It’s possible that today’s SAG Award nominations won’t tell us too much about the Oscar nominations ahead. Ever since SAG and AFTRA merged last year, there seems to be less of a magic link between the two kudos. Hell, SAG didn’t even nominate Christoph Waltz (“Inglorious Bastards”) last year. The only other time that SAG failed to nominate an ultimate Oscar champ was in 2000 and that was just a weird fluke. Even the Golden Globes had accidentally skipped over Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”). Last year the Globes not only gave Waltz a bid, they gave him the gold.
Normally, 18 to 19 of the SAG nominees end up on the Oscar list, but last year they only agreed upon 14 contenders. In addition to Waltz, the SAG nominating committee snubbed all of these eventual Academy Award contenders: Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”), Quevenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Amy Adams (“The Master”) and Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”).
When winners are unveiled, they agreed upon 3 out 4 of the champs, as they usually do, with Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) prevailing instead of absent Waltz.
SAG has about 100,000 members, all participants of the acting profession. The merger added 65,000 AFTRA members, who aren’t all actors. Hell, up till a few years ago, I belonged to AFTRA because of all of my frequent appearances as a pop-culture commentator on TV. If the SAG Award is supposed to be a peer-group award – and it is – then someone like me should not be voting, frankly. By letting non-actors vote, the SAG award results are thrown. By how much? This is only the second year of post-merger awards, so that answer is unclear.