This has been a year for actors and ensemble casts, especially at the end. I don’t think anyone would argue that 2008 was a sparse selection all the way around. Oscar season has, so far, been somewhat quiet and that’s to do with, I think, many people not seeing the movies that are winning awards, even Slumdog Millionaire has been hard to see if you don’t live in or near a major city — hell, if they want to stop illegal downloading, how about making the movie available for all to see in a timely manner? It has resulted in muted chatter, which the studios are probably happy about, but it has also made it somewhat damp. Expect things to start heating up and one of the ways they will do that is with tomorrow’s SAG nominations. Bright and early we’ll be hearing whom the Screen Actors Guild believe have done the best work this year. With Frost/Nixon, Doubt, Revolutionary Road, Benjamin Button, it really has been a hell of a year for bravura and ensemble work.
Last year, the SAG ensemble only nominated one film for ensemble that went on to be named Best Picture, No Country for Old Men. The SAG rule tends to be, if there is only one person or film in the category who was also nominated for an Oscar, they’re winning the SAG. No Country was no exception, despite predictions that Hairspray might take it.
This year, we can probably also expect surprises here or there. But for the most part, I will be shocked if these films aren’t nominated for ensemble:
If they are trying to mirror Oscar (they have made repeated statements that they do not, especially with their ensemble vote, which explains last year clusterfuck) it will be Slumdog – but which film does it replace? I don’t see them going for Slumdog, though, since that is one of the few movies of the year, along with The Dark Knight perhaps and Wall-E that is director-driven. It could be any number of films — Rachel Getting Married would be a great choie for this, Changeling maybe, and Burn After Reading (in a perfect world), Osborne, Osborne Cox. Any of these could turn up.
Revolutionary Road is the film that needs the support of the actors. That is its best shot as the thing is drenched with the art of acting, particularly theater acting.
Finally, if it’s The Dark Knight, that should be the first inkling that the Bat is headed for the Kodak. I’m going to err on the side of caution and say it won’t be nominated by the actors (Heath will). So here are my predictions based on nothing much. I’m sure our resident actor, Paul Outlaw, will have a better grasp of how the pesky actors will vote. Please let me know what your predictions are.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Brad Pitt, Benjamin Button OR Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Cate Blanchett, Benjamin Button
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Kristin Scott Thomas and Sally Hawkins are wild cards. I do think everyone wants Brad and Angie at their show – I just don’t know which actress to drop since the SAG tends to be about who “deserves” it. That’s why I think Leo might present herself here. But of course, nobody knows anything.
Viola Davis, Doubt
Amy Adams, Doubt
Kathy Bates, Revolutionary Road
Taraji P. Henson, Benjamin Button
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina
Philly Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, Dark Knight
Josh Brolin, Milk
Michael Shannon, Rev Road
Robert Downey, Jr. Tropic Thunder
Ensemble is already listed above.