To continue with this years awards last night saw the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) ceremony take place. The awards, which began in 1995 honours actors for both comedy and dramatic performances across film and primetime television.
This year marked the 20th annual SAG Awards. The night kicked off with the film awards.
In the nominations there was some audience disappointment that Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t shortlisted for his film Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio is one actor that is overdue many awards for his work. The film sees him in black comedy territory but honestly as good as he is, his dramatic portrayals are much stronger.
Also, Idris Elba was not nominated for his potrayal of the late Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
The SAGS are so far the only awards to recognise Lee Daniel’s The Butler. Although the film is enjoyable with good performances from Whitaker and its very large cast it just doesn’t feel strong enough to be nominated. Daniel’s two previous films are much stronger despite The Paperboy not being recognised last year.
As an actor McConaughey was once dismissed as just a pretty face. In the last few years, he's gone from strength to strength. Moving away from more commercial and comic roles he's excelled in films such as The Paperboy and Mud. Although McConaughey is a strong contender, its disappointing that Chiwetel Ejiofor was overlooked for 12 Years A Slave. As yet the actors has not picked up an award for his heartbreaking portrayal of Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery.
In the Best Actress category the nominations were: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Judi Dench for Philomena, Meryl Streep for August: Osage County and Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks. American Hustle was not recognised in this category. This seems strange as the acting, in particular its two females leads, is stronger than the actual film and directing. Sandra Bullock is brilliant in Gravity but it feels like the main star of the film is its breathtaking special affects.
Its just standard that Meryl Streep is fantastic in everything but its just a sign that she should be singled out for her really strong and challenging performances. Emma Thompson, who has been snubbed at many awards for her turn as P.L. Travers in Saving Mr Banks gets some well deserved recognition here.
Most deserving of the award, I feel, is Judi Dench. Her portrayal of a woman approached by a journalist to find her long lost son who was taken from her is outstanding. The role should be tragic and at times it is but in Judi Dench you get a varied and depth performance filled with heart, warmth and lots of raw humour.
Predictably the award went to Cate Blancett. The general buzz for awards this years is that Cate Blancett will sweep the board for best actress. Despite her strong performance the film as a whole is a little boring. A modern re-telling of A Streetcar Named Desire it just doesn’t compare to the original film. She is truly the films greatest asset portraying a socialite fallen from grace. Through her performance you feel as though your watching a woman’s mental fibre tear in front of your eyes.
In this catergory we have an interesting bunch with varied performance. Again The Butler has been recognised with a nod to Oprah Winfrey which feels a bit of a stretch.
This was very much seen as a two horse race between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Ngong’o. Lawrence was the victor at The Golden Globes which caused some outrage. She is brilliant in American Hustle with a funny and raw performance but shes no where near as good as she is in her Oscar winning Silver Linings Playbook.
The award went to Lupita Ngong’o and rightly so, I think. The newcomer gives a heart wrenching a dignified portrayal of Patsey, a slave owned by the sadistic Edwin Epps. Everyday Patsey has to endure torture from not just her abusive master but his jealous wife as well. She manages to portray fear, pain, vulnerability, hope and kindness all in her small screen time. Congratulations Lupita! (Ed: Hear Hear!)
In the Best Supporting Actor category the nominations were: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips, Daniel Bruhl for Rush, Michael Fassbenderfor 12 Years A Slave and James Gandolfini for Enough Said. Although Dallas Buyers Club has yet to be released in the U.K Leto is by all accounts phenomenal as Rayon. The actor not only portrays a realistic mental transformation but a truly brilliant physical one. To portray a trans-gendered female he had to lose 30 pounds in weight and don make-up and dresses.
Not having seen the film yet my bet was on Michael Fassbender. In his portrayal of Edwin Epps, you get not just a sadistic character but a haunted one. Cruel and cold Fassbender is able to convey that Epps is a character that battles his own demons as well as inflicting pain on others. In the Outstanding Performance by a Cast category the nominations were: American Hustle, 12 Years A Slave, August: Osage County, Dallas Buyers Club and The Butler.
The award here went to American Hustle. Although the main cast here are brilliant its the two female leads that really steal the show. Despite the acting credentials on screen the film as a whole is shaky. Overly convoluted and longing that its needs to be. Its a weak film for David O Russel the director. Again, I feel that this award was more deserved by either 12 Years a Slave or August: Osage County. The inclusion of The Butler again seems out of place for an enjoyable but not award worthy film.
The ceremony then went on to the television awards.
The award went to Bryan Cranston for his portrayal of Walter White in Breaking Bad. In the show Walter choses to develop crystal meth and sell it to provide for his families future. The show ended its successful five year run and went out with a bang lead by Cranston’s dynamic performance.
In the Best Actor for a Television Comedy category the nominations were: Ty Burrell for Modern Family, Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock, Jason Bateman for Arrested Development, Don Cheadle for House of Lies and Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory.
The award went to Ty Burrell for his hilarious turn as Phil Dunphy in Modern Family. Burrell lends his acting skills to the show as the slightly mis-guided but brilliantly entertaining head of the Dunphy family.
In the Best Actress for a Television Comedy category the nominations were: Julia-Louis Dreyfus for Veep, Mayim Bialik for The Big Bang Theory, Julie Bowen for Modern Family, Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie and Tina Fey for 30 Rock. The Award went to Julia-Louis Dreyfus for her potrayal of Vice President Selina Meyer in Veep Dreyfus, who has been wrongly left out of nominations for film for Enough Said, happily takes this award as determined, funny and intelligent Meyer.
In the Best Ensemble Cast for a Television Comedy category the nominations were: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory and Veep.The award went to Modern Family. Like Breaking Bad the show took home two awards in the acting categories. It was a triumphant night for the large varied cast of the family comedy.
In the Best Actor for a Television Mini-Series category the nominations were: Michael Douglas for Behind the Candelabra, Matt Damon also for Behind the Candelabra, Jeremy Irons for The Hollow Crown, Rob Lowe for Killing Kennedy and Al Pacino for Phil Spector. The award went to Michael Douglas for his flamboyant portrayal of Liberace. The controversy here is that the film could not be nominated in the feature film category. The film went to TV first before finding a distributor to give it a cinematic release. Reports suggest that companies felt the film was ‘too gay’.
In the Best Actress for a Television Mini-Series category the nominations were: Helen Mirren for Phil Spector, Angela Bassett for Betty and Coretta, Helena Bonham Carter for Burton and Taylor, Holly Hunter for Top of the Lake and Elisabeth Moss also for Top of the Lake. The award went to Helen Mirren for her role as defence attorney Linda Kenney Baden. In the fictionalized account of the murder of Lana Clarkson Mirren’s character defends Al Pacino’s Phil Spector on a murder charge. Again here a acting veteran brings her talent and charisma to the small screen.
Who would you like to see win? Do you feel strongly about this years awards?