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SAG Awards Nominations 2023 Analysis: Adam Sandler, Michelle Williams  

The morning after the Golden Globe Awards, SAG-AFTRA revealed its nominations for the 29th SAG Awards, and though there were far fewer categories, there were considerably more surprises.

It wasn’t that surprising, but is noteworthy nonetheless, that both The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once led the film field with a highly impressive five nominations each — both landed a highly coveted ensemble nom, plus four individual acting noms, including Barry Keoghan for Banshees and Stephanie Hsu for Everything, who were thought to be very much on the bubble. After these SAG Awards showings, there is no question that these two films are top-tier Oscar contenders, as well.

A little harder to decipher: the guild’s feelings about one of Tuesday night’s big winners, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. It scored noms for its ensemble nom and supporting actor Paul Dano, but not for Dano’s fellow supporting actor hopeful Judd Hirsch, and, even more notably, not for lead actress Michelle Williams. As great as Williams is in the film, I think she may have really hurt her prospects by electing to campaign as a lead actress in a year in which that category is just stacked.

Babylon and Women Talking also landed ensemble noms, which they both desperately needed to remain in the conversation. It’s a little weird, though, that SAG’s nominating committee liked the films enough to nominate their casts, but not enough to find room for, say, Babylon’s Margot Robbie or Brad Pitt or Women Talking’s Jessie Buckley or Claire Foy.

Netflix, which is working this season without the sort of top-tier contenders to which it is accustomed, certainly had plenty of cause to celebrate on Wednesday morning. The streamer missed an expected nom for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which had to hurt, and a hoped-for supporting actress nom for that film’s standout, Janelle Monae — but it did score three far-from-assured individual acting noms that have injected new life into those people’s Oscar campaigns: Hustle’s Adam Sandler for best actor, Blonde’s Ana de Armas for best actress and The Good Nurse’s Eddie Redmayne for best supporting actor. This should serve as a reminder that nom-com members, as much as anyone else, appreciate and take advantage of the convenience of watching a movie on the service.

Other notable inclusions: The Whale was recognized not just in the best actor category, for Brendan Fraser, but also in the best supporting actress category, for Hong Chau (who SAG-AFTRA also got behind five years ago for her turn in The Descendants); The Woman King’s Viola Davis landed a best actress nom, even as the distinguished ensemble of which she was a part was passed over; and Danielle Deadwyler, whose performance in Till was overlooked by the Globes, was highlighted by the guild.

As far as omissions, it’s interesting to me that the nom-com basically took a pass on the year’s biggest blockbuster contenders, awarding not a single nom — at least outside of the best stunts category — to Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water or Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Also notably MIA on Tuesday and in dire need of a rebound: Triangle of Sadness’s supporting actress Dolly De Leon, Empire of Light’s lead actress Olivia Colman, Tár’s supporting actress Nina Hoss and Causeway’s lead actress Jennifer Lawrence and supporting actor Brian Tyree Henry.

The next time to shine for many of the aforementioned films and people will be on Sunday night, when the Critics Choice Association holds the 28th Critics Choice Awards.

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