The Oscar stage is now set and with a few shake ups to the race. Three of the major guilds presented their awards this weekend, most prominently of which was the Screen Actors Guild awards. In a night of political advocacy and rousing speeches it might have been who actually won the awards which was the most surprising. Let’s take a quick look at all of the winners, starting first with the television awards.
We start off with an award that was no surprise as Sarah Paulson took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie. I have been singing her praises for her work in The People vs. O.J. Simpson for almost a year now and rightfully so. She elevates the role of Marcia Clark and really shows the human side behind someone who was seemingly reviled at the time. On the opposite end of the spectrum it was really surprising that Bryan Cranston won the Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for his work as Lyndon Johnson in All the Way. Don’t get me wrong, I bet he was fantastic because Cranston always is, but the front runners were thought to be Paulson’s team member from the show Sterling K. Brown and her opposition in the show Courtney B. Vance. Can’t help, but feel that both of these guys were snubbed for their stellar work.
In the television comedy categories we got another dose of “saw that coming from a mile away” and another surprise. Julia Louis-Dreyfus will win every award ever until she dies so we should just get used to it at this point. The real surprise when came when William H. Macy pulled out the upset over Jeffrey Tambor and Anthony Anderson. The theme that seemed run through the night is that SAG wanted to reward older respected actors who do not often get their due and this fits that bill. I am super happy for Macy because he is one of our best character actors working today. The award for cast in a comedy series went to SAG favorite Orange is the New Black. The show is great and the cast is as diverse as it can get, but every time this wins I cannot help but feel they cheated the system because OITNB is hardly a comedy.
The surprise in the television drama categories did not come from the individual categories, but the ensemble one. As expected Clair Foy pulled out the win for Actress in a Drama series. Everyone in Hollywood is seemingly in love with The Crown right now and I can’t really comment because I have not seen it. I had hoped Thandie Newton might get some love, but I knew this was coming. Also not so surprising was seeing John Lithgow also win for The Crown. This was very easy to guess because Lithgow is well respected in the industry, was long overdue for this award, and was playing an important historical figure in Winston Churchill. Plus he fits into that category I was speaking of earlier of older actors getting their due this year. It was also great to see Lithgow’s genuine surprise and earnestness up at the podium as he kind of fumbled through his speech. The big surprise for me was when Stranger Things pulled out the award for best ensemble from a drama series. I thought they had no chance with the likes of The Crown, Game of Thrones and Westworld in the category, but the actors must have really loved the show. Seeing all of the kid’s excitement was also awesome as well as David Harbour’s rousing speech in which he seemed to channel Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore from Independence Day.
Last night SAG also awarded their Lifetime Achievement award to one of the funniest ladies still working in Hollywood Lily Tomlin. The clip package they showed of her work was fantastic and her speech was true to form. She spoke from the heart and seeing her reunited with the very giggly Dolly Parton was a treat.
Now for the movie awards. The supporting performance awards offered us no surprises, just reaffirmations for the Oscars to come. Viola Davis won for her powerful turn in Fences and Mahershala Ali won for his quiet, but moving performance in Moonlight. As I said before neither of these wins was a surprise, but they both gave speeches that were measured and powerful. I would definitely recommend giving them a look if you get the chance. Look for these two to finish off awards season with wins on February 26th.
It was the lead and ensemble categories that really surprised me. Lead actress was the least surprising of the three as Emma Stone won for her multi-faceted performance as Mia Dolan in La La Land. I knew Stone was a contender, but expected Natalie Portman to pull out the win and apparently Stone did too as she was very flustered on the stage during her speech. Her genuine shock and nervousness was very endearing though. The next biggest surprise was a continuation of the theme I was mentioning earlier and that is Denzel Washington winning for his role in Fences. Casey Affleck was thought to be a lock in this category and this really shakes up the Oscar race for this category. Washington’s stock is rising fast and the Academy could agree with the Actors that Denzel is due for another Oscar. It was also great to see the excitement Viola Davis had that Washington had won. The biggest surprise of the night came when the ensemble award was given to Hidden Figures. This is a movie that had been on ones radar just one month ago and it has taken the country by storm. I don’t believe that this movie has any shot at best picture come the end of the month, but the big story here is that this really is a hit to Moonlight‘s Best Picture chances. A win here could have made the race tight, but La La Land appears to be the clear front runner now.
Well that is is for the recap for last night’s big show. Make sure to check out some of the speeches I mentioned above because some of them are really good. Stay tuned later in the week as I will have another Hunted recap on Thursday and more movie news headlines on Friday. Also next Monday I plan on doing quick reviews on all of the movie trailers that hit during the Super Bowl so keep an eye out for that. Have a great Monday!