Sunday, January 31, 2016

PASSION AND REPETITION AT THE 2016 SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS

Everyone made impassioned speeches. Leo won, and got one step closer to his long overdue Oscar. Idris Elba won two Actors. Priyanka Chopra toned down her fake accent. The cast of DOWNTON did it again. And with Spotlight winning the ensemble award, I got eight out of thirteen predictions correct. Here’s a look at what else went down at the SAG Awards last night.


It was hardly a night of surprises, with several repeat winners in the TV categories, and Leonardo DiCaprio winning for The Revenant. However, it was far from dull. I always enjoy the SAGs, with all the camaraderie between the actors when they get together to celebrate each other’s work every year. And the tradition of opening the evening with anecdotes by a random selection of actors always sets the tone for a nice, fun evening. I particularly enjoyed this year’s selection. Jeffrey Tambor, Kunal Nayyar and Rami Malek were pretty cool.

It’s possible that the absence of a host or an emcee lowers the chances of disappointment, but it’s also true that with no host, the entire burden of entertaining us is on the presentations. And I thought the writer did a decent job of putting together those bits for the presenters. Not all of them were outstandingly hilarious though. For instance, I didn’t see the point in Sarah Silverman slapping on the fake mustache. But I found it really endearing the way Jason Bateman revealed the winner by saying, “Get up here, dad,” calling out to Tambor, his former on-screen dad from ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. There was a lot of passion in the presentations too. What started with Queen Latifah’s anecdote in the beginning (“I’ve been told I’m not thin enough, I’m not white enough, I’m not man enough. Damn it, I am enough!), was carried forward by those who were presenting the films nominated for ensemble cast. And then the winners took it forward using the stage as a platform to voice their support for various causes. The cast of Spotlight spoke about the abuse in the Catholic Church. Jeffrey Tambor dedicated his award to those transgender people who can’t afford to transition to the genders they identify with. Lesley Nicol, speaking on behalf of the cast of DOWNTON ABBEY spoke passionately about working on the final season of the show, and thanked America for welcoming them with open arms. Alicia Vikander’s speech made note of how an actor’s work is a product of collaboration. But I thought Uzo Aduba’s speech, inspiring young aspiring actors to continue to strive towards being able to be at a show like the SAGs, was particularly good. My favorite speech was Leo's though, especially the part where he thanked his parents for letting him go for auditions after school as a thirteen-year-old-boy. 

Among the winners, I was happy to see DOWNTON ABBEY win again, but sad to see the cast of MAD MEN not up there, or even Jon Hamm. Aside from Jeffrey Tambor for TRANSPARENT, and the miniseries/TV movie categories, all other TV recipients were last year’s winners. So that was not very exciting or new. Spotlight’s ensemble cast win doesn’t make it any easier to guess which film will win the Oscar for best picture. But I think one can safely say that Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson will win this year.

I thought it was well put-together show, appropriately paced, and I particularly loved the audio-visual of actors playing actors. Even the lifetime achievement presentation didn’t seem like the drag it sometimes is. I actually liked Carol Burnett’s speech and how she spoke about comedy TV being a man’s domain. It was also good to see a woman—Demi Moore—presenting the award for best ensemble in a motion picture, since usually best-picture-equivalent awards are generally presented by men. Now I would like to see maybe Meryl Streep presenting the Oscar for best picture next month.

Here are all the SAG Awards 2016 winners (the ** indicate my predictions):

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
DOWNTON ABBEY
GAME OF THRONES
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN**

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
THE BIG BANG THEORY
KEY & PEELE
MODERN FAMILY
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
TRANSPARENT
VEEP

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, GAME OF THRONES
Jon Hamm, MAD MEN**
Rami Malek, MR. ROBOT
Bob Odenkirk, BETTER CALL SAUL
Kevin Spacey, HOUSE OF CARDS

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, HOMELAND
Viola Davis, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER**
Julianna Margulies, THE GOOD WIFE
Maggie Smith, DOWNTON ABBEY
Robin Wright, HOUSE OF CARDS

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, MODERN FAMILY
Louis C.K., LOUIE
William H. Macy, SHAMELESS
Jim Parsons, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Jeffrey Tambor, TRANSPARENT**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
Edie Falco, NURSE JACKIE
Ellie Kemper, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VEEP
Amy Poehler, PARKS AND RECREATION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Idris Elba, LUTHER
Ben Kingsley, TUT
Ray Liotta, TEXAS RISING
Bill Murray, A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS
Mark Rylance, WOLF HALL**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, GRACE OF MONACO**
Queen Latifah, BESSIE
Christina Ricci, THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES
Susan Sarandon, THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE
Kristen Wiig, THE SPOILS BEFORE DYING

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Spotlight**
Straight Outta Compton
Trumbo

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant**
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room**
Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl**

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

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