These days, limited series are some of the most buzzed-about shows on television. Just look at this year’s Emmy nominees for Best Limited Series: “I May Destroy You,” “Mare of Easttown,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Underground Railroad” and “WandaVision.” All five programs featured a slew of top-notch performances which earned critical acclaim. Yet, the Screen Actors Guild Awards do not reflect this changing reality. They don’t have a category that celebrates ensembles of limited series and TV movies.
While SAG hands out cast prizes to comedies and dramas, limited series/TV movies only have individual male and female categories. This has prevented some of the great companies from limited series like “Angels in America,” “John Adams,” “The People v O.J. Simpson” and the first season of “Big Little Lies” from receiving their much-earned recognition from their peers. While specific cast members did earn their own nominations and wins, the success of all of those shows came from the work done by their entire ensembles.
This year, there are many stellar ensembles that could have received SAG recognition if there was a category for them, including “Mare of Easttown,” “The White Lotus,” “The Underground Railroad,” “Impeachment,” “Maid,” “Dopesick” and “Nine Perfect Strangers.” As in the past, many of the individual performers from these shows are expected to score SAG nominations, but most of their co-stars will go unacknowledged.
The most common argument against adding a limited series/TV movie ensemble category at the SAG Awards is that the ceremony is already unbalanced enough with TV categories vs. film. SAG hands out eight TV awards on the telecast versus five for film, and an additional TV category would give it almost double the attention compared to film.
There are many fixes that could be made if SAG is hesitant to simply adding another TV category, such as adding the film stunt ensemble category to the telecast, creating a new film ensemble award for comedy, making it a two-and-a-half-hour show. Regardless of what would need to be shifted, it’s time that limited series and TV movies got some equal recognition at the SAG Awards.
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