Movie Maniac

SAG Awards: More fun for movie geeks, fashion fans

We’re in the thick of movie awards season, with the Screen Actors Guild Awards being handed out Sunday night in Hollywood (the program airs on cable networks TBS and TNT at 7 p.m.).

It’s yet another chance for us to see our favorite stars all dressed up for a glamorous evening. Fashion fans especially enjoy seeing what crazy dresses the actresses stuff themselves into.

The SAG awards are another precursor to the Oscars, and the actors taking home a trophy on Sunday better their chances of winning come Oscar time. There are few clear front-runners this year in either race, it seems. And the SAG nominations almost mirrored Oscar’s with a few exceptions in each category.

Lead actor, for example, included everyone on Oscar’s list (Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman and Denzel Washington), but gave a nod to John Hawkes of “The Sessions” while Oscar nominated Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master.”

Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Naomi Watts are also on both lead actress lists, but SAG chose Marion Cotillard for “Rust and Bone” and Helen Mirren for “Hitchcock” while Oscar gave noms to Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) and Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”).

Supporting actors on both lists were Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones. SAG also chose Javier Bardem (“Skyfall”) while Oscar chose Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”).

Sally Field, Anne Hathaway and Helen Hunt are on both lists in the supporting actress category, but SAG chose Nicole Kidman (“The Paperboy”) and Maggie Smith (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) instead of Oscar’s noms for Amy Adams (“The Master”) and Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”).

What do the differences mean? Well, an Oscar nominee who doesn’t make both lists is probably not going to win an Oscar, so they are usually ruled out in guessing contests. That’s not saying that winning a SAG award isn’t an honor — actors basically applauding themselves and each other. Like they need more attention.

Another distinction between the awards is SAG doesn’t use the word “actress” but instead identifies them as “female actor.” Go figure.

And SAG awards don’t have a best picture award — their version is “outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.” The year’s cast nominees are “Argo,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Les Miserables,” “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” “Argo” has picked up momentum after the Golden Globes, and a win here could further boost its Oscar chances of best picture. But Ben Affleck not being nominated for best director (boo!) severely hurts his film’s chances (although many point to “Driving Miss Daisy,” which won the Oscar for best picture without having its director, Bruce Beresford, nominated as best director).

Also, the SAG awards are generally less stuffy than the Oscars but not as wild as the Golden Globes. And like the Globes, SAG also honors outstanding performances in TV shows and movies, so all the actors have to mingle with each other and use the same washroom.

Yes, it’s all dizzying bobbledy-blah. But we movie geeks eat it up, nit-picking, analyzing and second-guessing the industry insiders and awards voters. Think of it all as our playoffs leading up to our Super Bowl — the Oscars.

I know, I know. Many of you couldn’t care less. To you, SAG means something that’s droopy.

But hang in there, it’s all almost over.

Now, about those directing nominations again …