Acting! Genius! — 27th Screen Actors Guild Nominations

William J Hammon
5 min readFeb 5, 2021

Yesterday we got the Golden Globe nominations, and the list of snubs in favor of poppy bullshit is so large that my gag reflex is only just now recovering. The next stage of Awards Season concerns the major trade guilds and specialty fields. That stage began today with the announcement of the Screen Actors Guild nominations. SAG has already ceded some ground this year, giving up its original ceremonial date in favor of the Grammys, so I’m glad that with today’s announcement, they assert themselves as a return to normalcy when it comes to prestige. That’s not to say the list is perfect, or that it even could be. It’s also not an endorsement of old, outdated trends. But now that less than 100 people have gotten their moment of basically appealing to the Nickelodeon/MTV crowd, the adults get to resume normal business and recognize the films that actually might deserve it.

It should also be noted that SAG is often a better bellwether of where the Academy’s leaning than the HFPA. Take last year for its instance. The Golden Globes for Best Picture went to 1917 and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. The Best Picture winner at the Oscars, Parasite, wasn’t even nominated, instead having to settle for the token award for Foreign Language. Meanwhile, SAG did give Best Ensemble to Parasite, which is its equivalent of Best Picture, setting the stage for the historical win with the Academy. Part of the reason for this similarity is because a very large chunk of the Academy’s Acting Branch are SAG-AFTRA members as well, so there’s a lot of cross-platform voting.

Finally, in hilarious news, Donald Trump, like the whiny pissy baby he is, resigned from SAG-AFTRA today after it was announced that they were considering ousting him for that silly little business of inciting a deadly insurrection against our government. And of course, in true Trump fashion, his petulant letter tried to highlight his “great work” in Home Alone 2. It’s really funny until you remember that four weeks ago people actually died for this fuckwit.

Anyway, here are the film nominees for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards!

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods — Netflix
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — Netflix
Minari — Amazon 2/26
One Night in Miami — Amazon
The Trial of the Chicago 7 — Netflix

Lead Actor
Riz Ahmed — Sound of Metal — Amazon
Chadwick Boseman — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins — The Father — Theatres 2/26, Streaming TBD
Gary Oldman — — Netflix
Steven Yeun — Minari

Lead Actress
Amy Adams — Hillbilly Elegy — Netflix
Viola Davis — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby — Pieces of a Woman — Netflix
Frances McDormand — Nomadland — Hulu 2/19
Carey Mulligan — Promising Young Woman — VOD

Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen — The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman — Da 5 Bloods
Daniel Kaluuya — Judas and the Black Messiah — Theatres/HBO Max 2/12
Jared Leto — The Little Things — Theatres/HBO Max
Leslie Odom Jr. — One Night in Miami

Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm — Amazon
Glenn Close — Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman — The Father
Yuh-jong Youn — Minari
Helena Zengel — News of the World — Theatres/VOD

I have several immediate thoughts. One, it seems clear that we’re gonna give Chadwick Boseman some sort of posthumous award, and I’m not the least bit opposed. I believe his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom would count as his best work even if he was still alive. I am slightly surprised that he also gets a supporting nod here over Delroy Lindo in the same film. I get the feeling the Academy will rectify that.

Similarly, I’m glad that Sacha Baron Cohen is getting proper recognition for his role in The Trial of the Chicago 7. I’d have him as the odds-on favorite at this point, but we have to see what the Academy and the BAFTAs do. I find it interesting that SAG nominated Maria Bakalova as a Supporting Actress when the HFPA nominated her as a Lead Actress. I lean more toward SAG on this one, as her character, while being the largest female role, was very much in a supporting capacity to Borat. But really, though, I think Supporting Actress overall is shaping up to be a rematch between Glenn Close and Olivia Colman. Close won all the domestic awards two years ago, only for Colman and her BAFTA to pull the upset on Oscar Night. From where I sit, the Academy got it right. Colman was tremendous in The Favourite. However, Close had this air of inevitability to her, to the point that she had her dog accept the Independent Spirit Award the night before the Oscars. I get the feeling she’ll be sweeping the affair this year as a quasi-apology, and I haven’t even seen Hillbilly Elegy yet.

Finally, for the first time in ages, Best Actress looks to be a fully stacked race. You’ve got Viola Davis just owning it as Ma Rainey, a ton of buzz for Frances McDormand before Nomadland even comes out, and Carey Mulligan taking the world by storm with Promising Young Woman. We also see Vanessa Kirby getting her second nomination in as many days for Pieces of a Woman, which I haven’t seen yet, but it’s certainly on my radar. And then you have Amy Adams, one of the best actresses of her generation, coming in as a full-on underdog. I can’t wait to see how this plays out. Glenn Close might sweep Supporting Actress because she lost the Oscar when it was her “turn,” but what about Adams? She’s been nominated for the Oscar SIX TIMES without a win, and this could very well be her seventh go. No matter how good or bad Hillbilly Elegy is, there’s going to be a temptation to make it her “turn” as well, especially since Glenn Close is up for Supporting in the same film.

Things are heating up, folks, and we’ve still got 12 weeks to go!

Join the conversation in the comments below! Who gets your vote? What films have you seen on this list? Do you giggle every time someone says “SAG”? Let me know!

Originally published at on February 5, 2021.



William J Hammon

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