They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don’t They?

SAG and Globes Upend Wacky Oscar Race

By J. Don Birnam

December 10, 2015

Who is this Birdman and how can we reveal his secret identity?

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The SAG and the Golden Globe nominations threw the already-muddled Oscar race into further confusion with their eyebrow raising set of nominations in the last couple of days. Some races are completely muddled and up for grabs, while others are starting to take shape. And there are some clear winners and some clear losers in the last few days, which we will look at today.

Given everything that has happened, here are our updated power rankings for the major races.

In Best Picture, Spotlight is taking a strong lead.
In Best Director, another Picture/Director split is in the works, with the Mad Max and Carol directors ahead of Spotlight.
In Best Actor, Leo is solidly ahead, but the other spots remain a mystery.
In Best Actress, the spots seem to be congealing, despite SAG’s crazy nominations.
In Best Supporting Actor, Rylance, Stallone, and Elba will battle it out til the end.
And, in Best Supporting Actress, category confusion is wreaking the most havoc.

SAG: Irreverent or Irrelevant?

SAG Nominations for Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture:

Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton
Trumbo




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If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the chaos as it developed. We should have known something was up when Michael Shannon made it into the supporting category, whereas the Spotlight men were nowhere to be found. Then, Rachel McAdams got into supporting for Spotlight, along with Helen Mirren, for Trumbo. That was just bizarre. But it didn’t stop there. Sarah Silverman got in to lead actress for I Smile Back, and Dame Helen found another nomination for The Weinstein Company’s Woman in Gold. At that point, Bryan Cranston’s lead actor nomination was almost an afterthought.

But the Screen Actors Guild saved the best for last. Their best ensemble nominations, listed above, were completely out of left field. The Internet had an immediate meltdown (no one likes unpredictability), although I for one welcome some of their choices. Unsurprisingly, I failed, with an F, my SAG predictions exam, getting only Spotlight right, and missing every other nominee, including my prediction of a Creed upset. It went nowhere.

In any case, I think, all five of the nominated movies are deserving, and there's nothing wrong with branching out. On the other hand, some of the acting choices are truly bizarre. As much as I love McAdams, to include her but not Ruffalo and/or Keaton for Spotlight is confusing, and it does make one wonder if the movie has the Ensemble prize sewn up or if it's going to lose to The Big Short. And as much as I love Dame Helen, her Woman in Gold performance was not as showy as Jennifer Lawrence’s in Joy.

It was also great that they gave Netflix’s bid at upending the awards race forever a shot in the arm by giving two nods to Beasts of No Nation, including Best Ensemble. But, if they liked it so much, why not recognize the lead, Abraham Atta? On the other hand, it is a shame that a solid movie like Creed could not make it in, and one wonders if this imperils Stallone’s supporting actor bid.


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