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« Outstanding Achievement in Abs: Alexander Skarsgård| Main| Mad Max,Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett Win Big at the Australian Academy »
Wednesday
Dec 09 2015

SAG Ensemble -- Everyone's Nominated...Except for You!

Happy SAG NOMINATION DAY!It's time for ourgloriousdepressing tradition of trying to convince a UNION that they ought to look into slightly different rules that are less likely to devalue their dues paying members.Each year when the SAG ensemble nominees are announced the list of actual nominees from the films reveal that non-big name actors are routinely excluded.The problem is that the size of your fame doesn't always correlate with your role and the bulk of SAG's membership is non-famous actors.If you're curious about why this happens it's due to the rules that you have to have your own title card to be considered part of the official ensemble.In other words you need to a) be famous or b) have a really good agent or c) have the leading role.The only exception to this rule is when the credits don't follow the normal rules.For example Woody Allen movies always list the cast alphabetically on a shared title card.In those cases,you have to be on the first title card to make it in which is whyCorey Stoll,who gave the best performance inMidnight in Paris,was left out that year.He wasn't famous enough yet to be on the first page of credits.Now he tends to get his own title card.

So let's look at who was honored and who was mistreated this morning by the group nominations.

BEASTS OF NO NATION
Nominated Cast: Abraham Attah,Idris Elba,Kurt Egyiawan (as "2nd I-C")

Who was left out: Just about everyone which makes it the strangest nomination of the group.Does three make an ensemble?I have not yet seen the film -- child soldier dramas are a subgenre I avoid like the plague since they're mentally scarring -- but I hear thatEmmanuel Nii Adom Quayewho plays "Strika"is quite good in the movie.

moreafter the jump...

The Big Short has a number of memorable one-scene wondersAdepero Oduye has a good sized role in The Big Short

THE BIG SHORT
Nominated Cast: Christian Bale,Steve Carell,Ryan Gosling,Melissa Leo,Hamish Linklater,John Magaro,Brad Pitt,Rafe Spall,Jeremy Strong,Marisa Tomei,and Finn Wittrock

Who was left out:Adepero Oduye,who we chatted with at the premiere and who previously wowed inthe LGBT dramaPariah,has a larger role than either of the two women nominated for this ensemble so she's excluded simply because she's less famous.Though the actors who do comic cameos as themselves were rightly exluded (they're kind of outside the narrative) memorable one scene wonders that should have been included involvedByron Mann,Max Greenfield,and TFE favoriteBilly Magnussen

Jamey Sheridan gives on of Spotlight's most incisive performances.

SPOTLIGHT
Nominated Cast: Billy Crudup,Brian D'Arcy James,Michael Keaton,Rachel McAdams,Mark Ruffalo,Liev Schreiber,John Slattery,and Stanley Tucci

Who was left out: The number one horror in terms of exclusion isJamey Sheridanwho is amazing as "Jim Sullivan"and gets one of the film's key and best scenes as he and Keaton do some uncomfortable soul searching and blame-laying.Every single victim of abuse that gives their testimony was excluded and how do you leave out theater greatLen Cariouwho plays the system enabling "Cardinal Law"

R Marcos Taylor plays Suge Knight in the music bio

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Nominated Cast: Neil Brown Jr,Paul Giamatti,Corey Hawkins,Aldis Hodge,O'Shea Jackson Jr,and Jason Mitchell

Who was left out: The most obvious "why is he excluded?"isR Marcos Taylorwho has a fairly large role as "Suge Knight"andShort Term 12breakoutKeith Stanfieldas "Snoop Dogg"but there's alsoMarlon Yates Jras "The D.O.C.".And thoughComptonhas a lot of trouble with misogyny there are a few girlfriends/wives who get more than one scene.

TRUMBO
Nominated Cast: Adewale Akinnyoye-Agbaje,Louis CK,Bryan Cranston,David James Elliott,Elle Fanning,John Goodman,Diane Lane,Helen Mirren,Michael Stuhlbarg,and Alan Tudyk

Who was left out:  All of Trumbo's kids (save Elle Fanning) who are in quite a few scenes are missing,John Getz as "Sam Wood"and Roger Bart as "Buddy Ross"are also not accounted for despite fairly big roles.  Worst of all the ensemble nomination is missing Dean O'Gorman as Kirk Douglas and Christian Berkel as Otto Preminger.They both show up late in the narrative but they have crucial roles and do right by those memorable men.

What do you make of their choices for ensemble and is there any way at all to fix the issue of who is or isn't included?

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Reader Comments (23)

Just saw Big Short and thought the movie was a little better than ok,but loved all the one scene players and am sad that they didn't make it on the list for this.

More depressing is Spotlight,who stacked the deck with actors who were great in every size role.The movie works because not one person drops the ball with their part.

These two movies epitomized working as an ensemble and it's sad to see not every member share in the glory.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris James

Netflix really did their part to shoehorn Beasts of No Nation back into the discussion.Even The Artist had more people on their cast list when they were nommed for Best Ensemble.

As for how to fix it,there has to be some kind of mathematical way to solve it.Percentage of time onscreen?Maybe you miss big 3 minute cameos,but at least that way you're not excluding someone with a major part who just isn't famous.I don't know though.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterKacey B.

All together,there are 39 performers nominated for the ensembles.

6 of those people are female.

Just let that sink in.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterConMan1226

Brooklyn was roobed.And looted.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

And in a year when there were female ensemble films to choose from...

