SAG Awards: A Big Night for Netflix, Diversity and Possible Game Changer for ‘Chicago 7’

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by Pete Hammond on April 4, 2021.

Netflix inarguably had a very big night at the SAG Awards, both in movies and TV categories taking half of the latter’s eight categories across three shows (The Queen’s Gambit, Ozark, The Crown), and three of the five big movie categories including both Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the lead acting slots, and for Outstanding Cast The Trial of the Chicago 7 winning the big award of the evening which is SAG’s equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar. Last year’s win in the latter category likely started a late surge for Parasite leading to its ultimate sweep on Oscar night. Netflix has to be hoping that after some disappointing showings in recent precursor guild awards shows for WGA and PGA that this can represent a turnaround in momentum and put Chicago 7 back in the game in a big way. A loss would be devastating to its Oscar chances particularly since this was such an ensemble actor driven film, but this SAG victory could re-energize the stirring and timely Aaron Sorkin film’s chances to stop presumed front runner Nomadland. That scenario has certainly happened in the past and the Netflix team was thrilled tonight by these results.

For further encouragement Netflix only has to look at the 2005 race where, almost exactly like Nomadland has done to date, heavy favorite Brokeback Mountain won the PGA, WGA, Golden Globe Drama, Broadcast Critics Award (now Critics Choice), and also the DGA and BAFTA Best Film awards, the latter pair expected also to go next weekend to the Searchlight film about modern day nomads roaming the country in their vans (only difference was WGA where Nomadland was ineligible). Still upstart Crash was able to swoop in and grab the Best Picture Oscar, while also taking Editing and Original Screenplay, an outcome on April 25th that you could definitely imagine happening also for Chicago 7. The plot thickens. Nomadland had come into the SAG contest tonight with a single nomination for star Frances McDormand but came home empty. The lack of a Cast nom might have been due to the fact it is comprised largely on non-actors in key supporting roles. …

Deadline Hollywood 4/4


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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at