SAG Awards nominations mystery solved: Just who decided these?

We awards nuts are always looking for trends to slice and dice. So, when the SAG Awards only foresaw 17 of the eventual 20 Oscar nominees for acting last year and just 14 in each of 2013 and 2012, we wondered if this bellwether wasn’t ringing so true anymore.

SAG Awards: Complete list of film and TV nominations

Historically, we had counted on these kudos for presaging upwards of 18 of the one score of performers that reaped Oscar bids. Has the merger of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) with the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) changed the composition of the nominating committee enough that it no longer mirrors that of the acting branch at the academy?

At the time of the merger, SAG had more than 125,000 members of whom approximately 40,000 were also AFTRA members and already eligible to vote on the SAG Awards. The AFTRA membership list totalled 65,000, so that means 25,000 new voters have been added to the ranks of award voters.

Most of those newbees are not actors. Many of them are TV news and sports anchors, reporters, political commentators, meteorologists and soap stars. So how are they affecting the award results?

Turns out that while everyone in the combined union can vote for the winners of BOTH the film and TV awards, some of those one-time AFTRA folk — like the talking heads on CNN and Fox News — are only eligible to take part in the nominating process to determine the best thespians on television.

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The film nominations were determined by 2,100 members who, as per Section Five Rule 4, met the following criteria:

be in good standing;
agree to serve;
reside in the US;
be over 16;
be in database as actor/performer, dancer singer or stunt person;
not have been on this committee in last eight years; and
be either a rank & file member or past nominee of a prestigious acting award

Howver, as per Section Five Rule 5, to be among the 2,100 members on the TV nominating committee, you only have to:

be in good standing;
agree to serve
reside in the US; and
not have been on this committee in last eight years.

(Note the differences between these requirements in bold.)

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