The Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, is very often a more accurate representation of true acting prowess than are the Oscars, and they have announced the recipients of their annual awards. The reason they tend to be more accurate is that it is actors nominating and voting on actors. And who should know better than your contemporaries and peers? Although one wonders if it is only serious actors who are allowed to vote, and whether Rob Schneider and his ilk have a part to play here as well. Which would be kind of like Eddie “1/8″ Gaedel being asked to pick the greatest baseball player of his era. I assume many of you are unfamiliar with Eddie Gaedel. If you really want to look up my obscure reference, check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Gaedel . Anyway, I have culled the list down to only those categories I care about. Because otherwise I will spend a lot of time irritating myself.
Category: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees: GEORGE CLOONEY / Michael Clayton – “Michael Clayton”, DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Daniel Plainview – “There Will Be Blood”, RYAN GOSLING / Lars Lindstrom – “Lars And The Real Girl”, EMILE HIRSCH / Christopher McCandless– “Into The Wild”, VIGGO MORTENSEN / Nikolai – “Eastern Promises”
Winner: Daniel Day Lewis.
Verdict: The more I hear about There Will Be Blood, the more I want to see it. Daniel Day Lewis is like the modern Marlon Brando – he takes a movie once every five years, and every time he does, he’s the best actor on Earth. Apparently for his role as Bill The Butcher in the Scorcese flick Gangs of New York, he actually spent time learning how to butcher meat with a real butcher. That’s dedication to one’s craft, especially once you see the movie and you think “why would he bother doing that for such a small part of his role?” I think he’s likely a shoo-in for the Oscar and whatever else there is to grab this year.
Category: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees: CATE BLANCHETT / Queen Elizabeth I – “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”, JULIE CHRISTIE / Fiona – “Away From Her”, MARION COTILLARD / Edith Piaf – “La Vie En Rose”, ANGELINA JOLIE / Mariane Pearl – “A Mighty Heart”, ELLEN PAGE / Juno MacGuff – “Juno”.
Winner: Julie Christie.
Verdict: Well deserved. Julie Christie really did give the best performance of the year as an alzheimer’s patient in Away From Her. Gordon Pinsent seems to have been shut out of all the best actor categories in all the award shows though, and I thought he did as good a job as Christie in this film. I would have liked to see Naomi Watts nominated here also, for Eastern Promises. She was fantastic.
Category: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: CASEY AFFLECK / Robert Ford – “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford”, JAVIER BARDEM / Anton Chigurh – “No Country For Old Men”, HAL HOLBROOK / Ron Franz – “Into The Wild”, TOMMY LEE JONES / Ed Tom Bell – “No Country For Old Men”, TOM WILKINSON / Arthur Edens – “Michael Clayton”.
Winner: Javier Bardem.
Verdict: I would really have liked to see Armin Mueller-Stahl nominated for Eastern Promises, and I would also have liked to see him win. Javier Bardem seems to have all the buzz around him, and I expect he will win at Oscar time also. I will hold off judgement until I see No Countr For Old Men. Which is next on my to-do list.
Category: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: CATE BLANCHETT / Jude – “I’m Not There”, RUBY DEE / Mama Lucas – “American Gangster”, CATHERINE KEENER / Jan Burres – “Into The Wild”, AMY RYAN / Helene McCready – “Gone Baby Gone”, TILDA SWINTON / Karen Crowder – “Michael Clayton”.
Winner: Ruby Dee.
Verdict: Once again, comedies are under-represented in the major acting awards. You just can’t be funny AND really good. Although I would have liked to see some love for McLovin, or for Paul Rudd in Knocked Up. Even Katherine Heigl could have merited consideration for that one. Oh, right. This category. Ruby Dee was terrific in American Gangster, but she was so overshadower by Denzel, and he was not nominated anywhere. Maybe because he already got his gangster Oscar for Training Day. I think this was a pretty weak category this year.
Category: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominees: 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Hairspray, Into the Wild, No Country For Old Men.
Winner: No Country For Old Men.
Verdict: No quibbles with the choice of the winner, but these nominations? Come on. Hairspray? John Travolta in a fat suit? No. 3:10 to Yuma? No. There were two great actors in that movie, Crowe and Bale, and that’s it. Even Peter Fonda was a little cartoonish. American Gangster yes. Fantastic cast. But where was Eastern Promises? I don’t think I have seen such a solid cast in a long time.
That’s it for the movie stuff. The rest was all TV, and I just didn’t watch enough TV to care. But I had to add these next two categories in, just for sheer amazement factor:
Best stunt ensemble for a TV series: 24. Here are the stunt men and women:
* Stunt Coordinator
Best stunt ensemble for a motion picture: The Bourne Ultimatum. Here are the stunt men and women:
My Rachid Abbad
Brian Keith Allen
Roy T. Anderson
Luis Miguel Arranz
George Colucci, Jr.
Benito Benitez Crespo
Eugenio Jimenez Cubillo
J. Patrick Daily
Juan Carlos Delgado
George R. Doering Iii
Cort Hessler Iii
Donald J. Hewitt
Don Hewitt, Sr.
John E. Mack
Milesy (Peter) Miles
Brian Sonny Nickels
Jesus Silva Pascasio
Ignacio Garcia J. Sanchis
Craig “Frosty” Silva
Tony Van Silva
Peter B. Simpson
Alberto Zapata Tatje
Donna C. Williams