SAG Awards

Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger Look to Solidify Oscar Front-Runner Status at SAG Awards

Zellweger and Phoenix have both won Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards for their leading roles, putting them in the driver's seat as Oscar night approaches.

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Getty Images for Turner

Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger will look to solidify their Oscar chances Sunday night when the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are presented at the Shrine Auditorium, with Brad Pitt and Laura Dern also hoping to cement their front-running status for supporting roles.

Phoenix appears to be the man to beat in the lead-actor category for his chilling portrayal of the burgeoning comic-book villain in "Joker."  He's never won a SAG Award, despite four previous nominations, including a lead- actor nod for "Walk the Line" and supporting-actor bid for "Gladiator."

Also nominated for the SAG award for lead actor are Christian Bale for his racing role in "Ford v Ferrari," Leonardo DiCaprio for his portrayal of an insecure actor looking to revive his career in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," Taron Egerton for his portrayal of Elton John in the biopic "Rocketman" and Adam Driver for his role as a divorcing father in "Marriage Story."

Zellweger tops the list of lead-actress nominees for her compelling portrayal of an aging Judy Garland in "Judy." Scarlett Johansson, who plays Driver's wife in "Marriage Story," is also vying for the prize, along with Cynthia Erivo for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in "Harriet," Lupita Nyong'o as the mother of a terrorized family in "Us" and Charlize Theron for her portrayal of Megyn Kelly in the Fox News sexual harassment drama "Bombshell"

Zellweger is a three-time SAG winner, collecting a supporting actress prize for 2003's "Cold Mountain" as well as awards for lead actress and as a member of the ensemble cast of 2002's "Chicago." She won an Oscar for her "Cold Mountain" role.

So far this year, Zellweger and Phoenix have both won Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards for their leading roles, while Brad Pitt of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and Laura Dern of "Marriage Story" have won the same prizes for their supporting roles, putting all four in the driver's seat as Oscar night approaches.

Pitt, nominated for his role as stuntman Cliff Booth in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," is joined in the supporting-actor category by a pair of acting heavyweights from the mob drama "The Irishman" -- Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Jamie Foxx, who plays a man wrongfully convicted of murder in Just Mercy," and Tom Hanks, who tackles the role of Mister Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," round out the category.

Dern is nominated for best supporting actress for her portrayal of divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw in "Marriage Story." Her co-star, best-actress hopeful Johansson, is also nominated in the supporting-actress category for her work in the World War II satire "Jojo Rabbit." Jennifer Lopez is nominated for her portrayal of a scheming stripper in "Hustlers," while Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie are nominated for their respective portrayals of Gretchen Carlson and Kayla Pospisil in "Bombshell."

Despite its trio of individual acting nominations, "Marriage Story" was left off the list of nominees for SAG's ensemble cast award, the ceremony's rough equivalent of a best-picture prize.

Vying for that honor will be "Bombshell," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," "Jojo Rabbit," "The Irishman" and the South Korean thriller "Parasite."

The SAG honors, which are voted upon and awarded by actors, are generally considered strong indicators of how things will go in the acting categories on Oscar night, but they are also coveted by performers as a sign of peer recognition.

On the small screen, Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," which swept the SAG Award comedy series categories last year, leads the list of television nominees with four nods

The show is nominated again for ensemble cast in a comedy series, along with HBO's "Barry," Amazon's "Fleabag," Netflix's "The Kominsky Method" and Pop TV's "Schitt's Creek."

"Maisel" star Rachel Brosnahan and her co-star, Alex Borstein, are both nominated for best actress in a comedy series. Recent Emmy winner and Golden Globe winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge is also nominated for her work in "Fleabag," as are Christina Applegate for Netflix's "Dead to Me" and Catherine O'Hara for "Schitt's Creek." Brosnahan won the SAG Award last year.

Tony Shalhoub, who also won last year, is nominated again for lead comedy actor for his work in "Maisel." Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin are both nominated for "The Kominsky Method," along with Bill Hader for "Barry" and Andrew Scott for "Fleabag."

NBC's "This is Us," which has won the SAG Award for outstanding drama series ensemble cast two years in a row, was snubbed in the category this year. Nominations went instead to Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale," Netflix's "The Crown" and "Stranger Things" and HBO's "Game of Thrones" and "Big Little Lies."

Sterling K. Brown of "This is Us" is nominated for best drama series actor, as are Steve Carell and Billy Crudup of the Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show," Peter Dinklage for "Game of Thrones" and David Harbour for "Stranger Things."

Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman both earned nominations for lead actress in a drama series for "The Crown." Jennifer Aniston is nominated for "The Morning Show," while Jodie Comer received a nod for BBC America's "Killing Eve" and Elisabeth Moss for "The Handmaid's Tale."

Robert De Niro, who stars in "The Irishman," isn't nominated for an individual honor, but he will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award, which will be presented to him by DiCaprio.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on both TNT and TBS at 5 p.m.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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