January 30, 2012


With a game-changing set of results at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, the upcoming Oscars become even more unpredictable. TV TALK discusses why…

The Actor
It always makes me feel good to see the first few minutes of the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs), where random actors from the audience share with the camera an anecdote from their lives or careers and conclude by saying, “I’m XYZ, and I’m an actor!” The sense of camaraderie and the unity within the acting community that one sees at the SAGs can be seen nowhere else. It’s heartwarming to see even the winners paying some sort of a tribute, big or small, to actors and their community, in their acceptance speeches. They all feel a sense of pride when their names are called at the end of the sentence that starts with “And the Actor goes to…” That’s the magic of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and this year was no different.

The Help wins Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
The SAGs may not be a strong indicator of which film will win Best Picture at the Oscars, like the Golden Globes are, but they still set the graphs and statistics rolling around for or against individual acting contenders at the Academy Awards. That is because the big award is given to the acting ensemble and not the film; which is why while Inglourious Basterds wasn’t really going to win the Oscar for Best Picture, it still won big at the SAGs. However, this year, The Help, which won Best Ensemble Cast, cannot be completely ruled out from the Oscars race for Best Picture. In fact, with the Oscars going with less obvious choices (like The Hurt Locker as opposed to Avatar in 2010, and The King’s Speech as opposed to The Social Network last year), the Best Picture Oscar becomes even less predictable with the results of the SAGs. Moreover, the last time that the Academy selected a musical or comedy as Best Picture over a drama was way back in 2002-03, when Chicago won. And this year, the Golden Globe Best Picture winners, The Descendants and The Artist have both had enough mileage for both to be equal contenders for the Oscars Best Picture. And now, The Help’s win at the SAGs doesn’t put any of those two forward in the race; in fact, it levels the playing field even further.

Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer's chances at the Oscars are solidified
Moreover, the SAG results in the acting categories have put the Best Actor and Best Actress results at the Oscars in a more 50/50 situation, with both George Clooney (The Descendants) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist) having won Best Actor at the Globes and the SAGs, and both Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) and Viola Davis (The Help) having won Best Actress Drama at the Globes and Best Actress at the SAGs, respectively. The race for the Academy’s next Best Actor and Best Actress has not been this unpredictable in the last so many years. On the other hand, the fact that Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) having won the supporting acting awards at both, the Globes and the SAGs, solidifies their spots as the Academy’s next Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively.

MODERN FAMILY wins Best Ensemble in a Television Series Comedy
Moving on to the television awards at the SAGs, to put it plainly, there was nothing worth writing home about. Both BOARDWALK EMPIRE and MODERN FAMILY winning Best Ensemble Cast in a Series, Drama and Comedy, respectively, for the second consecutive time was still understood. Maybe even Actor and Actress Drama going to Steve Buscemi and Jessica Lange was fine, considering that he’s been consistently good on BOARDWALK EMPIRE, and that she won a Globe for her role in AMERICAN HORROR STORY. However, giving Betty White her second consecutive win for HOT IN CLEVELAND and Alec Baldwin his sixth consecutive win for 30 ROCK for Actor and Actress Comedy, respectively, makes one think that the Guild doesn’t think that there have been any worthy performers other than them who are more deserving. For Actor Comedy, at least, while gems like Jim Parsons (THE BIG BANG THEORY), Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet (both, MODERN FAMILY) have not been given a chance, even less likely winners, like Jon Cryer (TWO AND A HALF MEN) and Neil Patrick Harris (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), have been ignored completely!

However, even as the results in the television
categories at the SAGs have almost been
disappointing, the Screen Actors Guild Awards
have heated up the race for the Oscars even
more, making the entire Award Season 2011-12
even more exciting. And as the Oscars come
closer, we’ll all be waiting with bated breath…  

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