Oscar Watch: Acting categories take shape with SAG noms

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations have been announced, which means between this and the Golden Globes nominations, we have a pretty darn good idea of who the competition will be for the Oscars’ five Best Actor, Actress and Supporting Actor and Actress nominations — and the ultimate winner. “The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech” lead the SAG nominations with four each. Check out the list after the jump. The winners will be named January 30.

Best Ensemble

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Best Leading Actor

  • Jeff Bridges for “True Grit”
  • Robert Duvall for “Get Low”
  • Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network”
  • Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”
  • James Franco for “127 Hours”

Best Leading Actress

  • Annette Bening for “The Kids Are All Right”
  • Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole”
  • Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone”
  • Natalie Portman for “Black Swan”
  • Hilary Swank for “Conviction”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale for “The Fighter”
  • John Hawkes for “Winter’s Bone”
  • Jeremy Renner for “The Town”
  • Mark Ruffalo for “The Kids Are All Right”
  • Geoffrey Rush for “The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams for “The Fighter”
  • Helena Bonham Carter for “The King’s Speech”
  • Mila Kunis for “Black Swan”
  • Melissa Leo for “The Fighter”
  • Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit”

All the “favorites” in each category made the list, so there’s no devastating shockers here. The biggest nominees who just had their Oscar chances saved were Hilary Swank (“Conviction”) and John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone). Neither had been getting love from film critics or the Globes, so this was a huge pick-me up.

In Best Leading Actor, it looks as if, as suspected, there are three locks: Eisenberg, Firth and Franco. The final two spots will be where the competition is at. Bridges will look for a repeat nomination and Duvall, whose small film “Get Low” played this summer, will have to hope his status as a veteran will earn him a spot. The Globes tapped Mark Wahlberg and Ryan Gosling for the other two spots. “Blue Valentine” didn’t get any love from the Guild as Michelle Williams was not nominated either. The Globes are the only ones to give Wahlberg praise, so I have to lean toward the SAG nominees, especially since the Guild was 10/10 in predicting Leading Actor/Actress Oscar nominations last year.

Leading Actress appears a bit more defined. The first four on that list, so Bening, Kidman, Lawrence and Portman, all seem to be guaranteed spots as all received Globe nominations. The nomination for Swank, as I mentioned, will be a significant boost to her chances. The Globes nominated Halle Berry in advance of any buzz for playing a schizophrenic in “Frankie and Alice” as well as Michelle Williams for “Blue Valentine,” so tough imagining any other names will come along. As time goes on an “Blue Valentine” has its theatrical release, it might gain momentum, but the Academy does love Swank.

In Best Supporting Actor, Bale and Rush were the locks, but Jeremy Renner appears to be the third with both a Globe and SAG nomination — and he would definitely be deserving. As mentioned Hawkes got some serious help here. Ruffalo also got a major boost. His name had been drifting about in some critics circles, but the nod helps his chances considered he was denied a chance at the Globe. Don’t expect Globe nominee Michael Douglas to actually have a shot after this. The other name from the Globes was Andrew Garfield for “The Social Network,” who I’m crossing my fingers for come Oscar nomination time.

The Globes and SAG Awards are on the same page except one instance with Best Supporting Actress. Jacki Weaver, who received many accolades for the Australian film “Animal Kingdom,” was denied here in favor of the debut performance from Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit.” These young actors in great films tend to get love, but who might win the nomination? Weaver is a much older vet, but “True Grit” is bound to gain more momentum when it’s actually released on Christmas. As for the rest, Bonham-Carter is no surprise and she seems destined. Adams got a major bump in my eyes with this nomination, so I’ll just have to see “The Fighter” myself. The same for Kunis, though having just seen “Black Swan,” her performance is only effective in that it so blatantly clashes with Natalie Portman’s. Good performance, but an Oscar nomination? Not sure, but the category seems light this year.


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