My Choices For This Year’s SAG Awards

Just finished voting in the SAG Awards. Nominated films (and, to a lesser degree, television shows) were really all over the map this year. At least one of the movies was just bad, bad, bad. Another was a very ugly piece of cinema that I hope never to see again. Some of the nominated performers phoned it in, while other performances were laughable (and not in a good way).

But there were a few gems. Here are the people who got my votes…

    I liked Demián Bichir’s performance so much in A Better Life, I think he blew his fellow nominees out of the water. I didn’t care for this year’s nominated work of George Clooney & Leonardo DiCaprio, although I will readily admit that they both have really good roles under their belt in previous films. I did like Jean Dujardin in The Artist, and I thought Brad Pitt gave one of his most naturalistic performances in Moneyball, but as good as they were, I felt they just didn’t have the depth that Bichir brought to his part.


    As for Meryl Streep — well, who doesn’t love her? The title of “our finest living actress” can easily be uttered by many without feeling silly for saying so. Certainly she’s done some fine work over the years — although her early career, for my money, is far more impressive than her later career. However, a big part of that is the roles that she’s been offered. These days, it’s what she does with the roles she gets that impresses me. So while her performance in The Iron Lady will not go down as one of the highlights of her career, it’s still flawless. And as far as I’m concerned, she has no legitimate competition in her category.


    The nominees contain 3 legendary thespians, 1 up-and-comer, and 1 whose nomination for any acting award should give one pause. (See if you can figure out who’s who. 😉 ) I gave this one to Nick Nolte, who gave the most solid performance, even though it’s a role he’s worn so often, it’s probably as comfortable for him as putting on a favorite pair of blue jeans.


    My vote here was going to go to Bérénice Bejo for The Artist, because she’s great in it, and quite charming, but at the last minute, I switched positions and marked down Jessica Chastain’s name. The Help, from my perspective, was a bit overwrought and heavy-handed, and some of the acting was a little stagey, but Chastain really brought something special to a role that didn’t demand much. She made her character stand out in a way that I doubt the writer or director ever intended or imagined — and that’s pretty damned amazing.


    Why they call this “Ensemble” when it’s for TV, but “Cast” when it’s for film, I don’t know. Again, it’s tempting to go with The Artist — but I think that story was more about two people, and the rest of the ensemble— sorry, cast — served little more purpose than set dressing. Besides that, although I thought it was a lovely little film, I also think The Artist has been over-hyped. No, I was impressed with the many wonderful actors in the supporting cast of Midnight In Paris. They were all so well-cast in their roles, and brought life to them in a way that made the whole of the film work so much better than it would have otherwise.


    My TV choices are very similar to the way I voted last year: Bryan Cranston, Julianna Margulies, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Dexter, and Modern Family. (And I missed three of the nominated performances in the TV movie/miniseries category, but I think I saw enough to know that Paul Giamatti and Maggie Smith are pretty solid choices.) The categories I always feel a bit out of my depth in when voting are the “Stunt Ensemble” categories, since I’m not a stuntperson; but I know what stunts I’ve seen that have looked cool — and so when it came to stunt work, I voted for X-Men: First Class and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.

The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards air live this Sunday, January 29th, at 8e/5p on both TBS and TNT. I won’t be there in person, but I managed to reserve a spot at the SAG Headquarters here in LA — the first time I’ve watched them there — which should be fun.

What were some of your favorite performances of the year? I’m sure we may not agree on everything — lots of cinematic product seemed to lack a clear consensus from the public — but I’d like to hear your thoughts!

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