What the SAG Award nominations’ snubs and surprises mean for the Oscars

LOS ANGELES — The Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations landed Wednesday. And because the actors branch is the motion picture academy’s largest faction — the world really does revolve around actors! — these nominations offer a reliable indication of how the Oscar acting races will take shape.

Last year, for instance, SAG Awards film nominations voters, a panel of 2,500 randomly selected SAG-AFTRA members, were early supporters of “CODA,” giving Sian Heder’s sweet dramedy nods for ensemble and supporting actor Troy Kotsur. It went on to win both prizes, and Kotsur and the film prevailed at the Oscars as well.

Of course, SAG voters also thought “House of Gucci” was perfetto last year too, while their slightly more restrained academy counterparts weren’t as gaga for Ridley Scott’s mirthless meatball of a movie. Actors usually can’t resist hammy performances, even if they’re covered in sweaty desperation as they were in Damien Chazelle’s dire “Babylon.”

Who else was passed over? And whose Irish eyes are smiling? Here’s a rundown. The winners will be announced on Feb. 26 during a ceremony aired on Netflix’s YouTube channel, the beginning of a multiyear partnership with the streamer that will land the 2024 show on Netflix. That deal is the beginning of the inevitable — all awards shows, including, eventually, the Oscars will be heading to streaming platforms. Think about it: No time crunch! The show and speeches can go on forever … just like “Babylon.”

Down: “Top Gun: Maverick”

A big question surrounding the blockbuster’s chances to win best picture hinges on its support within the actors branch. With no nomination for its ensemble — RIP “Hangman” and all the rest — it would seem that actors view the movie more as a fun, adrenaline-fueled popcorn action flick. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Up: Adam Sandler, “Hustle”

The normally press-shy Sandler has been campaigning hard for his sincere, soulful performance as a basketball scout in this popular Netflix film. Sandler has proved more than capable of strong dramatic work in such movies as “Uncut Gems” and “Punch-Drunk Love,” and it would appear that voters have finally caught up with the effort.

<p>Adam Sandler has proved more than capable of strong dramatic work, such as in “Hustle,” with Juancho Hernangomez, and SAG voters have finally recognized it. (Scott Yamano/Netflix/TNS)</p>

Scott Yamano/Netflix/NETFLIX/TNS

Adam Sandler has proved more than capable of strong dramatic work, such as in “Hustle,” with Juancho Hernangomez, and SAG voters have finally recognized it. (Scott Yamano/Netflix/TNS)

Down: Tom Cruise, “Top Gun: Maverick”

Yes, we loved watching Cruise reprise his flyboy thing, but voters weren’t impressed. Didn’t they see the tremendous range between Maverick, Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher??

Up: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

A couple of weeks back, I wrote that the Daniels’ trippy sci-fi family drama would win the SAG Awards’ ensemble prize and voters did indeed embrace it wholeheartedly, nominating actors Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis individually and the stellar ensemble as well. Quan stands as a favorite to win the supporting actor prize on what shapes up as a big haul for the film.

Down: Michelle Williams, “The Fabelmans”

Results for Steven Spielberg’s movie memory piece were mixed. It did pick up an ensemble nod and an individual nomination for supporting actor Paul Dano. But Judd Hirsch’s scene-stealing turn didn’t register and, most surprisingly, Michelle Williams failed to secure lead actress recognition for her emotionally vivid performance.

Up: Ana de Armas, “Blonde”

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic was divisive to say the least. But even those who found it hateful and altogether too focused on Monroe’s suffering praised De Armas’ vulnerability. What humanity does come through in the movie is derived completely from her raw openness. Colin Farrell wasn’t the only one who cried himself to sleep after watching De Armas in the movie.

Up: “Women Talking”

Sarah Polley’s brilliant drama of faith and forgiveness premiered to great acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival, but, like many challenging films this fall, has struggled to attract moviegoers. An ensemble nod boosts the film’s profile as Oscar voting begins Thursday.

Down: “The Woman King”

One of several movies jockeying at the back end of the Oscars’ best picture race, this action epic about the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s, could have used an ensemble nod to go along with its lead actress nomination for star Viola Davis.

Up: “The Banshees of Inisherin”

Like “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Martin McDonagh’s sad, haunting study of a broken friendship earned four individual acting honors, for Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon, and an ensemble nod — for exactly those four actors. (Jenny the Donkey was robbed.) Could this intimate drama — which plays well both on screens big and small — be the contender that sneaks up and wins the Oscar?