In a year with plenty of turnover, there weren’t a lot of new shows that broke into the SAG Awards. First seasons of “Watchmen,” “Russian Doll,” “PEN15,” and “Ramy” were widely ignored. “The Morning Show” (with three nominations) was the only new drama series to be recognized by the Screen Actors Guild, and “Dead to Me” was the only comedy (earning just one nomination for Christina Applegate).
Meanwhile, there were plenty of other shocking snubs. For “Succession,” having a second season in the books didn’t help. Widely expected to be a force at the SAG Awards after a masterful second season that took over the zeitgeist, HBO’s drama couldn’t land a single nomination. “Big Little Lies” didn’t fare much better. In transitioning from a limited series to the drama categories, the star-studded adaptation could only muster an ensemble nod.
What surprises there were came largely from confirmations. While “The Morning Show” shook things up a bit and it was nice to see “Schitt’s Creek” earn some guild attention, “Stranger Things,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Kominsky Method” all stayed in contention. Some thought new shows would force old favorites out — but it wasn’t to be.
Take a look at the surprising omissions and outstanding surprises below, and don’t forget to tune in to see who wins when the SAG Awards ceremony airs Sunday, January 19 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS.
Long seen as HBO’s next big awards darling, the critically lauded second season was shut out at the SAG Awards, failing to snag nominations for Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, or Kieran Culkin, as well as missing out on the Best Ensemble category. It’s worth noting: Only the Golden Globes have nominated “Succession” actors thus far. The Emmys handed over writing and series nods to Season 1, but nothing to the cast, and they were shut out of last year’s SAG Awards, as well.
Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
More bad news for HBO: The SAG Awards didn’t respond to “Big Little Lies” Season 2 the same way they did when it was a limited series. In 2018, the retroactive first season earned four nominations and won two: for Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard. This year, it could only land a Best Ensemble nomination, despite bringing on 17-time SAG Award nominee Meryl Streep. Whether or not the series can sustain its awards traction through the 2020 Emmys is more in doubt today than yesterday.
While part of the recognized “Big Little Lies” ensemble, Witherspoon wasn’t personally nominated despite having two roles in serious contention. Her “Morning Show” stars did well, snagging three nominations, so she’ll have to settle for being a happy co-star (and E.P.) to all her nominated co-stars.
Regina King, “Watchmen”
“Watchmen” earned an early nomination for Best Stunt Ensemble, but the magnificent HBO drama was otherwise shut out of the SAG Awards. Despite dominating the Emmys, King has never been a huge hit with the guild. She’s only been nominated once, as part of the “Ray” ensemble in 2005.
Natasha Lyonne, “Russian Doll”
After cracking competitive categories at the Emmys and Golden Globes for her time-looping Netflix series, Lyonne felt like a favorite to make the final five here. Instead, two stars from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” made their way in, and Lyonne found herself on the outs. If only trends had repeated themselves one more time.
Billy Porter, “Pose”
Another Emmy winner ignored by the SAG Awards, the TV Academy’s recognition earlier this year couldn’t boost Porter into the guild’s good graces. He also was left off the list for Season 1.
Courtesy of Des Willie / Netflix
Tobias Menzies, “The Crown”
While “The Crown” did well — securing three nominations — many thought Tobias Menzies was a lock as Prince Philip. Alas, even the show’s strong focus on Queen Elizabeth’s betrothed couldn’t secure the fine actor his first SAG nod.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
You’d be hard-pressed to name anyone else the president of TV’s awards circuit this past decade, but Louis-Dreyfus’ impressive tenure is coming to an end with a disappointing whimper rather than the deserved bang. She and “Veep” had been nominated five years running at the SAG Awards, and they both won in 2018 (the last year they were nominated). Now the woman behind President Meyer and her cast of cohorts are out of the running completely. The SAG Awards were the last major awards show in which the final season of “Veep” could compete, after getting snubbed by the Golden Globes yesterday. Meyer merited her comeuppance, but Louis-Dreyfus and the show were worthy of a few last awards.
Aaron Paul, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”
Despite the “Breaking Bad” pedigree and plenty of good reviews, “El Camino” hasn’t been able to get traction in the awards race.
Helen Mirren, “Catherine the Great”
After winning two SAG Awards in the same year for “The Queen” and “Elizabeth I,” the beloved actor couldn’t break through with HBO’s latest period piece.
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Last year’s winner for Best Actress in a Drama Series was left off the list in favor of her co-star, Jodie Comer, who beat Oh at the Emmys earlier this year. On the one hand, the two’s up-and-down battles for awards should only intensify their characters’ cat-and-mouse game… but these two don’t really need to go method to get the job done.
“This Is Us”
The two-time defending ensemble champion got left off the list, despite a lack of new shows fighting their way in — every nominee had been previously nominated, and “This Is Us” beat every nominee in the past two years except “Big Little Lies.” What a weird group of nominees.
Courtesy of Apple
Three nominations for “The Morning Show”
Welp, it’s official: “The Morning Show” is a legitimate awards contender. After securing its expected nominations at the Golden Globes, the Apple TV+ drama climbed a much more difficult mountain to land three nominations for its premiere prestige program. That those nominees are Jennifer Aniston (of course), Billy Crudup (OK…), and Steve Carell (wow!), rather than Reese Witherspoon or an Ensemble nod, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Apple will take its three tallies and tout them around town through Emmy season — and they should. Courting the 90-some members of the HFPA is one thing, but winning the favor of 2,500 SAG voters is quite an accomplishment.
“The Kominsky Method” holds strong
Another Globes favorite that did well with the Screen Actors Guild, “The Kominsky Method” felt like it dropped off the map a bit when Season 2 debuted, but awards voters are still very much paying attention. Chuck Lorre’s Netflix comedy landed nominations for Michael Douglas, Alan Arkin, and Best Comedy Ensemble.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” does, too
With added competition from “The Morning Show,” “Big Little Lies,” and plenty of other well-watched dramas, Hulu’s breakthrough series could’ve been passed over for its third season — not yet. Elisabeth Moss and the cast earned nominations, keeping the series very much in the conversation.
“Schitt’s Creek” surges
Catherine O’Hara broke into the Comedy Actress race and PopTV’s biggest hit pulled in an ensemble nod, as well, making 2019 the most successful year for the outgoing series yet — two SAG Award nominations, four Primetime Emmy nods, five from the Broadcast Film Critics, and two from the TCA Awards.
“Stranger Things 3” snags three nods
Another populist pick that feels like it came out years ago, “Stranger Things 3” made its mark with actors, landing nominations for David Harbour, Drama Ensemble, and Stunt Ensemble. Perhaps it can compete for more than just crafts awards come the 2020 Emmys.