Thursday, December 17, 2009

SAG Nominations - Shaloub, Renner get some love; Arquette is back in contention!

NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O'Donnell and Mission: Impossible III star Michelle Monaghan announced the nominees for the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards, to be aired January 23 on TNT. A lot of the nominations are an echo of the Golden Globes nods revealed 2 days ago, but there are some returning favorites, too. (Yeah, Patricia! Go Medium!!!)

Male actor in a drama series:
Simon Baker, "The Mentalist"
Brian Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Good for Brian Cranston - he was sidelined from this category at the Golden Globes, presumably by Bill Paxton in "Big Love," so it's nice to see the SAG voters seat him at the table. Simon Baker is really charming and has some moments of real depth on "The Mentalist," but in this crowd that won't be enough. The last few episodes of Mad Men allowed Hamm to shone bright as he broke down Don Draper; it could be his year. Oh, but Michael C. Hall - Dexter really had some stuff to deal with this season, and Hall managed to balance the brutality with vulnerability.

Female actor in a drama series: (A tie, so six nominees)
Patricia Arquette, "Medium"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
This has got to be my favorite category this year! I don't see Holly Hunter or Mariska Hargitay making waves, but the return of Patricia Arquette to the fold brings me great joy. Especially so, given there are 6 nominees in the running and only 1 is from a new show. She totally kept someone out! That's awesome. Juliana Margulies has a lot of support from her "E.R." days, and her performance on The Good Wife is layered and strong. Sedgwick and Close wear their roles like old shoes - both very nuanced but never over the top. I honestly don't know how the voters will choose, but Sedgwick has been a bridesmaid many times. It's time she caught the bouquet.

Ensemble in a drama series:
"The Closer"
"The Good Wife"
"Mad Men"
"True Blood"
It boggles the mind to wonder why "The Closer" hasn't won this category yet, but "Mad Men" makes it difficult. Dexter had a phenominal season, and they really seemed to find cohesion with the addition of Lithgow as the central adversary. What a wonderful reward and perfect conclusion to the season.

Female actor in a comedy series:
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"
Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
It feels like a lifetime ago that "Samantha Who?" was on the air. Not sure voters will remember either, but it's nice to see Applegate get a shout out from her peers. Fey could three-peat, but I think that it's tough to defeat a cable star with multiple personality disorder. Toni Collette for the win, unless Edie Falco and her dry-witted Nurse Jackie steal her thunder. Either way, the reign of Fey shall fall.

Male actor in a comedy series:
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"
It's Shaloub's last season as the character that once won him 3 Emmys, 2 SAGs and 1 Golden Globe in the last 8 years. Alec Baldwin could repeat, but he shouldn't. Monk was an iconic tour-de-force of comedic quirks and heartfelt performances, and Shaloub deserves the win.

Ensembles in a comedy series:
"30 Rock"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Modern Family"
"The Office"

30 Rock is the incumbent, but this year cries for new blood. It would be lovely to see the cast of "Glee" take the stage, but that maybe a little hopeful. Modern Family is breathing new life into the comedy sitcom format, and it is really an ensemble success. Either way, it's out with the old and in with the new.

Male actor in a TV miniseries:
Kevin Bacon, "Taking Chance"
Cuba Gooding Jr., "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story"
Jeremy Irons, "Georgia O'Keeffe"
Kevin Kline, "Great Performances: Cyrano de Bergerac"
Tom Wilkinson, "A Number"
What a crazy category. Look at all the talent! 3 Oscar winners... I saw Taking Chance on HBO - Kevin Bacon really gave an understated performance. I like what roles he is throwing himself into these days. Cuba Gooding Jr. did Ben Carson proud, but I am thinking Jeremy Irons, or Kevin Kline by a nose...

Female actor in a TV miniseries:
Joan Allen, "Georgia O'Keeffe"
Drew Barrymore, "Grey Gardens"
Ruby Dee, "America"
Jessica Lang, "Grey Gardens"
Sigourney Weaver, "Prayers for Bobby"
Jessica Lang took this category this year at the Emmy's; I fully expect a repeat performance.

Male supporting actor in a movie:
Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
Waltz will blow your mind if you let him. He's a safe bet to double down on, although Stanley Tucci in "Bones" was as measured and unsettling a performance as there ever was.

Female supporting actor in a movie:
Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Diane Kruger, "Inglourious Basterds"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Mo'Nique wins this. No contest. Unless the voters are taking crazy pills. Her performance was leveled, but that one scene opposite Mariah Carey is truly affecting.

Male lead actor in a movie:
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"
I reserve judgement until I see "Crazy Heart" and "A Single Man."

Female lead actress in a movie:
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"
This is a tough call. Sandra vs. Meryl was enough, but you factor in the formidable Helen Mirren and the ground swell of support for Sidibe and this race gets tight. History says Streep is the best bet, but its interesting her performance in "Julie & Julia" was one for which she was nominated, and not "It's Complicated"(Complicated's humor was more relatable and Streep was very accessible in the comedic situation comedy). Perhaps the former levels the playing field on which these actresses performances are playing. Guild voters tend to be a sentimental bunch though, so I am going with Bullock - she had 2 strong performances this year, 1 comedy and 1 drama, and versatility is the hallmark of a great actor.

Ensemble in a movie:
"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
This is a contest between "Inglourious Basterds" and "Nine." As much as I love "The Hurt Locker," it's a movie that's emotional resonance depends upon Jeremy Renner's stellar performance and Kathryn Bigelow's seamless direction, and that may not be enough. "Precious" has an eclectic ensemble, featuring a credible Mariah Carey, Paula Patton and Monique's breakout performance. It's unlikely, however, that voters will gravitate to the subtlety behind the substance and the film will lose votes for being a downer. "Nine" boasts director Rob Marshall of "Chicago," as well as Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz singing and dancing - it isn't presumed, but it wouldn't be a shock. "Inglourious" would incite shock and awe - this is a truly ensemble film that demanded cohesion from its cast to work and it did. Not to mention it was vintage Tartantino, featured a matinee idol in Pitt, and entertained a LOT of people. Smart money is on the basterds.

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