Monday, January 30, 2012

Guild Winners: We have ourselves a race

Three major guilds decided their winners in the past week, shaping the way for the final outcome of the Oscar race. The good news is that, at least in the lead acting categories, we do have an actual race!

Producers Guild of America 

Thomas Langmann wins for producing The Artist
basically confirming the trajectory it has been on since Cannes. It is taking the prize, people! 

For animated features, Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy & Steven Spielberg win for producing The Adventures of Tin Tin, not that that will help any on Oscar night, as their film was not nominated.

On TV, Martin Scorsese & co take the Episodic Television Drama prize for Boardwalk Empire, the extensive list of Modern Family producers which I don't care to re-type win for Episodic Television Comedy and Julian Fellowes et al take the Long-form Television prize for Downton Abbey.

Directors Guild of America

Martin Scorsese had an outside chance with Hugo, but Michel Hazanavicius's way to the Oscar podium has been solidly paved with his expected win for The Artist. 

For an American Guild award, this is the second consecutive year that the DGA awarded a foreign director over a viable American option. Which is frankly admirable.

TV-wise, Patty Jenkins wins the Dramatic Series prize for directing The Killing pilot, Robert B Weide takes the Comedic Series prize for Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, Palistinian Chicken & Jon Cassar wins the TV Movie / Mini-series prize for directing The Kennedys.   

Screen Actors Guild of America
The Screen Actors Guild takes things in a slightly different direction than what we saw at the Golden Globes, meaning that we have a race on our hands!

Female Actor in a Leading Role
Viola Davis - The Help

The Golden Globes gave their prize to Meryl Streep (Drama) & Michelle Williams (Musical / Comedy), but with Viola Davis' SAG (& previous Critics' Choice) win, we have a three-legged race on the go. Meryl Streep won the SAG in 2009 for Doubt (the Oscar went to Kate Winslet for The Reader) & has often given strong support to Viola Davis' campaign. The Help has huge Box Office earnings behind it & a big cast of respected actresses, so a Help sweep at SAG was to be expected (it took three in total). At the Oscars, however, it's not just the actors calling the shots and Meryl Streep's third Oscar (her second as Best Actress & her first out of 13 nominations since 1982) is long overdue. The Streep / Davis race is on, and I'm sure it's a bittersweet one for both Actresses. Second runner-up Michelle Williams should start preparing her speech in case a Davis/Streep vote split puts her on the podium as it did Adrien Brody in 2002 - when frontrunners Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) & Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs of New York) cancelled each other out.  

Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jean Dujardin - The Artist

SAG leans comedy & awards Jean Dujardin's charming old-school physical comedy performance, propping him up as a very real contender to George Clooney for The Descendants. My money is on Dujardin getting swept up in the The Artist wave.

Performance by a cast in a Motion Picture
The Help

I don't see this as a sign that The Help could in any way upset The Artist's Oscar chances. Nevertheless an impressive win.

Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer - The Help

As expected, and all the way to the Oscar podium.

Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christopher Plummer - Beginners


Male Actor in a TV Movie / Mini-series
Paul Giamatti - Too Big to Fail

Female Actor in a TV Movie / Mini-series
Kate Winslet - Mildred Pierce

Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire

Female Actor in a Drama Series
Jessica Lange - American Horror Story

Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock

Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Betty White - Hot in Cleaveland

Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire

Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Modern Family