6 Takeaways From the DGA and SAG Awards Weekend

The most demoralizing awards season in recent memory continued over the weekend, with the Directors Guild and the Screen Actors Guild handing out their hardware to pretty much everyone you expected to receive it. I'll factor all this into Oscar Index on Wednesday for a complete-race breakdown, but here are the five basic takeaways worth keeping in mind:

1. The Artist is not coming back.
Michel Hazanavicius's DGA win for Best Director, paired with last weekend's Producers Guild win for Best Picture, all but cements The Artist's standing as the thoroughbred way, way out in front of the Oscar pack. It isn't about to slow up, either; the most that the teams behind such films as The Descendants, The Help and Hugo can hope for is that their principals cure cancer this week. And even that might not be enough goodwill to ratchet up their momentum.

2. Michel Hazanavicius/Tom Hooper/Quentin Tarantino are to 2012 what Robert Rodriguez/Kevin Smith/Quentin Tarantino were to 1994.
If mellow is what wins, then Harvey Weinstein will give awards voters mellow. He's about to go two-for-two with this (mostly) new stable of directorial talent, having previously made nominees of Tarantino and (ahem) Stephen Daldry. Next up in 2013, it's Tarantino again with Django Unchained and Paul Thomas Anderson perhaps giving us back some edge as well with his new one. But mostly just look for Harvey to continue making whatever myths he can in the perennial quest to bolster his own.

3. Bank on Viola Davis.
It's not so much the precursors won -- her SAG and Critics Choice awards for Best Actress, for example -- that now have her ahead of Meryl Streep in the Oscar race. It's her extraordinary class and grace and humility in accepting her plaudits -- her belief in her work, her colleagues, and the power of what they created. Only the Artist gang has really shown any ability to match that, and thus look for both to be rewarded next month with the majority of the Academy's top prizes -- including...

4. Jean Dujardin should pull through.
I don't know what surveys or rankings some experts were reading that made Dujardin's SAG win on Sunday an "upset." Movieline's Institute for the Advanced Study of Kudos Forensics has had the guy tracking in the lead for two months now, with Clooney only recently pulling even after the Golden Globes. Now Dujardin returns to the solo lead, probably for good. Big deal.

5. The Academy embarrassed itself nominating Glenn Close.
I don't have much outrage left about this year's Oscar class, but just watching another goddamn tired Albert Nobbs clip and seeing Tilda Swinton's gracious recognition of her own SAG nomination and thinking about Swinton and Charlize Theron and Kirsten Dunst and Elizabeth Olsen and at least three or four other actresses more worthy of Close's Oscar nomination and what could have been had me so irretrievably embittered all over again. What a bunch of bozos we've built this beat around. Or maybe we're the bozos. Either way, it's a waste.

6. It won't get any better next year.
Who's ready for the great John Hawkes (The Surrogate)/Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln) battle of 2013? I said, who's ready -- enh, forget it.

And for the record, find the complete list of SAG motion picture award winners below. Congrats to all!



Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - "THE ARTIST" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark
ALLISON JANNEY / Charlotte Phelan
CHRIS LOWELL / Stuart Whitworth
AHNA O’REILLY / Elizabeth Leefolt
SISSY SPACEK / Missus Walters
EMMA STONE / Skeeter Phelan
CICELY TYSON / Constantine Jefferson
MIKE VOGEL / Johnny Foote

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  • AS says:

    Correction: Django Unchained currently has a release date of Dec. 25 2012, not 2013.

  • The Winchester says:

    Odd question about the SAG awards: for the ensemble award, does everyone in the whole movie get a trophy? Just principles and/or SAG members?

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      That's a great question! I dunno, will try to look into it. I would hope/think everyone gets one; they omit people from the ensemble lists all the time, presumably to curb the number of trophy recipients. (E.g. Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris) But don't quote me on that...

