Brow Beat

SAG Nominations Are Out, and Spotlight’s Oscar Stock Has Risen (So Has Straight Outta Compton’s)

Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and O,Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and O'Shea Jackson Jr. in Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton and into the academy’s hearts?

Photo by Universal Pictures.

These are nominations you want to pay attention to if you’re already beginning to dream up your Oscar pool ballot: The Screen Actors Guild’s membership overlaps heavily with the academy’s voting branch, and their nominations (and winners) are a good indicator of how the Oscars are going to shape up. In the last 10 years, every SAG winner for leading actor has also won at the Oscars. And odds are good that we’re looking at our future Best Picture winner among the bunch nominated for the cast award—since the ensemble award began in 1995, Braveheart (from that inaugural year) is the only Oscar winner that hadn’t landed a SAG cast nomination.


So here’s what that means: Both Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton have gotten a much-needed bump, which means they’re still very much in contention. Still, the academy rarely has any interest in nominating more than one film with a predominantly nonwhite cast, and I wouldn’t count Creed out just yet. Trumbo, which leads with three film nominations, proves that Hollywood still loves to honor stories about Hollywood—but it seems more likely to turn out like recent years’ August: Osage County and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and not get the nod come Oscar time. Adam McKay’s housing crisis dramedy The Big Short, which comes out Friday, could be a film that sneaks into the race and eclipses Spotlight in the coming weeks—it’s flashy, entertaining, and “important” enough to do so. And yet at this moment, it now feels safe to say that the journalism slow-burn drama has moved to front-runner status in the Best Picture Oscar race—among all of the other nominees in the SAG cast category, it’s the film that has seen the most momentum so far this awards season. Maybe my earlier prediction was wrong, and the academy will fall in line with fawning journalists.


The biggest surprise among the nominees is probably Sarah Silverman, nominated for I Smile Back. The comedian, who deftly tackles an incredibly challenging role as a woman with mental illness, has always seemed like a long shot, even though reviews of her performance have been glowing. Her presence in this category means that there’s a very good chance that the woman who once sang about fucking Matt Damon will go head to head with Cate Blanchett in February. Stranger things have happened.

Check out the rest of the nominations below.

Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Straight Outta Compton

Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl


Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room


Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (six nominees due to a tie)
Key & Peele
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black

Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Idris Elba, Luther
Ben Kingsley, Tut
Ray Liotta, Texas Rising
Bill Murray, A Very Murray Christmas


Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Christina Ricci, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
Susan Sarandon, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils Before Dying

Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis C.K., Louise
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation