“Hidden Figures” Wins Best Ensemble At SAG Awards

Hidden Figures won big at the Screen Actor’s Guild awards after the cast was awarded the Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, besting the favorite to win Moonlight. It just crossed the $100 million mark at the box office this weekend too. I thought that if Moonlight lost this it would cement La La Land’s win, but coupled with this win, it shouldn’t be counted out of the Best Picture race especially since La La Land was not nominated here. The Oscars love their crowdpleasers, and much of La La Land‘s campaign has been built on it being one. And sure, it has a PGA win, but Hidden Figures is every bit of the crowdpleaser that La La Land is, better even and the race is far from over. Watch out.

The other big “shocker” of the night came when Denzel Washington beat Casey Affleck in Best Actor. Many were predicting Affleck to continue his sweep here but I had a hunch Washington would win here; he had never won an award here before, which is absolutely insane to think about. 

The rest of the categories went pretty much as expected: Emma Stone began her march towards an Oscar by repeating her win at Golden Globes. Any hopes of a late surge for Natalie Portman seem entirely unrealistic now. Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis won in their respective categories. 

See the full list of winners below. 

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Screen Actor’s Guild Predictions: Can “Moonlight” Emerge As “La La Land’s” Biggest Competition?

We have now entered Phase 2 of awards season: Oscar nominations have been announced, and now it’s about threading a narrative to create/build and/or maintain enough momentum to win an Oscar.

Last year, we saw the tide turn quickly against The Revenant, which came into Oscar night with a whopping 12 nominations and losing Best Picture to Spotlight and other technical awards to Mad Max: Fury Road. The same thing happened to American Hustle a few years ago; it scored 13 nominations and a ton of late breaking heat from the Golden Globes and Screen Actor’s Guild and won nothing on Oscar night. This year is obviously much different than those years, with La La Land being much more of an Oscar-friendly and consensus title than the other ones I mentioned. 

Curiously enough, La La Land only managed nominations for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and did not appear in the line up for Best Ensemble which is worth noting. It’s true that La La Land is a lot of just Stone and Gosling, but that hasn’t stopped SAG from nominating films with smaller ensembles before (remember Beasts of No Nation last year? It only had three actors cited). The Producer’s Guild also announces their winner this weekend, which La La Land will almost certainly win. But SAG represents the actors, which outnumber the producers that vote within the Academy which is why I think Moonlight can emerge as a big threat this weekend (but more on that later). 

Let’s go through the categories. 

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“La La Land” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

La La Land was one of my most anticipated films of the year. From the moment that excellent first trailer arrived, I was hooked. First of all, I’m a huge sucker for musicals. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, he seemed to be aiming towards evoking the nostalgia of the great Hollywood musicals of the past, with a modern spin which I was totally down with. I’ve also been a huge fan of Emma Stone’s since her brilliant star making performance in Easy A, and this seemed like the perfect project for her talents. And she had such great chemistry with Ryan Gosling in CrazyStupid Love so what could go wrong, right?

Since then, La La Land has gone on to become the Best Picture frontrunner. It’s racked up wins from the New York Film Critic’s Circle, the coveted People’s Choice Award from TIFF, a bunch of Critic’s Choice wins and a bunch of Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild nominations. It’s been written to death about how La La Land is the perfect antidote for our flaming garbage pile of a year, because after 2016, what we need is a breezy, delightful musical.

But La La Land simply doesn’t live up to the premise or hype bestowed upon it. And while it has some charming moments, they can’t hide the flawed and flimsy plot beneath all of the glitz and nostalgia.

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Annette Bening and Viola Davis Officially Enter The Best Actress Race

For the last few weeks, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone have asserted themselves as the frontrunners in the Best Actress race after splashy debuts at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Though many people have been quick to make this a two way race, I’ve quietly maintained that the unseen contenders, Viola Davis (especially) and Annette Bening, were waiting in the wings. Today these two ladies have officially joined the conversation, and if I were Stone and Portman, I wouldn’t get too comfortable with being in the lead.

I’ve already talked at length at how both Davis’ and Bening’s status as “also rans” in previous races benefit their chances this year. That being said, both of their projects look like slam dunks and shouldn’t find difficulty finding awards consideration when its time to cast ballots.

Let’s take a look.

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Breaking Down The Best Actress Race

It’s that time of the year; Sundance, Cannes, Telluride and Venice are behind us while the Toronto Film Festival has just begun, and so has Oscar season. The contenders are beginning to emerge and narratives are starting to take shape. There are some films that have gotten a head start thanks to some critical raves (JackieLa La Land, MoonlightLovingSully) and some that are playing catch up (The Birth of A Nation) while others are giant question marks in the race right now (Arrival,

One race that’s particularly interesting, as it stands right now, is Best Actress. With so much left of the race left to go there are a number of exciting possibilities that, if played right, could make this one of the best years for Best Actress in awhile. Continue reading