Michael Keaton is known for many things. Not only has he played a superhero, a supervillain and a devious poltergeist during his career, but he’s also the only person in history to win three film ensemble Screen Actors Guild Awards. Now he’s looking to add to his haul by potentially taking home his first individual SAG Award for his dramatic turn on Hulu’s “Dopesick.”
The limited series, which was inspired by Beth Macy’s nonfiction book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company That Addicted America,” was written by Danny Strong. It tells the harrowing story of the opioid epidemic that has crippled America, painting an empathetic portrait of the men and women most affected by it while documenting the crimes of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Keaton portrays Dr. Samuel Finnix, a small-town doctor in a Virginia mining town who both prescribes the drugs to his patients and becomes addicted himself.
While Keaton long ago disproved the idea he was just a comedic actor, the “Dopesick” role is another welcome reminder of his impressive range as an actor. Reviews of the series singled out the strength of his performance, and the current odds for TV movie/limited series actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards reflect that. Keaton is currently sitting in fourth place in Gold Derby’s combined odds at 13/2 with one Expert predicting him to triumph. If he hopes to win come March, though, he’ll have to beat frontrunner and recent Emmy winner Evan Peters (“Mare of Easttown”), who is leading the pack with 69/20 odds and has six Experts predicting him. “Scenes From a Marriage” star Oscar Isaac trails him in second place at 4/1 odds, while “Halston’s” Ewan McGregor is in third at 9/2. The latter also took home an Emmy for his performance. Sitting just behind Keaton and rounding out the top five is Murray Bartlett of “The White Lotus” (17/2 odds).
It might seem like Peters has a firm grip on the SAG Award after taking home the Emmy for his supporting performance as a detective in the small-town crime drama “Mare of Easttown” (the SAG Awards do not have separate categories for TV supporting performances). But the two awards don’t always align despite overlap in their voting bodies. And it’d be foolish to ignore Keaton and what he brings to the table. He’s a well-known actor who’s beloved by his peers and who’s just given a heavy, memorable performance on a show based on real events. While he’s yet to win an individual SAG Award, he was nominated in 2008 for his performance in the TNT miniseries “The Company” and in 2015 on the film side for his excellent lead turn in “Birdman” (2014). As previously mentioned, he has also been part of three films that won the ensemble awards: “Birdman,” “Spotlight” (2015) and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020).
Keaton also benefits from having a series that aired more recently than the men ahead of him in the odds. “Mare of Easttown” and “Halston” premiered in April and May, respectively. And although “Scenes From a Marriage” debuted in September, the show never quite took off — in fact, the show was snubbed entirely by Critics Choice voters, and AFI left it off its list of the television programs of the year. While not the be-all, end-all, it certainly doesn’t bode well for Isaac’s chances at the SAG Awards.
Meanwhile, McGregor and “Halston” were similarly snubbed at the Critics Choice Awards while Keaton and Peters were recognized in the lead and supporting categories, respectively. Bartlett was also nominated in supporting, but “The White Lotus” was shut out of Best Limited Series, where “Dopesick” and “Mare of Easttown” are nominated. So, when it comes down to it, this feels like a battle between Peters — who is finally earning well-deserved recognition after a decade of excellent performances on “American Horror Story” — and Keaton, who is still in the midst of a major career resurgence since his starring role in “Birdman.” Given the latter’s history at the SAG Awards and the fact the former has never been nominated, it’d be more than foolish to count Keaton out. At this point, it feels like there’s very little the man can’t do.
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