SAG Awards Film: Robert Redford Shocker Shakes Up Race As Actors Boost Chances For 'Butler', 'August' And 'Dallas'

Without question the biggest surprise coming out of this morning’s all important announcement of the Screenrobertredfordlost2 Actors Guild Award nominations in film was the absence of Robert Redford‘s tour de force one-man show in All Is Lost in the Best Actor category. The New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor winner was shut out and that could have an effect on shaking up what is an extremely competitive category. Redford was widely expected to be a major factor here — he has only been Oscar-nominated as an actor once, for 1973’s The Sting, and never in the 20-year history of the SAG Awards — and since SAG is one of the most reliable precursors of Oscar noms, his omission is a troubling sign. Adding insult to injury SAG did nominate the “stunt ensemble” of All Is Lost (is that just one guy?) even though when I interviewed him Redford told me he did most of his own stunts in the movie. Go figure.Then again, last year SAG and Oscar disagreed at least once in every category and matched in just 14 of 20 main acting nominees, so although this is a setback for Redford, it’s not a knockout. In the last two decades it’s been highly unusual for an actor not at least nominated by SAG to go on and actually win at the Oscars. But it actually happened last year when Christoph Waltz took the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Django Unchained after being the only one of the field who was not also a SAG nominee.

Related: SAG Awards Nominations Announced

12 Years A SlaveThe Django factor could also be comforting to the Christmas Day release The  Wolf Of Wall Street, another film completely shut out this morning. Like Django it came to the game extremely late with its first SAG screenings only 10 days ago, and Paramount sent out no DVD screeners to the SAG Nominating Committee of 2000 randomly chosen members from around the country. That is why its absence from the list of Outstanding Cast, as well as for its most talked-about performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, is not really surprising. It’s a good bet to say a great number of voters just didn’t see the film in time. That won’t be a factor with the Academy, which doesn’t even get its ballots until the end of the month.

With Redford and DiCaprio, both still strong Oscar possibilities, missing  from the lead actor lineup, you can’tLee-Daniels-The-Butler-poster__130723170234-275x308 say among those who were nominated — Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey,  Tom Hanks, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Forest Whitaker — that there were any stunning surprises. It’s a killer category and a few votes either way can make a huge difference.  The showing for Whitaker was a big boost to The Weinstein Company’s August release Lee Daniels’ The Butlerwhich also nabbed a Cast nomination and a Supporting Actress nod for Oprah Winfrey but was thought by many pundits to be fading. SAG, the first of the very important guild groups to weigh in on the race, has just brought it roaring back to life — at least for the moment.  It does have one of the largest, starriest casts of the year and that could definitely be a factor here. The same is true for Weinstein’s very actor-centric August: Osage County  (like Wolf a Christmas Day release but one which has been widely available to view), which not surprisingly landed a Cast nom  and individual nods for Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. This is a group of actors voting for a movie that is completely driven by actors. It hasn’t been mentioned in any of the early critics awards but could do well at the Oscars since the biggest branch there by far belongs to the actors.

Meryl_Streep_August_Osage_County.png.CROP.rectangle3-largeWith Streep joined by Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Emma Thompson, the lead actress race went down exactly as expected. All are former Oscar winners and I expect all to be nominated again January 16th. Same for the Supporting Actress race: Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and June Squibb joining Winfrey and Roberts.

The Best Supporting Actor race, like Best Actor,  is a fluid one that could have gone many ways. Tom Hanks’ omission as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks surprised me, but perhaps SAG felt one nod for Captain Phillips was enough. But no surprise here for the nom for his co-star in that film. Newcomer Barkhad Abdi of Captain Phillips simply wowed SAG Nom Comm Q&As (as well as Deadline’s own THE CONTENDERS event). At one SAG gathering he got the longest standing ovation I can ever remember.  The nod to the late James Gandolfini for Enough Said was also widely expected along with frontrunners Jared Leto and Michael Fassbender. Daniel Bruhl’s inclusion for Ron Howard’s Formula One racing drama Rush might surprise some since Rush had been fading from the awards conversation, but it’s an extremely strong performance and the filmmakers even threw some parties to make sure he wasn’t forgotten. Look for Bruhl to further grease his Oscar chances with a Golden Globe nomination tomorrow. And — shocker — look also for Rush to be the surprise Globe nominee forcaptain-phillips__131117155840 Best Motion Picture Drama, maybe even Howard in directing. HFPA members to whom I have spoken have been talking it up for weeks.

