Awards Season Update – SAG and Critics Choice

SAG Nominations

The SAG award nominations have brought an interesting twist into the Awards Season race for the Oscars. Some actors who absolutely needed to gain nominations here in order to solidify their chances at an Oscar nomination, didn't. And therefore it will now make their Oscar chances tough, if not astronomical. On the flip side of that coin, Oscar hopefuls who did gain nominations here have all but punched their tickets. I'll go into more specifics, but first, let's get into who actually made it in at SAG:

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

  • Da 5 Bloods
  • Mulan
  • News of the World
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Wonder Woman 1984

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods)
  • Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
  • Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
  • Jared Leto (The Little Things)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
  • Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)
  • Olivia Colman (The Father)
  • Youn Yuh-Jung (Minari)
  • Helena Zengel (News of the World)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
  • Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
  • Gary Oldman (Mank)
  • Steven Yeun (Minari)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy)
  • Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)
  • Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
  • Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Minari (A24)
  • One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

What This Means for the Oscars

Anyone closely following Awards Season and these races will see an obvious absence of Delroy Lindo from Da 5 Bloods. He had some early momentum for his ultra performative, almost Shakespearean performance. That momentum clearly has since died down of late. Unfortunately for him, he would have needed to gain a SAG nomination to have a realistic shot at an Oscar nod. Granted, he did receive a Critics Choice Award nomination for his impressive work in Da 5 Bloods, but it may not be enough as SAG has historically proven to be far more important. Unfortunately for Delroy Lindo, he was the frontrunner coming off the high of the premiere of the film back in June, but the release date of the film may have hurt his chances as films or even performances like this can disappear from the minds of the voters. Which is why it's so crucial to position your film where it has the best chance at succeeding. The best place to position (or premiere) your film would be right now. Releasing your film closer to voting time (or even the deadline in this case) always helps build chatter and hype for your film right around the time its needed most. Conversely, it's quite notable Steven Yeun sneaking in over Lindo for his impassioned performance in Minari definitely helps his Oscar chances as well.

Another notable performance that snuck in was Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy. This film was widely panned for its bland direction and its lackluster execution of its subpar screenplay. However, what was universally recognized as a rare strength in an otherwise weak film was its strong acting from co-lead Amy Adams and Glenn Close in her supporting role. Both received SAG nominations and Close will surely receive an Oscar nomination especially with her narrative surrounding her campaign push. It was joked about that Amy Adams might receive a Razzie nomination for her work in that film, but this seems the antithesis to that rumor. It's possible this was done to crush that from potentially coming to fruition. In any case, this may help Adams' chance at an Oscar nomination, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Oscar talk for her was awfully quiet in the days following the release of that film on Netflix in November. As it stands right now, she's on the outside looking in with Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday) just ahead of her, and even Zendaya in the also critically panned Malcolm and Marie.

What's especially notable to me about the Best Ensemble category, is that 4 of the 5 nominees are from streamers. 3 are from Netflix and one Amazon, the other is A24 which is not a streamer (yet). A24, a small independent production/distribution company, had won Best Picture for its 2016 film Moonlight, and it seems now its best shot is with its Korean American period drama Minari. Netflix is making a huge push for Best Picture this year. Previously a laughing stock where awards worthy films were concerned, Netflix has now solidified itself as a titan of the industry and has made its voice heard as a leader in prestige feature film production and acquisition. Amazon Studios is quietly sitting in the weeds as well, as it not only has One Night in Miami in contention, but also Sound of Metal could just as easily sneak in and make a serious run at Best Picture.

Who Else is Missing?

You might also notice a newcomer in the Supporting Actor category: Jared Leto in The Little Things. While this complete misfire won't see any other praise for technical aspects or any others of The Big Five, Jared Leto being nominated for his odd performance is definitely a surprise here. It seems very out of place for me and literally came out of nowhere, as there was absolutely zero awards hype for this movie whatsoever. It's big head scratcher and leaves me to wonder why the performance is being praised. Yes, it was somewhat entertaining, but really has no place in the awards conversation by any stretch of the imagination. By awarding this performance, we're leaving out perhaps another more deserving nominee - and thus, destroying their Oscar chances in the process. Although the Supporting Actor race is all but signed, sealed and delivered, it would still be nice to give a nod to somebody who needed recognition for their achievement in a supporting role. Make no mistake, I agree with the other four picks by SAG, but Leto is a vexing choice. The person I'm referencing as far as criminally being left out is Paul Raci in Sound of Metal. I recently rewatched this film and focused solely on his performance (since I already knew Riz Ahmed was absolutely electric in it). I had a much greater appreciation for Raci's performance and if he does not receive an Oscar nomination for his remarkable work, I will riot.

