Analysis: SAG Awards TV nominations get weird with Patrick J. Adams and 'Dexter'
A field of nominees designed to make the Golden Globe picks look good?
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Like the Golden Globe Awards, where the nominations will be announced tomorrow, the SAG Awards treat their TV categories like an afterthought. There are no supporting categories of any kind, for instance, and they mainly seem to exist to appease that branch of the Screen Actors Guild, and to possibly draw some extra audience to the telecast.
And like the Golden Globes are every year, this year's SAG nominations are so bizarre/stupid/silly that they're probably not worth getting worked up over...
... except I can't really wrap my brain around any of the following:
* That Claire Danes of Showtime's "Homeland," who would have seemed like the lock to win the drama actress category, both here and at the Emmys, wasn't even nominated. (Nor was Damian Lewis, nor was "Homeland" itself for dramatic ensemble, which is the SAG equivalent of the best drama award.)
* That "Dexter" got a dramatic ensemble nomination. You want to nominate Michael C. Hall (which they did)? Go for it. He's great. But with the possible exception of Jennifer Carpenter as Deb, does anyone care about or like any other character on that show?
* That "Parks and Recreation," which is the best comedy on TV (and my pick for the best current show on TV) was ignored for both comedy ensemble and Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman as individual actors. The cast of "Glee" was nominated for comedy ensemble. "Glee."
and, best of all...
* The SAG voters deemed that one of the five best performances on television in 2011 by a male actor in a drama series was... Patrick J. Adams from "Suits."
It's not that Adams is bad, but Adams over Danes' co-star Damian Lewis, Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito from "Breaking Bad," Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins from "Justified," any of the three "Men of a Certain Age," Charlie Hunnam from "Sons of Anarchy," anyone from "Treme," anyone other than Steve Buscemi from the "Boardwalk Empire" cast, Peter Dinklage from "Game of Thrones," anyone from "The Good Wife," John Noble from "Fringe," etc., etc., etc. (UPDATE: And I forgot Kelsey Grammer from "Boss," for that matter.)
It's just a wildly out of left field choice, the kind of thing the Golden Globes would do, only there it would involve a young actress rather than an actor (we call this The Piper Perabo Special), and you could write it off to the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association wanting to mingle with someone new and hot (in various senses of the word).
So, yeah. Tempting though it is to just look at the Adams nomination and declare that it, in and of itself, makes the SAG Awards ridiculous and not worthy of attention, I'm annoyed by so many things in so many areas that I might as well take it category by category, leaving out the movies and minis nominees, because there are so few of those made that the nominations are all but automatic. You can find the full nominees list for both film and TV here.
Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland"
The lack of a supporting category bumps Bowen and Vergara into the field, knocking out both Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy and shoulda-been-the-Emmy-winner Amy Poehler. Though you could also blame SAG's Betty White fetish for either or both omissions. In either case, awards show love for both "Modern Family" and Betty White should not be surprising. Poehler's absence annoys me, but this is one of the less weird categories.
Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Jon Cryer, "2.5 Men"
Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"
Again, mashing together the lead and supporting categories makes it tough for everybody, as the arrival of the last three Emmy winners for comedy supporting actor leaves no room at the inn for Jim Parsons (who has somehow never been nominated for a SAG Award, despite the group's love for "Big Bang Theory" itself), Louis C.K., Chris Colfer from "Glee" and Offerman, among others.
Ensemble in a Comedy Series
"The Big Bang Theory"
"30 Rock" had a very good season last year, though it hasn't been on the air in forever. Lots of people still love "Modern Family," even my own feelings are more ambivalent these days. "Big Bang Theory" is a big hit and beloved by its audience (though, again, the consistent Parsons snub is bizarre). And I know that it's the lot in life of "Community" to get ignored by awards shows far and wide. But that "Parks and Rec" couldn't get nominated over either "The Office" or (especially) "Glee" is irksome.
Female Actor in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Lange's scenery-chewing performance (which, admittedly, was one of the few parts of "AHS" that I didn't hate) knocks out not only her new co-star Connie Britton for her old "Friday Night Lights" role, but Danes, who should be lined up for another year of dominating awards shows like she did after playing Temple Grandin. She is absurdly good, but apparently not good enough to get in ahead of any of the bigger brand name nominees.
And the supporting/lead mash-up here also means there's no chance for Margo Martindale to get another nomination for her brilliant work on "Justified," but at least she's got her Emmy and her "A Gifted Man" paychecks.
Male Actor in a Drama Series
Patrick J. Adams, "Suits"
Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"
Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
See above. I. Just. Do. Not. Get. It.
Ensemble in a Drama Series
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
No major objections with 4 of the 5 (though I could swap in several other shows ahead of "Good Wife," it's got a terrific cast in its own right). But for "Dexter" to be nominated over the casts of "Homeland," "Justified," "Friday Night Lights," "Parenthood," "Men of a Certain Age," "Treme," "Sons of Anarchy," among others is just silly. Not Patrick J. Adams from "Suits" silly, but much closer than it should be.
What does everybody else think? Which SAG category seems weirdest to you? And do you think the HFPA might actually do a better job tomorrow with the Globes?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org