SAG Awards nominations: Diverse, popular movies get nods

Nominees for this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards include critical favorites like 'Spotlight' and 'Brooklyn.' More popular movies like 'Straight Outta Compton' also made the cut.

Shawn Greene/Netflix/AP
'Beasts of No Nation' stars Abraham Attah (l.) and Idris Elba (r.).

The Screen Actors Guild have released the nominees for their 2015 awards, which are usually seen as holding important clues for the Oscars.

SAG nominations that were most likely unexpected for many include Sarah Silverman receiving a nomination for best actress for the film "I Smile Back" and Michael Shannon receiving a best supporting actor nomination for the movie "99 Homes." Both were viewed as more under-the-radar choices.

The movie "Trumbo," which is about a blacklisted screenwriter, has received mixed reviews from critics but also did well, getting nods for best cast, best actor for Bryan Cranston, and best supporting actress for Helen Mirren.

In the major category of best cast performance, the SAG Awards nominees may be forecasting a more diverse awards season than last year. Many were offended when all the 2015 Oscars acting nominees were white. 

Both the casts of the movies "Beasts of No Nation," which is the fictional story of an African child soldier, and "Straight Outta Compton" were nominated in the best cast category. If Idris Elba and Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah of "Beasts" or any of the actors in “Straight Outta Compton,” which is about the hip-hop group N.W.A. and so features an African-American lead ensemble, make the cut for Oscars acting nominations, the 2016 Oscars ceremony would already be diverse than last year.

The nod for “Compton” is also recognition for a movie that also achieved mainstream success at the box office. “Compton” was one of the box office successes of the year and if it does well during awards season, it will no doubt quell complaints from some who think that the Oscars too often concentrate on little-seen films. For example, last year’s “Birdman” was one of the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners of all time.

As for the rest of the actors that were honored, top nominees for this year include the nominees for the SAG best cast performance award (the SAG equivalent of the best picture prize). “Spotlight,” which tells the story of the Boston Globe’s reporting on the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, made the cut in this category, as did the movie “Beasts."

The movie “The Big Short,” which is based on the true story of people who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, also received a nod in this category, as did the cast of “Trumbo" and the cast of “Straight Outta Compton."

In the best actor category, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his work in the movie “The Revenant,” while Michael Fassbender made the cut for the title role in “Steve Jobs,” as did Eddie Redmayne for his work in the movie “The Danish Girl.” Johnny Depp received a nomination for the movie “Black Mass,” and so did Cranston for the title role in “Trumbo.” 

Best actress nominees include Brie Larson for the movie “Room,” Saoirse Ronan for the film “Brooklyn,” Sarah Silverman for “I Smile Back,” Mirren for “Woman in Gold,” and Cate Blanchett for the film “Carol.” 

The supporting categories included more acclaim for “Trumbo” and “Carol,” among others. Actor Christian Bale received a supporting actor nod for his appearance in “The Big Short,” as did Idris Elba for his appearance in “Beasts of No Nation” and Michael Shannon for the film “99 Homes.” Mark Rylance received a nod for the movie “Bridge of Spies” and Jacob Tremblay was nominated for his role in “Room.” 

Meanwhile, “Carol” actress Rooney Mara received a nod for her turn in the film in the best supporting actress category, and other nominees for the prize include Mirren in “Trumbo,” Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl,” Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs,” and Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight.” 

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