The Screen Actors Guild Awards are not only seen as the quintessential peer award of all awards but also the premiere precursor to the Oscars. Some of the winners Sunday night definitely surprised and may have injected some life into a previously thought predictable Oscars. And we can’t forget the dethroning of “Modern Family” and some of the surprise, big winners of the small screen.
What do our Editors think are the Good/Bad/Ugly of this years batch of SAG winners?
Good: Eddie Redmayne proved the Experts wrong – hooray — and he gave the performance of his career at the podium. Now who’s gonna remember Michael Keaton trumping Eddie’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, eh? Now, thanks to SAG, we have a REAL heavyweight bout for Best Actor at the Oscars. And thanks to PGA’s Best Picture prize and the SAG Ensemble Award going to “Birdman,” “Boyhood” will no longer skate to an easy win on Oscar night.
Bad: Jeeez Q. Christ. Mark Ruffalo had two nominations and he couldn’t bother to show up? How many nominations do they have to give him next year so he’ll condescend to attend the party?
Ugly: What was with that stage set? At the end of the ceremony it looked like someone splashed gold paint all over the stage and then exploded 100 glitter bombs!
Good: Uzo Aduba, William H. Macy, and “Orange is the New Black” victories. Eddie Redmayne and the Birdman cast, just a bunch of great winners by SAG tonight. The best batch of winners – and most diverse – of any awards show in a looong time.
Bad: I like Patricia Arquette and hope she wins all the awards but for the love of hell can she just for once not bust out a written speech for one of these shows?
Ugly: Not really too much to complain about here. Maybe the ‘Downton Abbey’ win if I had to choose something because it was the only repeat winner in the TV categories. But really it’s not a bad winner.
Good: Deserving TV winners all around, with some of my personal favorites like Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba and William H. Macy all claiming that naked little statue. On the film side, how great was that upset win for Eddie Redmayne over Michael Keaton? Now that Redmayne has won the Golden Globe and SAG Award and is likely to win the BAFTA, is the Oscar race over?
Bad: Uzo overload! Sure, we all love a good Uzo moment, but after giving an intro at the beginning of the show and winning an individual trophy for Best Comedy Actress, why oh why did she ALSO accept the award on behalf of the entire cast? There were almost 40 people behind her who I’m sure would have loved their time in the spotlight.
Ugly: No-shows for winners Mark Ruffalo and Spacey are unacceptable. Get your butts to the ceremony, people!
Good: J.K. Simmons finally winning a SAG Award after five losses as part of the ensemble of TV’s “The Closer.” That he delivered such a winning speech — mixing the professional with the personal — makes me look forward to his turn on the Oscar stage.
Ugly: All the criticism of the no-shows. For example, Mark Ruffalo is on location in Europe making a movie. Cut the guy some slack.
Good: While Budapest would have also been a deserving winner, “Birdman” taking out ensemble (as expected) was one of the best wins this category has sen in recent years. It wasn’t just great performances from Keaton to Galifianakis, but the way the actors were able to bounce off one another and work together as an ensemble that doesn’t come along very often.
Ugly: “Downton Abby” over “Game of Thrones”? Give me the political dynamics of Thrones over a tired British soap any day. Also Julia Louis-Dreyfus should have every category she’s eligible for on lock-down.
Good: I may have wanted Keaton to win, but Redmayne’s win keeps this race really interesting and something to look forward to. So come on Michael! Work for it like you want it!
Ugly: So, apparently no awards voters take “Game of Thrones” seriously anymore.
Good: Good to see such a show of support for women and people of color among the SAG TV winners. Viola Davis gave a great and important speech about being a dark-skinned black woman cast in such a complex, sexual role in “How to Get Away with Murder,” while the SAG ensemble wins for “Orange in the New Black” and “Downton Abbey” illustrate that stories about women can be great — and great big hits. So why is the film industry (as reflected in SAG’s predominantly white and male feature film nominations) still so stubbornly focused on one demographic of stories and storytellers.
Bad: Other than one upset (Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne), the film awards went according to script, while the TV winners were often surprising. The marathon film awards season and its relentless studio campaigns hammer every awards group into voting almost the exact same way. I wouldn’t mind so many award shows if they’d show more independent thought. Someone televise the National Society of Film Critics Awards. They don’t care what anyone else thinks. They just award what they like (“Goodbye to Language,” anyone?).
Ugly: It was nice to see such a stirring montage of classic and contemporary scenes highlighting gender, ethnic, and sexual diversity during the show, but it felt like SAG trying to distract attention from its utterly homogeneous feature film slate. Sorry, SAG, but celebrating “Selma” in a clip package doesn’t make up for snubbing it when you were voting.
Good: After its surprise PGA victory, “Birdman” continues its dominance of the precursors with a SAG ensemble win. Could DGA be next? On the TV side, it’s nice to see quality Netflix shows “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards” get some well deserved love.
Bad: Michael Keaton takes a hit, losing best actor to Eddie Redmayne. What was once a sure thing is once again a horse race?
Ugly: With so few categories, there are always films that leave empty handed. So while it may be hard to argue with the winners, it is sad seeing worthy contenders such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Foxcatcher” completely ignored.
Good: Fantastic speeches from William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, J.K. Simmons, and Viola Davis. SAG does the memoriam segment than just about everybody. And even though it was a little rough around the edges, the tribute to Debbie Reynolds was great.
Bad: I wish “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Big Bang Theory” could have won something.
Ugly: While I certainly do not mind Eddie Redmayne winning, this is a real setback for the campaign of Michael Keaton. This might be his one and only shot at an Oscar, so I hope he puts himself into warm and charming high campaign mode to get back on track.