Viola Davis, Jason Bateman & Other SAG Award Snubs & Surprises
Usually the SAG Awards are the first of the major peer groups to hand out statues in the new year, but 2021 is proving to be even more change-inducing than 2020.
The 27th Annual SAG Awards were pushed a couple of times, first due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and then when the Grammys decided to have their show on the same night SAG was planning to celebrate. This led to the WGA Awards kicking things off, with PGA following soon after.
But, the additional time did not seem to affect SAG ballot outcomes by much. Netflix’s “The Crown” picked up its second consecutive drama series ensemble, for example, while “Schitt’s Creek” wrapped up its run with the SAG after nabbing an Emmy and a Golden Globe for its final season. Additionally, Jason Sudeikis, Mark Ruffalo and Anya Taylor-Joy also followed their February Golden Globe wins for “Ted Lasso,” “I Know This Much Is True” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” respectively, with statues from SAG.
In film, both Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) have already won Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards for their roles, and continued their reigns tonight. But Viola Davis pulled off a win in the lead female actor category for her acclaimed turn in “Ma Rainey,” while “Minari” breakout Yuh-Jung Youn scored in the supporting category. And, history was made as all four film acting winners were people of color for the first time ever.
Here, Variety breaks down the biggest snubs and surprises of the 27th Annual SAG Awards.
SNUBS: “Da 5 Bloods” and “One Night in Miami”
Both films went in with ensemble nominations and individual nods in male actor in a supporting role nods but failed to score wins. The other three nominated ensembles represented – Yuh-Jung Youn won for “Minari,” Boseman and Davis won for “Ma Rainey,” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took the ensemble prize.
SURPRISE: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”
The South Korean actor’s victory wasn’t a total shocker as she has been picking up acclaim and critics’ awards for her turn as the untraditional grandmother in “Minari.” But the category was so packed with talent, it was hard to know precisely who to consider the frontrunner. “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” star Maria Bakalova also picked up a slew of critics’ awards and the last time the two went head-to-head, at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Bakalova prevailed. But it was Youn who took home the SAG Award, for her first American film.
SNUB: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Like the female actor in a supporting role category, the lead category was packed with incredible performances. But the narrative seemed to be favoring a win for Mulligan, whose scorching turn as a former med student who seeks to avenge her best friend in one of the most talked-about films of the year. Ultimately, Davis took home the prize for her stunning work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” landing her sixth statuette from the SAG Awards.
SURPRISE: “Ma Rainey” Reigns
It’s been 21 years since one film won both the lead categories – 1999’s “American Beauty” pulled it off with Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening and also took home the ensemble prize. But this year, Boseman and Davis both scored wins for their roles in the adaptation of August Wilson’s play. It’s particularly interesting, considering the film itself was overlooked for best picture at the Academy Awards. If it’s leads repeat at Oscars, it will be the first time a film has won both categories without a best picture nom.
SNUB: “Lovecraft Country”
The freshman season of HBO’s genre-blending adaptation of Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name was nominated in the drama series ensemble category and only the drama series ensemble category — and it was the ONLY drama series nominated in the ensemble category that didn’t have at least one individual actor nomination too. Up against Netflix heavyweight “The Crown,” which was the incumbent winner in the category and, yes, won again this year, it is not necessarily a surprise that the new kid lost. However, the loss is felt a little harder given that it was the only chance to celebrate such stellar performances as Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Michael K. Williams, Aunjanue Ellis and Wunmi Mosaku (among others).
SURPRISE: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Bateman’s peers love him, so the win is not a surprise on its own. (This is actually his second statue from the peer group for his role of Byrde patriarch Marty in Netflix’s dark family drama.) Instead, what makes this extra special is that he won even while nominated alongside two buzzy breakouts: Regé-Jean Page from Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and Josh O’Connor from that same streamer’s “The Crown.” O’Connor had been gaining heat when moving from supporting to lead in his role as Prince Charles, and he also just came off the Golden Globe win.
SURPRISE: The fashion!
After some Golden Globe nominees stole the show for getting comfortable (we still see you, Jodie Foster’s Prada PJs and Jason Sudeikis’ tie dye hoodie!), most involved in the remote SAG Awards shoot went the other way. It didn’t matter that the show was condensed in length and therefore they would only be seen for mere seconds on-screen, everyone from Leslie Odom Jr. to Emma Corrin to Maria Bakalova and Dan Levy served high-fashion lewks, even while still recording from home. Perhaps it was to prepare everyone for the “no jeans” rule at the upcoming Oscars, or maybe it was just because winners were notified ahead of time and therefore felt more interested in or obliged to lean into the celebratory aspect of the ceremony, but whatever the reason, the result was a nostalgic twinge for the red carpet.
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