SAG Awards TV: Rami Malek & Ellie Kemper Break Through, ‘Empire’ Is Left Out, Netflix Tops Network Tally


It’s been hard to have SAG voters at “hello”, with many freshman shows failing to land a single SAG Award nomination before going on to triumTransparent Season 2ph at other awards shows for their maiden seasons. Prior examples include Homeland, Orange Is The New Black, Veep as well as Transparent, The Affair and Jane The Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez last year. Add to the list Fox’s Empire, which also was left in the cold in its first go at the SAG Awards.

The omission of Amazon’s Transparent, a big winner at this year’s Golden Globes and Emmys, is being rectified withJon Hamm in Mad Men first SAG noms for Season 2, best comedy actor, Jeffrey Tambor, and best ensemble. And AMC veteran Mad Menwinner for best ensemble in 2009 and 2010, is making a comeback after being shut out completely for the past two years. The final run of the period drama was nominated for best ensemble as well as star Jon Hamm who has a chance to earn a first individual SAG Award in his last try as he did at the Emmys in September.

Netflix LogoThere was a changing of the guard in the networks’ standings. Paced by strong showings from veterans House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, Netflix led the pack with 8 noms, the first time a streaming service has topped the list. It landed its first nom in the longform categories with A Very Murray Christmas (Bill Murray). Usual leader, HBO, was second with 6 noms.

The SAG Awards as usual stuck mainly with old favorites, feting again Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie and Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey who both have been nominated for every season of their shows. The mention for the final season of Nurse Jackie brought Falco’s career tally to a record 22 SAG Award nominations, topping the previous high mark she set last year.

Still, there were more freshman series recognized this year than we’ve had in years, with nominations for Rami Malek of USA breakout drama Mr. Robot, Ellie Kemper of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bob Odenkirk of AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. (Odenkirk previously won an ensemble SAG Award as part of the cast of Breaking Bad, playing the same character).

Better Call Saul Season 2 2That is about as many SAG nominations first-year shows had scored over the past 5 years — How To Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis last year, House Of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey in 2013, the Game Of Thrones ensemble in 2011 and a surprise nomination for Suits‘ Patrick J. Adams in 2011. Malek follows in Adams’ footsteps as the breakout young star of a hit new USA summer series.

The SAG Awards also served a mild surprise in the comedy ensemble category this year by giving a first nomination to a sketch series, Comedy Central’s departing Key & Peele. But the network’s other hit sketch comedy, Inside Amy Schumer, and its red-hot star, are yet to get a recognition by the guild.

The rest were all returning nominees, including all of last year’s winners who all are back, best drama actor (Spacey), best drama actress (Davis), best drama ensemble (Downton Abbey), best comedy actor (Shameless‘ William H. Macy), best comedy actress (Orange’s Uzo Aduba), best comedy ensemble (Orange Is The New Black).

HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which has dominated the drama series stunt category, winning it every year, has a chance to continue its momentum from the Emmys where it rode a tidal wave to a record-breaking 12 wins, including best drama series. In addition to extending its streak in the stunt category, the HBO fantasy drama is seeking its first acting SAG wins with nominations for best ensemble and best actor, Emmy winner Peter Dinklage.

Netflix’s House Of Cards topped the list of programs with most nominations. It landed 3, tied with GOT and Showtime’s Homeland whose tally included stunt noms.

In the longform field, FX’s Fargo was shut out for its second installment after landing a nom for star Billy Bob Thornton last year. Meanwhile, Kristen Wiig got a surprise nom for IFC spoof The Spoils Before Dying and Spike TV logged a first nom for Tut (Ben Kingsley).

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