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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

December 12, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Best performances of the year: SAGs, Golden Globes

(A quick note: Everywhere I look online, critics seem to be posting their 10 Best of the Year lists. According to my calendar, the year’s not quite over yet — and I’ve still got a few more films to watch — so mine won’t be turning up until the last Sunday of the year. I’ll be interested in hearing about yours as well — once 2013 is truly over.)

Nominations aplenty this week, most notably from the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes — and let’s give a quick shout-out to Northwest native and Whidbey Island resident Bob Nelson, nominated for a Golden Globe for his wonderful screenplay for “Nebraska.” On to the Oscars, Bob! But let’s talk about the acting nominations here. In terms of Oscar buzz (and that’s the only reason we care about these, right?), the SAGs mean a great deal and the Globes absolutely nothing: the Screen Actors Guild membership has much overlap with the Academy’s acting branch, while the Globe voters have none whatsoever. Also, the Globe membership has demonstrated a tendency to nominate people they’d like to have at their party, and the Globes have goofy categories that don’t match the Oscars . . . anyway, the Globes are a joke, but a pretty fun joke and I always love to watch them, particularly now with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler settled in as hosts. But let’s take a look at the four acting categories . . .

Best Actor in a Leading Role

SAG: Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Forest Whitaker (“The Butler”)

GG: Drama: Ejiofor, McConaughey, Hanks, Robert Redford (“All Is Lost”), Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”)

GG: Comedy/musical: Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Christian Bale (“American Hustle), Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Her”).

The Globes, by adding a second category, squeeze quite a few more performances in; nice to see some recognition for Joaquin Phoenix’s great work in “Her.” For Oscar, though, I’m thinking Dern, Ejiofor, Hanks, McConaughey, and Redford.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

SAG: Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Judi Dench (“Philomena”), Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”), Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”).

GG: Drama: Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Thompson, Kate Winslet (“Labor Day”)

Comedy/musical: Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Enough Said”), Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), Julie Delpy (“Before Midnight”), Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”)

Though I’d love to see Louis-Dreyfus get more recognition for her big-screen breakthrough, the writing looks to be on the wall for Oscar night: Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Streep, Thompson. (The winner? I’d guess Blanchett, but don’t discount a strong sentimental vote for Dench, who’s never won this category.)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

SAG: Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”), Daniel Bruhl (“Rush”), Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”), James Gandolfini (“Enough Said”), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”)

GG: Abdi, Bruhl,  Fassbender, Leto, Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”)

Will the Academy be able to resist a posthumous nomination for Gandolfini (although, really, it’s a co-lead role)? Will George Clooney sneak in for “Gravity,” or Tom Hanks for “Saving Mr. Banks,” or — oh, let’s have some fun here — Jake Gyllenhaal in “Prisoners”? Will Forte in “Nebraska”? The cat in “Inside Llewyn Davis”? (I think it’s a male.)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

SAG: Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”), Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), Julia Roberts (“August: Osage COunty”), June Squibb (“Nebraska”), Oprah Winfrey (“The Butler”).

GG: Lawrence, Nyong’o, Roberts, Squibb, Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”)

Roberts’ role is arguably bigger than Streep’s in “August: Osage County,” but I suppose that’s not relevant; she’s certainly very strong in it. These two lists are quite close with Lawrence, Roberts and Nyong’o almost certain to turn up on Oscar’s roster; I’d add Julianne Moore in “What Maisie Knew,” Octavia Spencer in “Fruitvale Station,” and — oh, I’m dreaming here — Helena Bonham Carter in “Great Expectations.”

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