The nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards came out this morning and created quite a stir around Hollywood, as big names were denied, the world of comedy got some just due, and movies that have been out longer than a month were remembered and recognized.  The SAG Awards are just the beginning of the Hollywood award season as we count down to the Oscars.


The SAG Awards have been a major player of the award season since 1995, with the voting coming from those actors that are a part of the Screen Actors Guild union.  Roughly over 4000 SAG members are selected in this process to determine the nominees and winners in film and television.  Appropriately, "The Actor" is the award the winner receives (statue pictured).  What makes this award special is that it's actors voting on their peers for their work over the last year.

The SAG Awards set the tone for the rest of the award season, creating a decent barometer of what is to come with what is to come with other awards like the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.  How important is a SAG nomination?  Fact is that no movie has won the Best Picture Oscar without having been nominated for a SAG award in the last 15 years.

This could spell trouble for movies who had significant buzz like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock), Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese), War Horse (a Steven Spielberg film), and the final Harry Potter film - no of these movies earned a nomination for Best Ensemble Cast (which could be the equal of Best Picture).

Two wonderful surprises for nominations in the Best Ensemble Cast category was The Help and Bridesmaids.  The Help actually led the SAG Awards in nominations this year with 4 - a great feat for a film that has was released about 5 months ago and is only running currently in about 200 theaters.  The norm seems to be that if your film is not out around award push time, you seem to fall through the cracks and are forgotten - thankfully not so here.

Bridesmaids was also released earlier this year (back in May), and is a comedy - which never usually get the respect it's due.  Bridesmaids was compared to The Hangover, which was not nominated for a SAG the year it was out.  The film also earned Melissa McCarthy a richly deserved Best Supporting Actress nomination.  A victory in either category would force the Oscar committee down a path that has been extremely rare - recognizing a comedy (and at times a raunchy one) to be one of the year's best.

Some nominations for SAG Awards were not a surprise as the buzz on George Clooney, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Brad Pitt were recognized as Best Actor nominees.  Clooney has got some of his best reviews of his already incredible career for playing as father of 2 daughters in The Descendants (also a Best Ensemble Cast nominee), while Leo has had a box office disappointment for player J. Edgar Hoover, but the biopic genre has done well during award seasons in the past, and Pitt also played real life Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane in Moneyball.

The Best Actress category is as strong as it may ever have been:

Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis in The Help
Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn

When former Oscar winner Charlize Theron is shut out for her well received performance in Young Adult, then you know that these field is special.

Other surprises as SAG nominees included in the Best Supporting Actor category Jonah Hill in Moneyball and Nick Nolte in Warrior.  These were not 2 names that has any real Oscar buzz - that just changed right here!

On the other side of the coin, Albert Brooks seemed to be a lock for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Drive, based on some of the critics awards he has won before this.  Brooks' chance at Oscar gold takes a hit and will need his name recognition to propel him further.

A list of all the nominees can be found in Heather DeLuca's post about the SAG Awards.  Look for the festivities to happen on Jan. 29th, with TBS and TNT having the show on TV.