SAG Awards: Predictable TV noms focus on familiar stars

Senior Television Writer
12.10.14 13 Comments

BBC America

The TV categories of the Screen Actors Guild Awards are more or less an afterthought, just a way for the union to avoid offending the large chunk of its membership that works in television by including them in what's a glorified Oscar precursor ceremony. And the TV nominations tend to be about the least adventurous and interesting of any even semi-notable TV awards show. (The Golden Globe nominations, which will be announced tomorrow, will be silly and ill-informed in many ways, but they'll at least have some memorably oddball choices.)

So when you look at the list of this year's SAG nominees, virtually all the TV actors and ensembles fall into one of two categories, if not both:

* Movie actors working in television; or

* Actors and ensembles that have become usual suspects on the awards circuit for years.

So on the actor side, you've got your Kevin Spaceys, your Maggie Gyllenhaals, even your Adrien Brodys (for A&E's largely ignored “Houdini”), and on the ensemble side, you of course have “Modern Family” and “Homeland” and “House of Cards.”

Only a handful of newcomers cracked the list, but even they have some awards pedigree or other:

* Tatiana Maslany, snubbed by both Emmy and SAG voters previously, but Golden Globe-nominated a year ago, was the only drama actress in the field with major Oscar and/or Emmy cred.

* “Orange Is the New Black” wasn't nominated a year ago when Netflix submitted it as a drama series, which is one of the reasons the show switched over to comedy by Emmy time – and got tons of Emmy nominations as a result, along with a win for Uzo Aduba. And sure enough, “Orange” got nominated for comedy ensemble, and Aduba is in the comedy actress field along with the traditional likes of Julie Bowen, Edie Falco and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (The SAG Awards don't distinguish between lead and supporting performances.)

* “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a surprise Golden Globe comedy series winner last year, joined “Orange” on the list of comedy ensemble nominees, but there were two spots vacant from a year ago thanks to the end of “30 Rock” and the absence of new “Arrested Development.”

It is what it is, and not worth caring about who was snubbed (the “Transparent” cast, Allison Tolman, Carrie Coon, etc.), or who was nominated who shouldn't have been. The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 25, to the enthusiasm of some.

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