Critics Choice Awards

There are not a lot of surprises here when it comes to nominations at The 2021 Critics Choice Awards. Most are very much to be expected, and I would be surprised to see anything from the Best Picture category left off at the Oscars, or something thrown in over any of those films not honored and discussed at that particular ceremony. One surprise that sticks out to me is News of the World gaining a nomination for Best Picture. Granted, this is a fine film - a completely inoffensive nominee - but by no means an awards worthy film, in my humble opinion. Otherwise, the films nominated should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following the awards slate.


  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Mank (Netflix)
  • Minari (A24)
  • News of the World (Universal Pictures)
  • Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
  • One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)


  • Ben Affleck – The Way Back (Warner Bros.)
  • Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Tom Hanks – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Gary Oldman – Mank (Netflix)
  • Steven Yeun – Minari (A24)


  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)
  • Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
  • Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
  • Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (Netflix)


  • Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
  • Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
  • Bill Murray – On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)


  • Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Studios)
  • Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
  • Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
  • Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Amanda Seyfried – Mank (Netflix)
  • Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari (A24)


  • Ryder Allen – Palmer (Apple TV+)
  • Ibrahima Gueye – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
  • Alan Kim – Minari (A24)
  • Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
  • Caoilinn Springall – The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
  • Helena Zengel – News of the World (Universal Pictures)


  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Minari (A24)
  • One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)


  • Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (A24)
  • Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • David Fincher – Mank (Netflix)
  • Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Regina King – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)


  • Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (A24)
  • Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • Jack Fincher – Mank (Netflix)
  • Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
  • Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
  • Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)


  • Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
  • Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • Jon Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow (A24)
  • Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)


  • Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow (A24)
  • Erik Messerschmidt – Mank (Netflix)
  • Lachlan Milne – Minari (A24)
  • Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
  • Dariusz Wolski – News of the World (Universal Pictures)


  • Cristina Casali, Charlotte Dirickx – The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
  • David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
  • Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
  • Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale – Mank (Netflix)
  • Kave Quinn, Stella Fox – Emma (Focus Features)
  • Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara & Diana Stoughton – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)


  • Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
  • Kirk Baxter – Mank (Netflix)
  • Jennifer Lame – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
  • Yorgos Lamprinos – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)


  • Alexandra Byrne – Emma (Focus Features)
  • Bina Daigeler – Mulan (Disney)
  • Suzie Harman & Robert Worley – The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Nancy Steiner – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • Trish Summerville – Mank (Netflix)


  • Emma (Focus Features)
  • Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Mank (Netflix)
  • Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)


  • Greyhound (Apple TV+)
  • The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures)
  • Mank (Netflix)
  • The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
  • Mulan (Disney)
  • Tenet (Warner Bros.)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.)


  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Studios)
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
  • The King of Staten Island (Universal Pictures)
  • On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+)
  • Palm Springs (Hulu and NEON)
  • The Prom (Netflix)


  • Another Round (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
  • Collective (Magnolia Pictures)
  • La Llorona (Shudder)
  • The Life Ahead (Netflix)
  • Minari (A24)
  • Two of Us (Magnolia Pictures)


  • Everybody Cries – The Outpost (Screen Media Films)
  • Fight for You – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
  • Husavik (My Home Town) – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)
  • Io sì (Seen) – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
  • Speak Now – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
  • Tigress & Tweed – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)


  • Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
  • Ludwig Göransson – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
  • James Newton Howard – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
  • Emile Mosseri – Minari (A24)
  • Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Mank (Netflix)
  • Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste – Soul (Disney)

Notable Inclusions/Omissions

Best Actor

Going down the line, for Best Actor I did not see any surprises nor snubs here. It seems they even expanded the nominees to ensure they included whom they wanted to include, so as to not leave anyone who they felt was deserve out. I suppose, if we were to name anyone who will likely not garner any Oscar attention would be Tom Hanks for News of the World and Ben Affleck for The Way Back. Again, these films are not undeserving of recognition by any means, but they will be on the outside looking in at the Academy Awards, in all likelihood. Ben Affleck is the actor more worthy of praise here, as Hanks was just perfectly adequate in his role.