December 9,2015 | Unregistered Commenterjamie

The fact that they didn't go for any of Room,Carol or Brooklyn,is made worse by the fact that they leave out key players in their ensemble nominees.I mean,what is the point of an ensemble if you're only gonna nominate three actors,and leave out 3-5 others who also did good work in smaller or larger (in the case of Strika) roles.That is just absurd,and they should definitely change their rules on that immediately.It is beyond unfair,and good on you,Nathaniel,for pointing it out every year.I wish more people would speak up about it.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRenton

Politics will play a role for distributors for award campaigns.SAG has no interest in making trophies for an entire cast.Someone crucial will be left out due to the fame game.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I must say three of these nominations really surprise me,not necessarily in a bad way.And I've only seen three of them (keep missingBeastsandTrumbo),which is also surprising.Strange year this is.

It's a stupid rule designed mainly to keep down the cost of those statuettes but I have to admit I wouldn't know how to fix it.Oh wait--how about anyone who gets any sized title card outside the end credits scroll,plus significant uncredited cameos?Or just let the producers submit a cast list.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

@ConMan1226 - Thank you for pointing that out about the lack of female representation.What a depressing statistic.

Beasts of No Nation - There aren't a large number of standout roles or performances in this movie,but Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye was definitely snubbed.

Spotlight - I was wondering if Billy Crudup would end up getting nominated with the rest of the cast since he's not part of the team,nor does he have a big role.Looks like being famous really does help A LOT.

Straight Outta Compton - Thank you for pointing out R.Marcos Taylor's glaring omission.Since I think there are three leads in this movie,I would hail Taylor as the best supporting actor of the film (ahead of Paul Giamatti.) His exclusion from Best Ensemble is ridiculous.

I have yet to see The Big Short and Trumbo,but based on the discussion,I am now more curious about the former.I'm interested in seeing Adepero Oduye and the memorable cameos I know nothing about.Trumbo already looks like my kind of movie and this SAG nomination makes me wonder if it's headed to bigger things come Oscar time.The Golden Globes will paint a bigger picture.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterSean Troutman

These are a DISATUH.Zero female-led films make the cut in a year when there are so many.Awful.

For Beasts,I will echo that Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye should be there.

How in the world did Jamey Sheridan get snubbed?Worse though are the men who play the victims in the film.For me,they are the heart of the story and provide the best performances.Michael Cyril Creighton especially,but also Jimmy LeBlanc and Neal Jay Huff.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

I would dearly love this article to be printed in full in a 1-page Variety FYC ad.Because this really is for consideration.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobUK

This is a damn shame.I don't know how you can talk about Spotlight and not talk about those three actors playing the victims.And yes to Jamey Sheridan,Len Carioiu and PAUL GUILFOYLE who amazing in it.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

@ConMan1226,@Jamie - I thought Brooklyn,Room,Suffragette,Carol,and Mad Max,Sicario were sure bets for ensemble and NONE of them were nominated???
That bugs me the most.

As for how you change the rules - seems to me the producers should enter a cast list of no more than 10 names and just go from there.10 is an arbitrary number but it makes as much sense as the title card rule and would be more democratic between famous and not so famous actors.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Yah the title card rule is really unfair.The studio already submit the actors for the individual categories (ie.supporting or lead),it's not that huge of a leap /admin task to submit the cast list also.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRami

So did the SAG committee vote for Beasts of No Nation knowing it only 3 actors could be included?

Sad that only 6 women form part of the Ensemble nominees.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I just visited The Hollywood Reporter website where the whole web page is devoted to their annual THR "Women in Entertainment"event.Lovely timing - the same day Lena Dunham,Barbra Streisand,Melinda Gates,Donna Langley,etc are discussing how to achieve equality in Hollywood SAG gives us the female free version of the Ensemble award.
The Irony sucks...

Thanks SAG nice to see you don't value half your membership and 51% of ticket buying public.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I also avoid miserable child soldier parable films like the plague,but I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the movie and how much it was a celebration of life,not death.Also,the filmmaking is some of the most beautiful this year.

As for the SAG nomination for ensemble,I don't know what the hell that's about.It's practically like nominating Cast Away or Gravity for it,but if they were going to nominate it,Strika should absolutely have been included.Probably comes close to the amount of screen time Idris has.Also,the actors playing his family don't have huge parts,but they're all very good.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered Commenterwill h

Tha's ok.Trumbo is LEE DANIELS THE BUTLER this year,so don't expect them on oscars.亚博主页And Adepero Oduye OUT????SAG members,check yourselfs from head to bottom for god!!!!!!

December 9,2015 | Unregistered Commenterstepford

"So did the SAG committee vote for Beasts of No Nation knowing it only 3 actors could be included?"

That's actually a super interesting question,BVR.I genuinely wonder whether voters thought they were going to be honouring a wider group of actors than just three.

Those SPOTLIGHT exclusions sting as they're all part of what makes the ensemble work.And Oduye,whose film I have not seen (but will),is disappointing to be seen left off simply because,yes,she's one of those actors who needs recognition to get more roles.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

LadyEdith,you thought six films were sure things in a five member category?

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I hate this category more and more each year.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Arkaan,no I just thought those 6 films would be very much in the conversation as ensemble pieces.I thought Spotlight would be a mainstream choice,but I wasn't sure what other films had the inside track.

But my point was that there were 6 very strong choices with strong FEMALES.
I thought at least Brooklyn and Carol would make the cut.But my definition of ensemble acting clearly differs from SAG ensembles which tend towards "Biggest Movies with most famous cast members tendancy."

It now seems that SAG has a further requirement that only ensembles that are 80% MALE will be considered.Male acting is considered stronger and more worthy of awards attention than female acting.At least as far as SAG is concerned which is truly despicable.

December 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Thanks for explaining the rules,which confused me.Basket of Kisses is very excited that Slattery is up for a movie AND for Mad Men.

December 10,2015 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

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