  • Derek says:

    I couldn't agree with the writer more. Tilda Swinton was ROBBED of an award! I never ceases to amaze me the pitiful films that are nominated..and to not give to an actress who constantly does good work, outstanding films...just unjustified. What an embarrassment for the industry.

    • Charles says:

      I'll agree w/this. They often give "lifetime achievement" Oscars for actors in good-but-not-great performances. And here's Swinton - coming off Julia, I Am Love, Stephanie Daley, etc- giving a memorable, outstanding perf. in a plum, Oscar-ready part and is snubbed in favor of Glenn Close dressing up as a man. A true travesty.

  • Charles says:

    The Oscars wouldn't be the travesty it more or less is if Harvey Weinstein would just stop buying out everyone's love. This guy is responsible for some great films and some terribly overhyped, mediocre crass that neverthless gets nominated. I can name about 50 films more deserving than Extremely Loud... Don't the voters have any spines?

  • MartiniShark says:

    I have a growing theory that Tilda Swinton's career arc matches "Albert Nobbs". (Still details to work out).

    And side topic: Anyone else catch Nick Nolte last night? He managed to look better in his clips as a grizzled wash-out boxer than he did sitting in a banquet hall wearing a tuxedo.

  • Emma says:

    "The Academy embarrassed itself nominating Glenn Close."

    And by nominating Meryl Streep who will inevitably be nominated next year for her Tommy Lee Jones film which HAS TO be better than the atrocity that is The Iron Lady. The Academy sent a clear message to actors, especially female actors, this year (i.e. Theron, Swinton, and Fassbender): "DON'T take on risky or dark roles... we will not acknowledge you. The only exception is if you are backed by Harvey Weinstein or have a bullshit career narrative and are over the age of 60 or somehow connected to the Daldry."

    The tagline for this years ceremony should be: "We have lowered our standards that even Eddie Murphy wanted nothing to do with us!"

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      "We have lowered our standards that even Eddie Murphy wanted nothing to do with us!"

      PERFECT. Perfectperfectperfect.

  • KevyB says:

    I'm down with: "Or maybe we're the bozos." Why do Oscars matter? It's not like they've been a joke LATELY. They've pretty much ALWAYS been a joke. Alfred Hitchcock won NO Academy Awards! Meryl Streep has somehow only won TWO Oscars! Fucking Titanic won Best Picture!! Pulp Fiction didn't!!!

    I long ago gave up on the ceremony. Nearly four hours of my life to be entertained for approximately 10 minutes or so, and to be pissed off for long after the four hours were over. But I always made sure to watch all the nominated films, like they were some barometer of excellence. But after a year of Black Fucking Swan, which followed a year of The Fucking Blind Side and A Serious Fucking Man, I've just decided they're not a barometer of SHIT. Well, I mostly decided that as a way to not have to sit through Extremely Loud or Tree of Life THIS year. So just let them give their awards to a bunch of B+ movies, I'm switching my barometer to Metacritic's Best of the Year lists. (When's A Separation in town?)

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      I hear ya, Kevy. Time to move on. Though you should see 'Tree of Life,' at least the middle section with Pitt/Chastain and the kids is pretty good.

      Honestly, though, the critics' lists too often offer the same smug groupthink as the awards aristocracy. We try to do what we can at Movieline to turn folks on to good, offbeat stuff, which isn't always easy, but seems a useful-enough ambition. I hope we can improve on that in 2012, especially after seeing just how nightmarish 2011 has been.

      • KevyB says:

        Oh, I'm sure there are amazing parts in Tree of Life, because that's Malick's MO: The ridiculously pretentious sprinkled with scenes of transcendant excellence. Where can I find the Tree of Life Special Edition: "Now with MORE deleted scenes!"???

        And, yeah, the critic's lists often feature "Pretentiousness Overload" or "Acting 1/Writing -5". You know what's a weirdly accurate barometer for me lately? Netflix ratings. I don't think I've been upset with anything with a 4-star rating on there. Especially in the indie and foreign sections.