SAG Awards nominee profile: ‘Dead to Me’ would follow previous dramedy ensembles that claimed comedy prize

For its second season, Netflix’s “Dead to Me” scored three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, including one for TV Comedy Ensemble. Its lead actresses Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, who play best friends linked by tragedy Jen and Judy, respectively, both earned nominations for Best TV Comedy Actress as well. The ensemble bid recognizes these two individual nominees plus cast members Max Jenkins, James Marsden, Sam McCarthy, Natalie Morales, Diana Maria Riva and Luke Roessler.

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

Applegate, Cardellini and Marsden all have past track records at the SAG Awards, although none of them have won a trophy to date. Applegate has six career nominations, including the two she earned this year, and she impressively earned five of those six as individual bids in the Comedy Actress category for both “Samantha Who?” and “Dead to Me.” Cardellini has three SAG nominations: two this year for “Dead to Me” and one previous bid as a member of the ensemble of the film “Brokeback Mountain.” Marsden has four previous SAG citations as an ensemble member of both TV series and films, including “Hairspray,” “30 Rock,” “The Butler” and “Westworld,” with those bids for “30 Rock” and “The Butler” impressively in the same year.

The other five “Dead to Me” cast members are all first-time nominees, including Max Jenkins, who plays Jen’s friend and business partner Christopher; Sam McCarthy, who plays Jen’s oldest son Charlie; Natalie Morales, who was introduced in the second season as Michelle, a love interest for Judy; Diana Maria Riva as Ana Perez, the detective looking into Steve’s disappearance; and Luke Roessler, Jen’s youngest son Henry.

SEE How ‘Schitt’s Creek’ can make SAG Awards history with an ensemble victory

In the second and penultimate season of “Dead to Me,” Jen and Judy handle the aftermath of Steve’s (Marsden) death, a secret that gets harder and harder to keep under wraps after Steve’s twin brother Ben (also played by Marsden) arrives to search for him. Both Jen and Judy find new love – Jen inconveniently with Ben and Judy with Michelle, who even more inconveniently used to date the lead investigator looking into Steve’s disappearance. While Jen and Judy try to keep Jen’s two sons in the dark about their misdeeds, her boys unknowingly tamper with importance evidence, and the season concludes with Jen nearly sacrificing everything to keep them safe.

If “Dead to Me” sounds a bit too dark to pull off a Comedy ensemble victory, past SAG history shows that actors often love a good dramedy. Though past winners include hilarious sitcoms from “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and “Frasier” to “Will & Grace,” “Modern Family” and “Veep,” voters have gone for their fair share of genre-bending shows and dark comedies, too. “Ally McBeal” and “Glee” both won in this category, while “Desperate Housewives” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” both pulled off two consecutive victories, and “Orange is the New Black” prevailed three times in a row. To continue that trend, “Dead to Me” will have to best similarly hybrid fare like “The Flight Attendant” and “The Great” as well as feel-good comedies “Schitt’s Creek” and “Ted Lasso.”

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