For the fourth straight year, here’s my ballot for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. I consider 2012 a mixed year in cinema. And, I believe several folks and motion pictures in most of the categories should be considered for specific awards. Let me explain:
OUTSTANDING MALE: Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
This is a clear selection. Lewis embodies Abraham Lincoln with humanity; a certain degree of duplicitous frailties; and with a smaller-than-life depiction. The final tumultuous weeks of our 16th President’s iconic career as a politician is a stunning revelation under Steven Spielberg’s able direction.
OUTSTANDING FEMALE: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
The film has a docu-drama feel to it. Wonderfully directed, and Jessica Chastain is in almost every scene. Considering it runs 2 1/2 hours, it’s a strong performance. She underplays her role, responding to the testosterone that fills the screen. This is a close call, because I also loved Naomi Watts in The Impossible. The only flaw to this movie is it lacks a dramatic soul; no hand-wringing while sitting in the theatre. Technically, the film is a modern epic.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE: Alan Arkin (Argo)
The best Supporting Male performance has been completely overlooked this year. I have not been shy about my selection of David Strathairn as Secretary of State Henry Seward (Lincoln). However, since his omission was clearly intended by the makers of the motion picture… I don’t adopt the conventional wisdom that Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) or Cristoph Waltz (Django Unchained) should get my vote. Alan Arkin provides the needed comedic elements within Argo. His acting is believable and laugh-out-loud funny. This side of Strathairn, he did a great job.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE: Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway will probably win this. For the 15 minutes she’s on-screen, it’s her best work to date. And, her live performance of I Dreamed a Dream is stunning. But, I don’t vote based on a great interpretation of a showtune. Sally Field is overshadowed only by Day Lewis. Her spitfire interpretation of Mary Todd Lincoln provides much of the Lincoln's private angst… and Field delivers in spades. She captures an earlier form that earned her an Oscar for Places in the Heart. I like her… I really liked her…
OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE: Lincoln
Flat out, the Best Picture in a decade! It’s almost unfair to match a Spielberg / Day Lewis collaboration against other motion pictures. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Argo. It could win this award. The ensemble is perfectly cast, with a story adroitly told by director Ben Affleck. This is truly a close call.
~ My 2012 Top 10: 1. Lincoln 2. Argo 3. Zero Dark Thirty 4. The Impossible 5. Flight 6. Les Miserables 7. Hitchcock 8. The Sessions 9. Rust and Bone 10. Hyde Park on Hudson
Highlights in 2012 television include: Downton Abbey (Drama Cast); The Big Bang Theory (Comedy Cast); and Hatfields & McCoys (Mini-Series Cast).
The SAG Awards will air on January 27th on TNT and TBS. We’ll see how I do this year…
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