The biggest film surprises and snubs from the 2020 SAG Awards nominations
In awards season, you’re either in or you’re out, and the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations pushed the competitive divide deeper on Wednesday morning. EW has gauged the industry union’s annual crop of nominees, so read on for a full list of the biggest snubs and surprises among the 2020 SAG Awards’ film nominees.
The Bong Hive is buzzing in the film industry! SAG is the latest pre-Oscar awards body to elevate Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece, with the union bestowing a major (well-deserved) nomination upon the drama’s 11-strong ensemble cast. With support from the biggest Hollywood union (one with the highest rate of Academy crossover membership), the film’s Oscar prospects are looking super peachy.
Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy
Warner Bros. typically lands a lone supporting actor into the Oscar race (Sam Elliott in A Star Is Born, Sylvester Stallone in Creed, Robert Duvall in The Judge, etc.), and the studio’s surprise SAG nominee Jamie Foxx (who gives an arresting performance as wrongfully accused prisoner Walter McMillian in Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy) could ride this morning’s guild-given momentum into the Academy’s wheelhouse.
Nicole Kidman, Bombshell
Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie have thus far reaped the most precursor support for Jay Roach’s dramatization of the Fox News/Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal, but Nicole Kidman made a late breaking entry into the supporting actress race for her snappy performance as broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson.
Taron Egerton, Rocketman (sort of)
SAG’s nominating committee typically votes way earlier than most awards bodies, and, given Rocketman‘s success at the box office early in the year, a SAG Award nomination was always in the cards for the Welsh actor’s portrayal of pop icon Elton John (SAG is known for one-off nominations for commercial-leaning projects that often go nowhere else in the race). As other (SAG-snubbed) contenders like Robert De Niro and Adam Sandler have risen around him in far buzzier titles, Egerton’s ability to break through the crowded Best Actor field is still an impressive testament to the performance’s power.
Surprise AND snub
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Ms. Bates’ performance as the mother of the real-life security guard unjustly persecuted for a terrorist attack he didn’t commit stormed the race upon winning the National Board of Review‘s Best Supporting Actress prize (and scoring a Golden Globe nomination) in recent weeks, and she was expected to show up here as well. Reports that the Oscar-winning actress was mistakenly submitted to SAG’s nominating committee in the lead category instead of supporting (a representative for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to EW’s request for clarification) likely complicated things. Still, it’s unwise to count Bates out of the race at large over what appears to have been an unfortunate mixup.
Marriage Story‘s ensemble
It’s quite rare for SAG to nominate three of one film’s actors — here, leads Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and supporting standout Laura Dern — only to pass it over in the big category. Given the size and strength of the Marriage Story cast beyond these three, it seemed like a natural fit for a wider SAG embrace. Given that it missed out, it’s a sign that while this is still a strong Oscar player, it’s a tier below the frontrunner space occupied by the likes of The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Knives Out‘s ensemble
Rian Johnson’s star-studded whodunit had been an unexpectedly strong player on the circuit these last few weeks — finding love from AFI, NBR, and the HFPA — but probably needed a SAG boost to be considered a serious Best Picture player. It’s hard to think of a cast this year more tailor-made for this award.
Little Women needed a bounce from its Golden Globe misses, and didn’t get it. This puts Greta Gerwig’s period film squarely in the danger zone when it comes to Oscar recognition. Its strong showing at Critics’ Choice indicates there is support for the movie, and the fact that SAG gave it nothing shows that maybe it just didn’t get seen by enough in time. But so far, the industry isn’t recognizing Little Women where it counts.
Robert De Niro, The Irishman
De Niro also needed a bounce from his Golden Globe snub and, similarly, didn’t get it. Best Actor seems to get more muddled and competitive by the day, which only hurts a performance like De Niro’s, which while well-received has been carried through thus far on The Irishman’s overall strength. In such a tough year, that may not be enough.
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
On the other side of this messy Best Actor equation is Adam Sandler, who may be fading as a serious possibility for a nomination. Having missed both SAG and Golden Globe, and without a top-contending movie to push him through, he’ll need a very strong few weeks of buzz and campaigning to stand out.
Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
SAG likes to go for big, more commercially-leaning movies, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Lulu Wang’s intimate indie The Farewell missing out. But it’s not a great sign, either, especially when in Best Actress, Saoirse Ronan feels like a more immediate corrective than Awkwafina, and in Supporting Actress, likely nominee Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) was supposedly erroneously made ineligible for a SAG nom. (She was allegedly submitted here in Lead Actress by mistake, though, as mentioned above, a studio representative did not immediately confirm the report). There’s a lot of love for these performances, but will that be enough to carry them through?
Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
After Netflix’s huge show at the Golden Globes, the streamer got a little humbled by SAG, not least becauseThe Two Popes was totally blanked. This one has been on a roller-coaster ride all season — having been snubbed by Critics’ Choice and others, too — and with both of its beloved actors ignored here, it’s reached another low point on the trail. And time is running out to climb up again.
Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
There is not a world in which the black-and-white weirdness of The Lighthouse would be a fit with the always populist SAG. But Willem Dafoe is so admired by his peers that this would have been an important stop on his Best Supporting Actor campaign. Then again, he missed out last year at SAG for his lead play At Eternity’s Gate, only to be an Oscar noms morning surprise. That could be in the cards again.