SAG’s Dishonor

The Screen Actors Guild nominations are up, and there are at least three if not four outrageous omissions. Many fine people have been honored, but SAG, I feel, has truly shamed itself by failing to nominate Javier Bardem‘s legendary performance in Biutiful for Best Actor as well as Lesley Manville‘s shattering turn in Another Year for Best Actress.

Perhaps the biggest fall-on-the-floor WTF is SAG’s decision to nominate Jeff Bridges True Grit performance as one of its five Best Actor hopefuls. This is just sloppy, chummy, boomer-fortified cronyism, pure and simple.

The third SAG outrage is nominating Hilary Swank‘s sufficient-but-nothing-special performance in Conviction for Best Actress. Because in so doing they’ve blown off the much more deserving Manville as well as Michelle Williams, who kills in Blue Valentine. It just makes me sick.

If you ask me Valentine‘s Ryan Gosling should have also been Best Actor-nominated, but I recognize that there are only so many slices in the pie and someone has to be left holding an empty plate.

They also blew off Animal Kingdom‘s Jacki Weaver for Best Supporting Actress. You know why? Five’ll get you ten a good portion of SAG’s membership hasn’t bothered to watch the Animal Kingdom screener. Plus they ignored all three of the Social Network guys — Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer. And yet they nominate Jeremy Renner for delivering a standard chilly psychopath turn in The Town? What bullshit!

The Bridges thing is mind-blowing. What is the big award-worthy deal about snortin’ and harumphin’ and stumblin’ around as scuzzy old Ruben Cogburn? Bridges knew he had a problem because of Cogburn’s similarities to his drunken Crazy Heart performer so he went with a deeper, drawlin’ gravel-gut voice and scowled a bit more and got to wear some old western duds and shoot a bunch of guys. And this results in a SAG nomination at Bardem’s and/or Gosling’s expense?

I’m not putting Bridges down. I would have done the same thing in his shoes. But the Ruben Cogburn role isn’t that intriguing or compelling. Was Bridges nominated because he’s charming and likable? That’s true, Bridges is that. He’s a very personable guy. So are the Coen brothers — a couple of very witty and likable fellows. So is Matt Damon — an ardent Hollywood lefty, hates Jimmy Kimmel, narrated Inside Job. So is John Boehner, I’ll bet, after a couple of drinks.

The other SAG-nominated Best Actor contenders are Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Robert Duvall (Get Low). Good for them.

The Best Actress nominees besides Swank are Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole).

The Best Supporting Actor nominees besides Renner are Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech).

It’s good that both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo have scored Best Supporting Female noms for their work in The Fighter. Good also on The King’s Speech‘s Helena Bonham Carter, Black Swan‘s Mila Kunis and True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld.

  • Krillian

    Haven’t seen many of the ones you’re upset about, but no, wrong on Jeremy Renner. He gave one of my favorite performances of the year. Picture Ben Foster or Stephen Dorff in that role and see why it had to be Renner. I’d be mad if Renner wasn’t nominated.

    Happy for Bale, Hawkes, Ruffalo. Is Geoffrey Rush really that good or is he getting swept along with the rest of the film?

  • anonymous2

    I’d like to see Andrew Garfield get some best supporting actor recognition for The Social Network.

  • JR

    My gut tells me that the nomination of Mila Kunis is a big boost to the Best Pic chances for Black Swan…and I am so very pleased for Jennifer Lawrence…Swank’s nom is a head scratcher…the omission of Bardem is obscene…otherwise, a good slate of nominations and the first real insight into the minds of the Hollywood crowd.

    My take: the Oscar race for Best Picture is a bit more wide open than the critics’ awards indicated.

  • Glenn Kenny

    “I’m not putting Bridges down.”

    Oh, bullshit. Of course you’re putting him down. You spend 20 or so disparaging verbs and adjectives to characterize his performance and then you say you’re not putting him down. Come on.

    I do hear that Jacki Weaver sets the screen ablaze in “Animal Kingdom.” That really sounds like something…

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to Kenny: I said and meant that I would have done the same thing if I’d been in Bridges shoes. What was he gonna do, play it like Pee-Wee Herman or Ronald Coleman? He had to do what he did. It was a big-ass role in a Coen bros. film and he took it and got well paid, but he was stuck in a corner and had to go all gravelly voiced and scuzzy and ornery. It’s not his fault that the movie is a beautifully made but empty art-film exercise. But it’s absolutely an OUTRAGE that SAG blew off Bardem and Gosling in order to kiss Bridges’ ass.

  • Chase Kahn

    I’m a big Animal Kingdom supporter, but I thought Ben Mendelsohn stole the show, not Jacki Weaver.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Am I the only one who loved Animal Kingdom but just didn’t buy Weaver’s angry-mamma transformation at the end? A good performance, but once she hit that gear, she just kept hammering that one note. I would prefer Animal Kingdom recognition go to Ben Mendelsohn, or the scrappy drug addict brother whose name currently escapes me.

  • Mark

    I’d like to see Andrew Garfield get some best actor recognition for The Social Network. (That was his movie, IMO, just as much as Eisenberg, despite it ending with the latter.)

  • Chase Kahn

    Umm…no, you’re not the only one…

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Also, having just seen True Grit, what the fuck kind of “art films” are you watching, Jeff? Has an old-fashioned western become an “art film”? There was absolutely nothing “arty” about this movie. Granted, I’m talking form and not function, but yeah, this was a traditional western, for better or worse.

  • raygo

    They had to nominate Swank, because we need another Bening-Swank faceoff to make a few headlines. Politics and business.

  • adorian

    Jeff, do you know any voting members of SAG well enough to ask them (anonymous attributions, of course) if they voted for Hillary Swank and, if so, WHY? That is one of the most bizarre things I’ve heard of lately.