Best Actress

Same sort of situation here for Best Lead Actress. Everyone we expected to be honored here, are included. They expanded the amount of nominees in this category to avoid backlash from Film Twitter and other platforms that are quick to bring the heat. The ones that landed here are all front-runners, including Oscar hopefuls Zendaya for Malcolm and Marie (she's great in what is otherwise an actively terrible film) and Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. I cannot speak for Andra Day in this film, although I will be reviewing this film later this month when it drops on Hulu. The others, as I've mentioned before, are all Oscar leaders and should be no surprise to be seen here.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

No surprises here either, except Bill Murray gaining a nomination for On The Rocks as he's been absent from the Oscar conversation at large of late. I am also delighted to see that Jared Leto for The Little Things didn't take up a spot in place of Paul Raci for Sound of Metal this time around. We don't like to see subpar quality honored over actual real quality concerning film awards that should be based on merit.

Best Young Performer

This is a great category and I have no complaints here. Good to see Kim for Minari and Zengel for News of the World honored for their terrific performances.

Best Ensemble 

They honored (almost) all the right films in this category. And truth be told, they did a better job than SAG in this regard. Above all else, I was glad to see Judas and the Black Messiah recognized for the incredible acting on display.

Best Director

Once again, expansion in this category allowed for more deserving filmmakers to be honored. The only problem there is one director who really doesn't deserve to be among these other talented filmmakers (*ahem* Sorkin) so it's just left me a bit puzzled. Otherwise, I'm glad to see the other names here. But, sad to see Shaka King left out for his outstanding work in Judas and the Black Messiah.

Best Original Screenplay

No big surprises here except the choices to recognize Eliza Hittman for her fantastic screenplay Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Darius and Abraham Marder for their remarkable work on Sound of Metal. You just love to see great writing honored.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Same deal here. No huge surprises. I was just glad to see Kelly Reichardt for her tremendous adaptation of First Cow recognized.

Best Cinematography

This category is the biggest disappointment for me, thus far. It's a double whammy of not surprising, but thoroughly upsetting. Every film nominated pretty much deserves to be here for the most part, but they left out some of the best shot films of the year. I was profoundly disappointed not to see Judas and the Black Messiah and Never Rarely Sometimes Always left off this list - both of which have some of the best cinematography of the year. I was, however, happy to find First Cow made it on this list - which happens to have underrated and underappreciated cinematography in the film. It's inevitably going to miss the Oscars, but not for meritorious reasons. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Minari make this list. I was impressed with the cinematography in that film and I'm glad it was recognized, despite not really having much Oscar hype (although deserved). This does also very much hurt Judas and the Black Messiah's chances at gaining an Oscar nomination this year. But, one can hope and dream.

Best Production Design

No surprises or snubs worthy of note in this category. (Good for Personal History of David Copperfield, though) (I haven't seen it).

Best Editing

Nothing shocking here, either. Always glad to see Jennifer Lame being recognized for her astonishing work in Tenet. Some of the best Film Editing I've ever seen. Hoping and praying for an Oscar nom!

Costume Design / Hair and Makeup

Nothing crazy or worthy of note here.

Best Visual Effects

The nominees in this category are both admirable and laughable. This does show that it was a relatively weak year for the blockbuster, for obvious reasons. However, I'm glad that the films worthy of recognition were nominated here. But, there are a couple that are not like the others. (Wonder Woman 1984 is most decidedly the weakest link here. The visual effects in this film were laughably awful).

Best Comedy

Best comedy is exactly as you'd expect.

Best Foreign Language Film 

No shockers here, either. (Rooting for Another Round (!))

Best Song

If you've been following the awards circuit, you won't find any surprises or snubs here.

Best Score

One big surprise here, but a welcome one: Emile Mosseri for Minari. This is a much deserved nomination and I'm hoping he gains Oscar momentum as well. I, of course, have to pull for Ludwig Goransson for Tenet here, as it's my favorite score of the year and one of my favorite scores of all time. It's a stunner!

All in all, I can't complain too much about the nominees or the snubs. Both SAG and Critics Choice nominated all or most of the deserving films, filmmakers, and filmic content.


Do you agree? Disagree? Are you indifferent?


Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous?


Let me know in the comments! Or slide in my DM's!

Rob McNeil

My name is Rob McNeil. I was born and raised in Normal, Illinois and I am a 28 year-old award winning screenwriter. I am very passionate about film, so much that I watch far too many films on a daily basis. I have written fifteen feature screenplays, a spec pilot thriller series, and several short scripts. I aim to make filmmaking a career, but for now, I will write about it.

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