By Jake Coyle
In nominations to its 29th annual awards, the Screen Actors Guild heaped honors on the casts of the anarchic indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and the Irish tragicomedy “The Banshees of Inisherin,” while throwing some curve balls into the Oscar race.
The awards contenders, voted on by the Hollywood actors’ guild SAG-AFTRA, were announced Wednesday on Instagram Live by Haley Lu Richardson (“The White Lotus”) and Ashley Park (“Emily in Paris”). The nominees for the guild’s top award, best ensemble, are: “Babylon,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans” and “Women Talking.”
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The SAG Awards are considered one of the most reliable Oscar bellwethers. Seldom does a movie or performance not nominated by the screen actors end up winning at the Academy Awards. Actors make up the biggest percentage of the film academy, so their choices have the largest sway.
Missing out on a SAG ensemble nomination usually means a film’s best-picture hopes are over. Last year, all the top SAG winners — the cast of “CODA,” Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose — all repeated their wins at the Oscars.
That means the road ahead for either of the year’s top box-office hits — “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” — just got a lot harder. After striking out with the actors guild, neither is likely to win best picture. Each film picked a nod from SAG for its stunt ensemble.
Coming off their wins at the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” (a co-leading five SAG nods) increasingly look like this year’s frontrunners, along with Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (also five SAG nominations).
The directors to those three films all landed nominations from the Directors Guild Awards on Wednesday, along with Todd Field ( “Tár”) and Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”). A DGA nod usually corresponds with an Oscar directing nomination. It also suggests those five films are safely in as best-picture nominees. Since the best-picture category expanded in 2009, only one DGA-nominated film hasn’t also landed a best-picture nod.
After back-to-back DGA wins for Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), no female filmmakers were nominated. And, in a surprise, James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) went unnominated.
Gaining the most from the SAG Award nominations, perhaps, was Damien Chazelle’s extravagant silent film era ode “Babylon” and Sarah Polley’s feminist allegory “Women Talking.” Before landing best ensemble nominations (albeit no individual nods), both films had struggled to find traction this awards season.
Up for best performance by a female actor in a leading role are: Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Viola Davis (“The Woman King”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
In a crowded field, notably overlooked was Michelle Williams, who’s been lauded for her performance in “The Fabelmans.” Williams, a four-time nominee, has never won an Oscar. Instead, the fifth spot may have gone to de Armas, who had fallen off most lists after the Marilyn Monroe drama was poorly received.
Nominated for best performance by a male actor in leading role are: Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Bill Nighy (“Living”) and Adam Sandler (“Hustle”).
Sandler’s nomination for the Netflix basketball drama “Hustle” was less expected — though he gave one of the season’s best speeches as a tribute honoree at the Gotham Awards in November. Tom Cruise was shut out.
Nominated for male actor in a supporting role are: Paul Dano (“The Fabelmans”), Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Nurse”) and the category’s likely favorite, Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
“I’ve loved performing ever since I was a child and that hasn’t changed,” Quan, the former “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” child star, said in a statement Wednesday, the morning after he won best supporting actor at the Globes. “I feel lucky just to still be here doing this.”
Up for female actor in a supporting role are: Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), Hong Chau (“The Whale”), Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
On the TV side, nominated for best ensemble in a drama series are: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “Ozark,” “Severance” and “The White Lotus.” Up for best comedy series ensemble are the casts of “Abbott Elementary,” “Barry,” “The Bear,” “Hacks” and “Only Murders in the Building.” Julia Garner came away a double nominee, for “Ozark” and “Inventing Anna.” Zendaya scored her first SAG nomination for her leading performance in “Euphoria.”
After losing their longtime broadcast home on TNT and TBS, the SAG Awards on Wednesday announced a new multiyear partnership with Netflix to stream the ceremony. This year’s show, to take place Feb. 26, will livestream on Netflix’s YouTube page. Next year’s SAG Awards will be streamed directly on Netflix.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP