Screen Actors Guild 2014: Nominations–Snubs and Surprises

The Screen Actors Guild nominations are often a sign of who will be invited to the Oscars, since actors constitute the largest group of Academy voters.

The nominations suggest good news for “Birdman” (which picked up four noms, more than any other film), Jake Gyllanhaal (“Nightcrawler”), and Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”)

But they are not reat news for Jessica Chastain (overlooked for “A Most Violent Year”) and “Selma” (Paramount didn’t send out screeners in time). On the TV side, the nominees don’t necessarily create momentum for the Emmys, but they can’t hurt in building buzz for freshman shows like Showtime’s “The Affair” and Cinemax’s “The Knick,” which were shut out. Here are the biggest snubs and surprises in both TV and film.

Chastain has had a busy year with roles in “Insterstellar” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” but her work in “A Most Violent Year”—as the wife of a shady oil salesman from 1981—has the most awards potential. The fact that the first hour of the J.C. Chandor drama is slow to build may have hurt her.

SNUB: Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper.”
The Warner Bros. release directed by Clint Eastwood was one of the last movies screened this year, so voters may not have had a chance to appreciate Cooper’s transformation (he packed on 40 pounds of muscle) as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Then again, all hope isn’t lost: Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) were snubbed by the SAGs last year but still landed Oscar nominations.

SNUB: “Selma” and David Oyelowo.
Ava DuVernay’s drama about 1965 civil rights marches is considered, along with “Boyhood” and “The Imitation Game,” one of the Oscar frontrunners this year. Paramount didn’t send out screeners to SAG voters, which cost the film nominations in the best ensemble category (where it surely would have knocked out “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and best actor for David Oyelowo for his breakthrough performance as Martin Luther King Jr.

SNUB: Hilary Swank, “The Homesman.”
Swank’s Western hasn’t been widely screened or buzzed about. But in a weak year for actresses, she could have made the cut.

SNUB: Bill Murray, “St. Vincent.”

Even though his co-star Naomi Watts received a nomination, Murray didn’t for his best performance since “Lost in Translation.”

SNUB: Laura Dern, “Wild.”
She should have been included in the best supporting actress race for her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed’s mom.


SURPRISE: Naomi Watts, “St. Vincent.”

The biggest surprise of the morning was Watts’ unexpected nomination for her role as a Russian prostitute in the Ted Melfi comedy starring Bill Murray. Watts also appeared in “Birdman,” which voters loved, and that probably helped her pop up in this category.

SURPRISE: Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler.”
After receiving an Independent Spirit Awards nomination, Gyllenhaal picked up yet another bid, building more momentum for his work as a L.A. crime paparazzo in the Dan Gilroy drama. He lost 30 pounds for the role that could give him his first Oscar nomination since 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

SURPRISE: Jennifer Aniston, “Cake.”
A favorite at the SAG Awards from her days on “Friends,” Aniston picked up her first nomination for acting in a movie, despite mixed reviews for her Toronto drama about a woman with chronic pain.

SURPRISE: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” best ensemble.
The Wes Anderson comedy made it into the best ensemble category, which is like SAG’s version of best picture, over “Unbroken” and the actor-friendly “Into the Woods.” Even though it doesn’t always line up with that Oscar category, it will give the Fox Searchlight indie a bump.