SAG Awards nominee profile: Christina Applegate (‘Dead to Me’) vies for overdue trophy from acting peers

For the second consecutive year, Christina Applegate has earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking performance on Netflix’s “Dead to Me.” Applegate’s turn as Jen Harding on the dark comedy scored her two bids this year for the show’s second season for both Comedy Actress and Comedy Ensemble.

Unlike last year, Applegate is joined in the Best TV Comedy Actress category by her costar Linda Cardellini, who was snubbed for her performance in the first season. Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”), Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”) and Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”) round out the five nominees. Cardellini, Cuoco, and Murphy have all just earned their first individual SAG nominations, though they have each received ensemble bids in the past. O’Hara returns to this race for the second time, and she previously netted a solo nomination for the movie “Temple Grandin” and boasts two ensemble bids for “Schitt’s Creek.”

SEE ‘Schitt’s Creek’ and ‘The Crown’ eye unprecedented domination of the SAG Awards

Applegate’s history at SAG makes her the most overdue veteran of this line-up. She has six career nominations, including three consecutive bids for “Samantha Who?,” two for “Dead to Me” and one as a member of the “Dead to Me” ensemble. Cuoco bests Applegate in sheer number of nominations – she has six as a member of the ensemble of “The Big Bang Theory” and individual and ensemble citations for “The Flight Attendant” – but before this year Cuoco never had the solo recognition that Applegate has received five times now.

This impressive number of nominations could certainly help Applegate overcome her incredibly difficult competition, but it could also mark a different milestone: a loss this year would make her tied with Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) as the actress with the most nominations in this category without a single win.

She certainly has the material to warrant her first-ever SAG Awards victory this year, though. In the second season of “Dead to Me,” Applegate’s Jen reels from her role in the death of her best friend Judy’s former fiancé Steve (James Marsden) and finds herself outside of her comfort zone when she falls for Steve’s twin brother Ben. Jen also wages a bureaucratic battle with her town council to install a stop sign at a dangerous turn in her neighborhood, a war of wills that brings her face to face with a man who sexually assaulted her in the first season. Applegate’s character requires her to walk an emotional tightrope, and she does so in such a seemingly effortless way that her fellow actors may find her impressive range hard to resist.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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