Emmy winner Gillian Anderson scored her 10th and 11th career SAG Award nominations this year for her acclaimed performance as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown,” and as part of the acclaimed ensemble for the Netflix flagship drama. It’s been 20 years since Anderson was last nominated at the SAG Awards. She enjoyed a streak of nominations for “The X-Files” for six consecutive years from 1996 to 2001, during which she reaped nine bids (three ensemble and six individual) for playing FBI Agent Dana Scully on Fox’s classic sci-fi drama. She won back-to-back Actors for best TV drama actress on her first two attempts in 1996 and 1997. Is she about to win again?
“The Crown” was created by Oscar, Emmy and Tony-nominated writer Peter Morgan and explores the history of the British royal family throughout the 20th century. The series’ current cast debuted in 2019 for its third season, with Oscar and Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman replacing Emmy winner Claire Foy in the lead role of Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies stepping in for Matt Smith as Prince Phillip, Helena Bonham Carter taking over for Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, and a number of new characters joining the ensemble like Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Erin Doherty as Princess Anne.
The fourth season premiered last November to rave reviews (rated 97% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and introduced relative newcomer Emma Corrin as Diana and Anderson as Thatcher, both of whom recently triumphed at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.
In taking on the role of the UK’s first female PM, Anderson drives much of the political drama for the season, which is set between 1979 and 1990. And her performance has gotten raves, with the actress now well on her way to claiming a major awards trifecta after her Globe and Critics Choice wins.
At the SAG Awards, Anderson competes against two of her “Crown” co-stars — Corrin and Colman — as well as Emmy winners Laura Linney and Julia Garner (“Ozark”) in the TV drama actress category, which groups lead and supporting performances into one race, making it all the more competitive. Corrin has her first and second nominations this year, individually and as part of the cast, while Colman has seven nominations to her name, including three this year alone (individual and ensemble bids for “The Crown” and a supporting film nomination for “The Father”). As for the “Ozark” women, Linney has amassed nine nominations to date (winning in 2009 for “John Adams”), while Garner has racked up four noms (all for “Ozark”), but no wins yet.
With strong reviews and strong odds, will Anderson actually win a third SAG Award? The guild clearly loves “The Crown” considering that it has won one or more prizes every year it has been eligible so far. For its first season in 2017, Foy won this category, while John Lithgow prevailed as the best TV drama actor for playing another prime minister, Winston Churchill. Foy won again in 2018. Then the show won its first (and so far only) ensemble prize in 2020.
‘The Crown” seems to be on a roll everywhere you look this year. It won four Golden Globes, more than it had ever won before in a single night: Best Drama Series, lead acting prizes for Corrin and O’Connor, and a supporting victory for Anderson. It cleaned up at the SAG Awards too with five nominations, which is also the best the show has done in a single year. Not bad for a show in its fourth season.
Anderson was front-and-center enough during the show’s fourth season, so perhaps vote-splitting with her co-stars won’t be a problem. SAG-AFTRA also hasn’t been as passionate about “Ozark” in the past (it has won only once, and it received fewer nominations this year than “The Crown”). And the two “Ozark” nominees could split each other’s votes too. So maybe it is safe to bet on Anderson to triumph at the SAG Awards.
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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