By JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Will Smith, Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck landed individual nominations for the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday, while the casts of “Belfast” and “CODA” were among those nominated for the guild’s top award, best ensemble.
The nominees were announced Wednesday by actors Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson on Instagram Live. While the nominations were conducted virtually due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the streamed announcement still represented one of the most meaningful mornings in an awards season largely snuffed out by the pandemic.
Joining “Belfast” and “CODA” for best ensemble were the casts for “House of Gucci,” “Don’t Look Up” and “King Richard.” Notably left out were the casts of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (which did land a supporting nod for Ariana DeBose) and Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog.” Campion’s film, though, landed three individual SAG noms: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
The Golden Globes, usually the kickoff party in the final stretch leading up to the Academy Awards, made barely a peep. They were unceremoniously announced Sunday on Twitter in a private ceremony due to Hollywood’s boycott of the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association over diversity and ethical issues. The Omicron surge also prompted the Critics Choice Awards to postpone its January 9 in-person gala. For the second year, Oscar season has gone virtual — and struggled to make much noise.
Wednesday’s SAG nominations, at least, confirmed that this year’s Academy Awards race has plenty of star power.
The nominees for best male lead actor are: Will Smith (“King Richard”), Cumberbatch, Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”) and Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”).
Up for best female lead are: Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”), Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) and Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”).
The SAG Awards, presented by the actors guild SAG-AFTRA, are among the most reliable Oscar bellwethers. Seldom does a movie or performance not nominated by the screen actors end up winning at the Academy Awards. Actors make up the biggest percentage of the film academy, so their choices have the largest sway.
But last year, SAG and the academy diverged more than usual. Only one of its acting winners — Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) — repeated at the Oscars. (The other SAG winners were Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and Yuh-Jung Youn in “Minari.”) The Aaron Sorkin courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” won best ensemble at a virtual SAG Awards while Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” — which included many nonprofessional actors and went unnominated for ensemble — triumphed at the Oscars.
The 28th annual SAG Awards are to be held Feb. 27 and will be broadcast on TNT and TBS. The Oscars are scheduled for March 27.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP
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