While the Screen Actors Guild Awards for film are typically an excellent predictor for the Oscars, the same can’t always be said of SAG’s relationship to the Emmys. But both kudos groups agreed this year on “Modern Family,” which won five Emmys and is nominated for a leading five SAG Awards: Best Comedy Ensemble, Best Comedy Actor (Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet), and Best Comedy Actress (Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara). Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O’Neill were the only adult cast members left out, but that’s not surprising because SAG combines lead and supporting actors into one category.
Burrell and Stonestreet face off against Alec Baldwin, who has never lost the category; this could be his sixth consecutive victory for playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” which received two other nominations this year: Comedy Ensemble and Comedy Actress (Tina Fey).
Steve Carell, who departed “The Office” last spring, received a pair of farewell bids for Comedy Ensemble and Comedy Actor; he has won twice as a member of the “Office” ensemble, but has never claimed individual honors. At this year’s Emmys, he was upset by Jim Parsons, who won his second consecutive trophy for “The Big Bang Theory,” but Parsons has never been embraced by SAG, and this year is no exception; though “Big Bang” broke through for the first time in the Comedy Ensemble race, Parsons was left out of the Comedy Actor lineup.
The last Comedy Actor contender is Jon Cryer, a surprise nominee for “Two and a Half Men“; he’s been nominated for six Emmys winning once, but this is his first nomination from the Guild. Is it possible sympathy for the Charlie Sheen controversy pushed him over the top?
Joining “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Big Bang,” and “Modern Family” in the race for Comedy Ensemble is 2010 champ “Glee.” Last year, Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer were also nominated for this musical comedy but the scene-stealers were snubbed this time around.
Reigning Emmy champ Melissa McCarthy (“Mike and Molly”) was snubbed in the Comedy Actress category (though she picked up two Film nods for “Bridesmaids”). Last year’s champ Betty White (“Hot in Cleveland“) returns as do three-time titleholder Tina Fey and 2010 Emmy winner Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie“). Reigning Supporting Emmy winner Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”) contends for the first time, joining her castmate returning nominee Sofia Vergara.
Last year’s Drama Ensemble champ “Boardwalk Empire” won’t be facing off against Emmy victor “Mad Men,” which didn’t air any new episodes this year. “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” “Game of Thrones,” and “The Good Wife” are all looking for their first win in the category. “Thrones” and “Bad” are nominated for the first time, while “Good Wife” makes its third appearance and “Dexter” its fourth.
Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) has claimed Drama Actress two years in a row and is looking for a three-peat; she has a record eight SAG Awards in total. Of her Emmy rivals this year, only Kathy Bates (“Harry’s Law”) managed a bid. They’re up against Glenn Close, whose legal drama “Damages” returned on DirecTV this year after being cancelled by FX; Kyra Sedgwick, nominated for the seventh consecutive time for “The Closer“; and Jessica Lange of “American Horror Story.”
The biggest surprise came in the race for Best Drama Actor, where Patrick J. Adams received an unexpected bid for the USA legal drama “Suits,” in which he plays a brilliant college dropout who goes to work for a high-powered law-firm. He edged out big names like Kelsey Grammer (“Boss“), Hugh Laurie (“House“), and Timothy Olyphant (“Justified“), as well as “Game of Thrones” Emmy-winner Peter Dinklage.
Adams is up against Emmy champs Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights“) and Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), as well as previous SAG winners Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”).
There were many notable omissions and surprise inclusions in the two Movie/Miniseries acting races. As expected, Kate Winslet (“Mildred Pierce“), Diane Lane (“Cinema Verite“), and Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey“) were nominated for Movie/Miniseries Actress, but Winslet’s on-screen daughter Evan Rachel Wood was snubbed in favor of Emily Watson (“Appropriate Adult”) and Betty White, who is nominated for “The Lost Valentine” despite being overlooked for that role at the Emmys.
For Movie/Miniseries Actor, Emmy winner Guy Pearce (“Mildred Pierce”) competes against a quartet of Emmy nominees: Laurence Fishburne (“Thurgood“), Paul Giamatti and James Woods (“Too Big to Fail“), and Greg Kinnear (“The Kennedys“). The absense of William Hurt for “Too Big to Fail” is notable; SAG nominated two supporting actors from the financial-crisis docudrama, but not its lead. Barry Pepper won Movie/Miniseries Actor for “The Kennedys” at the Emmys, but is nowhere to be found in this race. Also absent is Idris Elba (“Luther“).
The 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on Jan. 29, 2012 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and air live on TBS and TNT.
Review the full list of nominations here.
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