry to seriously consider McConaughey for Oscar recognition.  But for some reason, it looks like McConaughey's fellow actors didn't take the bait.

Best Supporting Actress-
EXPECTED: Sally Field, "Lincoln"; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
SURPRISES: Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"; Nicole Kidman, "The Paperboy"; Maggie Smith, "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

(javier bardem in "skyfall")

Hunt was expected to be on this list, although she hasn't won any critics awards, and Maggie Smith is getting recognition for a variety of reasons.  Smith is being rewarded for a lifetime of great work, plus with "Downton Abbey", Smith is having a hell of a year.  The big surprise here is Nicole Kidman, who hasn't won any critcs awards nor has she been seriously mentioned as an Oscar contender.  But everyone loves Kidman, including her fellow actors, so this isn't that big of a shock.  Noticeably missing is Amy Adams, "The Master", who is a perennial Oscar contender.

The SAG's also recognize t.v. actors, and in that division comes the biggest surprises. Juliana Marguiles got another acting nomination, which absolutely floors us, because we've watched "The Good Wife", and we're not sure whatever it is Marguiles is doing could be considered acting... just saying. But the saddest mistake the SAG's made was to continue to overlook Wendie Malick. Bettie White got a nom for "Hot in Cleveland", and as good as Bettie is, it's very obvious that the writers of "Cleveland" give all their best punch-lines to Malick because, well, Malick is the most gifted comedic actor on that show. We're happy for Bettie White, but it's a little ridiculous that a comedic actor of Malick's talent is consistently ignored. Better luck next time, Wendie, or maybe when you're 90!

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