With the recent Screen Actors Guild (complete list of SAG nominees) and Golden Globe nominations (complete list of Golden Globe nominees), the awards season is finally starting to heat up. Within both prestigious ceremonies, there were plenty of snubs and surprises to discuss. Let's take a look at what these nominations mean for the stretch run to the Oscars.
The Best Actor race was looking for a 5th performance to round out the group and it appears they may have found it. In a bit of a surprise Breaking Bad star. Bryan Cranston, found himself receiving both a SAG and Golden Globe nomination for him performance in Trumbo. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) and Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) appear to be locks in the Best Actor category, with Johnny Depp (Black Mass) and Will Smith (Concussion) representing other possible finalist as well.
One of the biggest shockers to come out of these nominations was a complete omission for Carey Mulligan's work in the feminist drama, Suffragette. Mulligan delivered a fine performance in a role that just begs for awards season attention, however this could spell the beginning of the end for her hopes at an Oscar nomination. In her absence from the SAG finalists Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back) welcomed a surprising inclusion. Mulligan, Silverman will also be competing with the phenomenal and regrettably snubbed work of aging veteran, Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), for a chance at the big dance. Safer bets in the Best Actress race are Brie Larson (Room), Cate Blachett (Carol), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and perhaps Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) too.
Odds are many prognosticators pegged Mark Ruffalo as a guaranteed Best Supporting Actor nominee for his work in Todd McCarthy's Best Picture bound drama, Spotlight. Yet, Ruffalo received a Golden Globe nod for his vastly overlooked work in one of my favorite films of 2015, the hilarious indie dramedy, Infinitely Polar Bear. Kudos to the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing an exceptional turn by Ruffalo. Unforeseen to many, Spotlight's big pair, Ruffalo and co-star Michael Keaton, were both blanked for their roles in the film. The biggest beneficiaries were 99 Homes supporting star, Michael Shannon, Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) and Creed's Sylvester Stallone. The Big Short's Christian Bale and Room's deserving youngster, Jacob Tremblay, also secured SAG nominations as well. Any of the aforementioned, along with Tom Hardy (The Revenant) and Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), have a fighting chance as this competition is completely wide open outside of the current frontrunner, Bridge of Spies' Mark Rylance.
Bryan Cranston wasn't the only star from Trumbo to shock the industry with a pair of recent nominations, add Helen Mirren to the list of rising performers forcing their way into the Oscar discussion. Mirren was never believed to be a viable Best Supporting Actress contender but her stock is surely on the rise as she'll have to battle with The Hateful Eight's Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jane Fonda (Youth), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy) and Joan Allen (Room), while Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) and Rooney Mara (Carol) feel like sure-things.
Although its Best Picture hopes are still minimal at best, the collective cast from F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton surprised everyone with a Best Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. I was a little perplexed to see that Room failed to make the cut in the same category, although it did earn a Best Drama nod with the Globes. Mad Max: Fury Road still has a staunch set of supporters, evident by its Best Drama recognition by the Globes and only Spotlight and The Big Short found themselves earning a pair of nominations from both voting bodies. It seems pretty obvious that Spotlight is a narrow Best Picture frontrunner at this point in time.
*** Stay tuned for plenty of more awards season talk throughout the long long journey to the Oscars in February