SAG Award Nominees

The 20th annual SAG awards, which honor both film and television, will be handed out on Saturday, January 18, 2014.

Here are the nominees, along with my commentary. You can also view the list of nominees on


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
Though I've only seen two of these (though I have seen the stage version of August: Osage County), I've seen enough previews and clips of all of these to know that they really do feature an ensemble cast. Of the two that I've seen, my vote is for 12 Years a Slave, but I hope to see the other three nominees by January, at which point I might be singing a different tune. (I mean, how do you not root for Meryl Streep-Julia Roberts (August) fights, or Amy Adams (American Hustle) being amazing, as usual?)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:
No surprise that Hanks and McConaughey received nominations, and I'm so glad that Ejiofor did, too. There's a lot of sentimentality being sent Dern's way, and Whitaker is always praised by his peers. (Ejiofor is the only outsider here; look for this to play into voting.)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
  • Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
With all the buzz surrounding American Hustle and Amy Adams' consistently good work, it's surprising that she wasn't nominated, thought all of these actresses have been receiving praise for their work in this year's films.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Obviously I'm rooting for Fassbender, whose performance in 12 Years a Slave was nothing short of brilliant. I'm also pleased to see Leto's work recognized (though there was little doubt that it would be). Bruhl's nomination is a shock, and likely took a slot some thought (and hoped) would go Bradley Cooper for his work in American Hustle. Not to get too gruesome, but I wonder if Gandolfini, who was, to be sure, a fine actor, would have been nominated if he was still alive.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
  • June Squibb, Nebraska
  • Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
What's so interesting about the nominees in this category is that awards darling Lawrence is the only American Hustle actor to be singled out for an award. Is her performance that stellar, is the field of supporting actresses that weak or do fellow actors love her that much? My guess is it's a combination of the first and last. I'm thrilled to see newbie Nyong'o nominated, and I'll be rooting for her throughout the season.

    Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:
    • Boardwalk Empire
    • Breaking Bad
    • Downton Abbey
    • Game of Thrones
    • Homeland
    What can I say? This is a terrific field, even if there is a gross omission in House of Cards. Bravo to all the casts. Perhaps we should give a slight edge to Breaking Bad since we recently said goodbye to the series?

    Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
    • 30 Rock
    • Arrested Development
    • The Big Bang Theory
    • Modern Family
    • Veep
    Veep! Word. No Parks and Recreation. Boo.

    Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series:
    • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
    • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
    • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
    • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
    • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
    Nothing against the other nominees (especially the outstanding Spacey in the superlative House of Cards) but we all agree this goes to Cranston, right?

    Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series:
    • Claire Danes, Homeland
    • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
    • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
    • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
    • Kerry Washington, Scandal
    Note that because there is not a separate category for featured actors, those typically in the supporting category, like recent Emmy winner, Gunn, are going head-to-head with lead actresses, like perennial favorite Danes. It might also be the reason that the stunning Robin Wright is not nominated for House of Cards.

    Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series:
    • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
    • Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
    • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
    • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
    • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
    Um... I don't know. I do love Phil Dunphy, so perhaps it's Burrell's turn.

    Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:
    • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
    • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
    • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
    • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
    So of course I'm thrilled that Louis-Dreyfus is nominated, because Veep is hilarious and she's absolutely terrific. But I'm bummed that Amy Poehler, so good on Parks and Recreation, is left out of the race.

    Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
    • Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra 
    • Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
    • Jeremy Irons, The Hollow Crown
    • Rob Lowe, Killing Kennedy
    • Al Pacino, Phil Spector
    For yet another year, I have no dog in this fight. Douglas took home the Emmy, so I suppose he's the prohibitive favorite.

    Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie of Miniseries:
    • Angela Bassett, Betty and Coretta
    • Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
    • Holly Hunter, Top of the Lake
    • Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
    • Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
    Congratulations to all the nominees.

    Honors for Stunt Ensemble

    Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
    • All is Lost
    • Fast and Furious 6
    • Lone Survivor
    • Rush
    • The Wolverine
    I like that the SAG Awards recognize stunt work.

    Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
    • Boardwalk Empire
    • Breaking Bad
    • Game of Thrones
    • Homeland
    • The Walking Dead

    And those are the SAG Award nominees. Tune into TBS or TNT on January 18 to see who wins and which stars will introduce themselves as actors at the top of the show. View the list of nominees at

    By the way, The Wolf of Wall Street was left out because Martin Scorsese and the studio couldn't deliver screeners to nominators in time. This is important to note because SAG nominations are usually a good indicator of Oscar acting nominations, since it's much the same voting bloc.