“LOST MUSKET DIARY” Monday January 26, 2015
Mostly Cloudy 74°F/23°C in Rancho Santa Margarita
Over the weekend, I posted my very first attempt to predict the outcome of one of Hollywood’s top awards programs for films and television, the SAG Awards.
The voters have spoken.
But, that…as they say, is “Show Biz.”
Now, my intent in even writing about this was to share with you, gentle reader, some of the back-story thinking on why I believe the SAG Awards are the very best barometer of an actor’s work. These awards are bestowed on the performers, by a jury of their peers. Of the top industry honors presented to actors, the SAG Awards are selected by the 111,228 members of SAG-AFTRA. The awards date back 21 years, when the program was created by the Screen Actors Guild. SAG and AFTRA – the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, merged in 2012 to become the present day amalgam SAG-AFTRA. While members of the Motion Picture Academy and the Television Academy, who fall into several different categories, vote for recipients of the Oscars and Emmys, with the SAG Awards, performers vote for performers.
Each year SAG-AFTRA members like me are given the opportunity to view the nominated productions. The union and the studios host screenings, send out DVD copies of nominated films, and give access to internet streaming sites so the members can watch the performances. It can be a very time consuming process. It also serves to enhance the sense of community felt by people in the entertainment industry, and I believe the process enhances the validation as performers felt by the recipients of the SAG Awards. In the industry, it has long been felt that the SAG Awards also point the way to how the Oscars and the Emmys will be awarded.
Now, as for this year’s SAG Awards. If this were a Supreme Court decision, I would be the Justice tasked with writing the dissenting brief, or the minority report. In short, I was way off the mark in my choices.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times this morning, the SAG Awards went to:
· “Birdman” won the SAG Award for Best Cast, the closest award to Oscar’s Best Picture. (I picked “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” “Birdman” also beat out “Boyhood,” “The Imitation Game,” and “The Theory of Everything.”
· Eddie Redmayne won the lead actor award for “The Theory of Everything.” (I picked Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game).”
· Julianne Moore for Lead Actress in “Still Alice.” (I chose Keira Knightly for “Imitation Game.”)
· Patricia Arquette for Supporting Actress in “Boyhood.” (I went with Felicity Jones in “Theory of Everything.”)
· J.K. Simmons, Supporting Actor in “Whiplash.” (Simmons is really one of my favorite actors, but I was thinking “Lifetime Achievement” kudo and went with Robert Duvall).
I didn’t post any choices in the television category since I felt there were too many choices and too many programs to really screen all of them and render an opinion.
I also want to take a moment to thank my friend John Corcoran for his note to me right after he saw my blog post. “Cork” is the real deal. He’s a real, live film and television critic and still plies the trade. Here’s his note:
“I don't really have a dog in this fight as it were, but I agree the SAG awards are among the classier award shows given each year. I have a few disagreements. I'd start with my choice for best actress, which would be Julianne Moore. This was a very demanding role, one of great subtlety and nuance, and had to be played by an actor unafraid to express the non-linear working of Alzheimer's. One day fine, one day convinced you've utterly lost it. Nice to see a part where the victim is self-analytical and smart enough to know what's wrong with her and provide play-by-play. In supporting actor, you favor a veteran master actor well known and previously honored for extraordinary work in his long career. Good work by Mr. Duvall but nothing approaching a career best. That can't be said of J.K. Simmons, whose performance isn't just great, but a quantum measure above anything I've ever seen him in before. Not only do I believe his a great performance, but a one-for-the-ages level performance. He is no mere monster here, and he does some wonderful things to add to the quirkiness of the monster he could have been if played as a caricature. Give Duval a Life Achievement award, but after all those years of toiling in obscurity as a Veteran Character I believe Simmons deserves the Oscar and will get it.”
Thanks, John. I appreciate your comment. We agree on Simmons. I’ve got my fingers crossed for him. And, next year at SAG Awards time, I’ll defer to you on predicting the outcomes.