In the SAG category of Outstanding Cast of a Motion Picture — which some compare to the equivalent of a Best Picture category (but how are you going to nominate a Gravity here?) — the biggest surprise was the inclusion of Dallas Buyers Club, since its main cast really just consists of McConaughey and Leto, both already individually nominated, and Jennifer Garner. If SAG is sending a signdallas-buyers-club__130908072527-275x275 for the Oscar race it could be with this nomination. I might have thought Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks , Nebraska, or the completely and unfairly ignored Inside Llewyn Davis might have grabbed a slot. Or even Prisoners which has a great ensemble.

Oh, and did I mention SAG’s front runner, 12 Years A Slave? With four key nominations it leads the field and did exactly what it needed to do after a spotty run  in early critics contests. And with the first major guild verdict in, Fox Searchlight should be thrilled.

    1. Similarly, according to film journalism and movie awards organizations:

      BOX OFFICE SUCCESS = CALIBER OF FILMMAKING

  1. No Redford?
    Shame on you, SAG.

    Also: no Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis”?

    Again, the hammiest acting gets nods, the subtle mastery gets overlooked.

    1. I have to believe Redford’s exclusion is due to his not having a large swelling of support from television actors. Whitaker is a fine actor overall, but his performance in “The Butler” should not even be in the conversation.

      I suspect Oscar voters will be more discerning in their selection.

  2. Aren’t you really saying the most effective circulation of screeners in the end wins the day? Certainly a far cry from the movie palaces of yore.

  3. I’ve been predicting for weeks that Redford would be the odd man out as far as the supposed frontrunners. The film laid an egg at the box office and people just didn’t get it – it got dismissed as that ‘old guy in a boat’ movie. No fair, but, that’s the way it is.

  4. Glad for Bruce Dern. If “driver” was released today he would have gotten another Oscar nod.

    Sad for Oscar Isaac – the guy has a terrific career ahead of him regardless and probably will land that Oscar nod, but it’s sad that McConaughey impersonating Christian Bale gets voted ahead of him.

  5. Did you forget about Million Dollar Baby’s nomination for that incredible ensemble of….THREE PEOPLE? They didn’t even bother bending the rules of screen credits to allow some of the other actors to be included and not embarrassingly make this a nomination for three people. And some of those actors were Brian F O Byrne, Margo Martindale, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena and Jay Baruchel…nowhere near unknowns or lesser background actors.

    So with that precedent, everybody should be ok with Dallas Buyers Club.

  6. It just goes to show what a strong year it is for performances. Some people will certainly be shut out of the Academy nominations. But, at least with all the different award groups, someone not getting an Oscar nod can outright win somewhere else. I do hope Redford gets nominated by the Academy, and also Will Forte for his great work in Nebraska.

  7. While Robert Redford was once a box office hit, his days are over. He continues to involve himself in issues to make himself appear relevant when HE IS NOT. I can say this because I am now at that state, but Redford is OLD. Time for him to do away with his hair dye, and do something useful that old people do when they reach that age.

    1. Feel sorry for you dude. You do sound old and useless. However, Redford is still delivering powerful, and even action-oriented performances. Hats off to Bruce Dern too. You’re never too old to rock and roll, and act too, if you’re young at heart.

  8. I read a book about the indie film biz and apparently Redford treats himself like an American Olivier and expects others to do the same. Sounds like payback time.

  9. Robert Redford should now concentrate on the Sunset Sundance cinemas which are continually empty because they play nothing but Sundance crap films. Bring back Laemmle.

    As for the SAG awards. A total joke. A walk on or a bit and you are a member of SAG

    Streep chews the scenery in August. Needs a butler to drop a tray on her.

  10. “his omission is a troubling sign…”

    syrian holocaust, the philllipines catastrophe, redford’s SAG ommission. all extremely troubling.

    1. No one is comparing the SAG award voting to serious problems and issues in the world-except you. Don’t be a d**k.

  11. It’s getting to the point where there are more awards given, than movies being made
    At this point who really cares
    I’M dating myself, but I do remember when the Academy Award was a big deal, that was all you talked about
    Who was nominated, what they wore, what was their acceptance speech
    it was all important But that like Miss Rheingold, is long gone

  12. Every single ounce of SAG, the Oscars, Hollywood, etc., is a big WHO CARES in my book, and this is coming from a film lover. But NOT a recent film lover. I enjoyed films when they were not full of gratuitous, pervasive language, digital effects, highly distasteful subject matter, political correctness, radical/anti-American mindsets, no likeable characters, massive egos, and so on. Combine all that with all the influence peddling, bribery and casting couches inherent in the business of winning big awards, and it leaves a real bad taste in the mouth.

  13. I think Redford himself is glad that he’s not nominated for a SAG award because such an honor is often given to actors who gave outstanding performances in ensemble movies.

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