  • LDKA0186

    “Also, having just seen True Grit, what the fuck kind of “art films” are you watching, Jeff? Has an old-fashioned western become an “art film”? There was absolutely nothing “arty” about this movie. Granted, I’m talking form and not function, but yeah, this was a traditional western, for better or worse.”

    It’s not an art film, and Jeff knows it. He’s doing this to get attention. For all his dissing of Armond White, when Jeff gets a chance to play contrarian, he goes all out. This is a repeat of what he did with “Inglourious Basterds” last year; he spent post after post condemning the movie for glorifying violence even as most other critics, and Tarantino, and any one else remotely connected to the film, said that the opposite was true.

    This year, it’s about how “True Grit” is such an alienating “art” western, even though Jeff loved “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and even though the one thing every critic who has seen “True Grit” can agree on, whether they like it or not, is that the film is the most populist, conventional thing the Coen Brothers have ever done.

    I mean, the similarities in Wells’ criticisms of the two films are staggering. Wells even effusively praised both their shooting scripts only to trash the finished films.

    The real shame is, we’re never going to know why Wells really didn’t like “True Grit.” He may have valid reasons; maybe he found the film too simplistic, maybe he expected and wanted something more arch from the Coen Brothers, maybe he’s just irritated that Steven Spielberg exec. produced the film (big note of sarcasm on the validity of that last point).

    I wish he’d act like a critic and thoughtfully explain why he disliked the film rather than spew the “cold art film Western cold art film Western not chewy or tangy enough cold art film Western doesn’t seep in and groove and vibe and that ain’t hay” nonsense we’re doomed to get until perdition.

  • berkguru

    I like the Hawkes nom. Great role.

  • IvanKia

    You are right. They aren’t having enough of an effect. We probably should use a lot more. Thanks for original pic. I might make it my icons collection.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Almost every Coen Bros movie has a wonderful no-laugh-funny current going on. Not so here. True Grit isn’t in the least bit funny. It’s really a kind of downer to sit through. No Country, in all seriousness, felt to me like a laugh riot by contrast. Bardem is a howl at times.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Typo police!

    It’s “Hilary” Swank, not “Hillary.” Also, “Jimmy” Kimmel, not Jimmmy, although I’m sure that was unintentional, lol.

    The Kunis news — and she was nominated by someone else the other day, too — comes as a pretty big surprise. Liked her in Black Swan, but I wouldn’t say it was for…thespian-related reasons.

    This is either a sign that Swan may have more backers than one may think at first blush, or that Kunis is well-respected in the industry (something I would have never guessed), or…it’s just an unabashed “spank bank” sorta vote.

    I really don’t have any other sort of explanation. This just doesn’t seem like the sort of role that should get one nominated. I’m not sure I can say anything more without spoiling the movie for all those still waiting to see it.

    Also: what Krillian said about Renner. I think we should get used to his name popping up pretty regularly in December.

  • Rashad

    I found True Grit hilarious, and how can anyone not find Mattie sweet and charming? If they’re putting her in Supporting I’d vote her easy. (She’s really the lead but whatever.)

    I’m glad Bridges got nominated, and his performance is better here than it was in the country version of The Wrestler.

    Renner should have been nominated as well. Outside of Eisenberg, nothing about the actors was truly exceptional. I would rather have Brolin be nominated for his pitch perfect role in Wall Street 2 or even Douglas. Shia Labeouf gives a much more convincing and layered performance than Eisenberg does but no one will recognize him for it since he’s an action star.

  • DiscoNap

    TRUE GRIT is the Coen’s warmest film ever, almost too its detriment. It’s light and a little pointless but also sincerely sweet-natured for most of its running time. Its their family movie.

  • DiscoNap

    Like I said elsewhere where it seemed to get eaten, it’s the first Coen brothers movie suitable for the USA Network.

  • DiscoNap

    Wells should really see it with a suburban audience, it slays. I’m not saying that means it’s gret, it’s not. But It’s going to make like 80 million dollars. Get ready for more awards traction.

  • Rashad

    How is telling a quality story pointless?

  • K. Bowen

    Look, Jacki Weaver!

    I heard she sets the screen ablaze!

  • K. Bowen

    Good for the Hawkes nom. Swank is better than you’re giving her credit for.

    Missing Rockwell, Olivia Williams, all of Inception.

  • HHH

    The Hawkes nom is great news. His turn is oe of the best perfs of this year or any year. Simply astounding in its perfection. He won’t win, but what a great nod to all the crass idiots this season. Anyone who thinks Justin Timberlake deserves a nom is as shallow as that stupid movie is.

  • Chicago48

    I’m happy for Renner. The 21st Century’s Jimmy Cagney.

  • bfm

    I noticed that Chris Noth was not included in the cast list for The Good Wife. Is that a deliberate omission or an accident?

  • C.C. Baxter

    I think most people assumed Bridges would get the fifth slot. The Golden Globes situation not withstanding, he seemed the most likely candidate. He certainly didn’t get in at Javier Bardem’s expense. Wahlberg, Gosling, and even DiCaprio were all far more likely. Nobody but Welles and Poland think Biutiful is worth a damn.

  • Princess of Peace

    You are wrong C.C. Baxter. Many people are upset about Bardem not getting nominated. There are many articles on the web stating. Right now he has the support of Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Ben Affleck among others. If the actors rally around him he could get a nomination. After all, the actors are the biggest branch when it comes to voting for the Oscars.

  • Bob Hightower

    Didn’t John Wayne win an Oscar for TRUE GRIT? And you are surprised Bridges gets a nomination from SAG in the same role?