My admiration for the Screen Actors Guild Awards rests in the respect the actors have for their peers. When one looks at the audience as the camera pans the room it became clear who truly believes in their craft and who extols the virtues of great performance. In such a small room, of the 116,741 voters, those 5000 in attendance, even when not nominated, represent the pillars of the industry and stand in for those with other commitments. It is also fair to say this is a time of camaraderie when actors get to see each other in between grueling shoot schedules and locations.
The myriad of nominated topics, though overdone, comes with a fresh eye and perspective on McCarthy persecution of Hollywood writers, survival in captivity, Catholic church abuse, global collapse of the economy, young Black men with a social conscious, transgender, prison life, politics, murder, crime, emigration, lesbian romance and survival. However, I remain curious as to the status quo face of the nominations. The nominees consistently come from the drama and comedy categories with an obvious absence of action and sci-fi genres that often deliver compelling stories and performances.
The 2016 SAG award ceremony was full of firsts and seconds. Uzo Aduba and Idris Elba both took home two Actors while Leonardo DiCaprio secured his first out of the many fine performances he has delivered. There were a few surprises like the BBC’s Downton Abbey winning for best ensemble in their final year, Queen Latifah taking one home for Bessie, to Alicia Vikander’s performance in The Danish Girl. To the winners go the spoils and Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis, Brie Larson, the Spotlight cast, Jeffrey Tambor, and the ensemble of Orange Is The New Black all took home the Actor.
I once asked a director if he had his acceptance speech written and he quietly replied with no bravado, “I’ve already won. I am one of five directors in the whole world nominated for an Oscar. My name will be on the screen for millions to hear and see. How amazing is that?”
Win or lose there is no need to apologize to those who were ferried home empty handed, for their ferocious performances gave us a place to escape. All the nominees were recognized for their clearly stellar accomplishments by their fellow actors and by the millions of moviegoers who sit in darkened theaters partaking of their journeys.
Carl Anthony / In My Opinion… / February 1, 2016