Magazine article Variety

Unexpected Titles Get Lift from Globes, SAG Noms

Magazine article Variety

Unexpected Titles Get Lift from Globes, SAG Noms

Article excerpt

Even before there was zero overlap among the major categories awarded by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angles Film Critics Assn., the awards season felt very wide open. Now, with nominations for the SAG Awards and Golden Globes in the bank, that seems even more to be the case.

SAG-AFTRA, for instance, inflated the profile of contenders like "Beasts of No Nation," "Straight Outta Compton" and "Trumbo" with ensemble nominations, while the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn, ignored them for Globes best picture recognition, hewing closer to critical faves like "Carol" and "Mad Max: Fury Road." "The Martian" and "Joy" showed industry weakness, with SAG shutouts, only to turn around and do just fine with the HFPA.

Meanwhile, the Academy - a completely different organization with an entirely different perspective - lies in wait. The only legitimate clues in the lead-up to Oscar nominations every year come from industry guilds and societies, and often, those announced in January (DGA, PGA, etc.) are more noteworthy, as early deadlines keep the SAG Awards in its own unique bubble.

Still, there are notable happenings. For instance, Focus Features' blunder in pushing Alicia Vikander for supporting actress in Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl" couldn't be more evident now. She won the LA. critics supporting prize for "Ex Machina," yet the group refrained from tacking on her work in Hooper's film as part of a collective kudo.

Meanwhile, SAG-AFTRA honors studio choices of categories, so Vikander was nominated there for supporting actress in "The Danish Girl," but the HFPA nominated her twice, for lead in "Danish" and supporting in "Ex Machina." Suddenly her performance in the latter, which Focus likely did not perceive as a threat, has a tailwind. "The Danish Girl" category confusion could lead to further dilution.

While "Carol's" Rooney Mara is likewise nominated for supporting by SAG-AFTRA and for lead by the HFPA, at least she doesn't have a different performance drawing votes away.

Another curiosity is the rise of "99 Homes" star Michael Shannon. Seven years ago, he was a surprise nominee for "Revolutionary Road." This year, he's unexpectedly strong in a supporting actor race that could hardly be more competitive. He won the L.A. critics prize, and went on to net SAG and Globe noms.

Universal, meanwhile, is in an interesting place. "Steve Jobs" failed to pick up SAG ensemble or Golden Globe best picture nominations, while "Straight Outta Compton," as noted, was recognized by the guild. These two very different portraits of pioneers in very different fields had very different box office profiles; "Compton" is the highest-grossing film (domestically) ever directed by a black filmmaker (F. …

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