As we’ve been saying, this awards season is wide open. But with the SAG nominations landing today, we’re finally starting to get a picture of what the Oscar race really looks like. For instance, The Power of the Dog, a favorite frontrunner since it hit the festival circuit last year, might not be such a sure thing, as it failed to secure a Best Ensemble nomination. Of course, the Oscars have ten Best Picture nominees, and the SAGs only five Best Ensemble nominees, but it’s interesting that Dog suddenly looks even a little bit vulnerable.
Also looking vulnerable is Kristen Stewart, another frontrunner since the festival circuit. She didn’t get nominated for Spencer, instead, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Hudson got nominations. Rounding out the Best Actress nominations are the more expected inclusions of Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, and Lady Gaga.
Speaking of Lady Gaga, House of Gucci got three nominations—adding Jared Leto and an Ensemble nod—tying it for the most nominations on the film side with The Power of the Dog (for Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Benedict Cumberbatch).
Perhaps the most surprising category is Best Supporting Actor, which besides going for Jared Leto’s nonsense in Gucci, also recognized Bradley Cooper’s brief but memorable turn as Jon Peters in Licorice Pizza, and Ben Affleck’s career-high performance in The Tender Bar. All that campaigning is paying off! Another great inclusion is Troy Kotsur for his work in CODA. I’m not as high on that film as some, but it’s hard to argue against what Kotsur and Marlee Matlin, who was not nominated, are doing.
Also announced today are the long lists for the upcoming BAFTA nominations. There’s a hefty chunk of membership crossover between the British Academy and AMPAS, so this provides even more context for awards season. West Side Story and No Time To Die lead the long lists, though the Brits are more apt to recognize Bond than AMPAS is (back in 2007, they nominated Daniel Craig for Best Actor on the back of Casino Royale, the first time an actor was nominated for a BAFTA for playing Bond). Though if AMPAS is ever going to acknowledge the Craig-era of Bond, it would be now, Return of the King-style.
House of Gucci also has a strong showing on the BAFTA lists, indicating its odds for multiple Oscar nominations are going up. Don’t Look Up is also in heavy rotation, and it scored a SAG ensemble nod, so, ugh, we’re probably dealing with that movie all awards season. Also looking good are Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, and Belfast, which also scored a SAG ensemble nod, restoring some of its Oscar sheen after disappointing box office took some of the wind out of its sails. Notably, though, Jamie Dornan is a SAG snub, so his peers might not have forgiven him for Fifty Shades yet—nor Dakota Johnson, also overlooked for The Lost Daughter.
We’re still two and a half months out from the Oscars. There’s plenty of time for things to change, but awards season is starting to take shape. We probably shouldn’t assume The Power of the Dog is an invincible frontrunner, though it remains a heavy favorite. West Side Story didn’t make a strong showing at SAG, but it will likely excel in craft categories, making it a big Oscar presence. Ditto for Dune and Belfast. Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Denzel Washington remain the Best Actor leaders, but Andrew Garfield is looking more and more solid as a nominee for tick, tick…BOOM! Kristen Stewart is vulnerable for Best Actress, but Kirsten Dunst is looking good for a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Even as the race starts clarify, we’re still in for a wild awards season.
Check out the full list of SAG nominees here.