Oppenheimer Picks Up Momentum At SAG Awards As Oscars Draw Near | CBC News


Oppenheimer’s top prize at SAG Awards adds to momentum as Oscars draw closerOppenheimer continued to steamroll through Hollywood’s awards season on Saturday, winning the top prize, for outstanding cast, along with awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Awards show, 1st since months-long SAG-AFTRA strike, streamed live on NetflixThe Associated Press

· Posted: Feb 25, 2024 11:01 AM EST | Last Updated: February 25

From the left, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr. present a segment from Oppenheimer during the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. All three won awards for their roles in the movie. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/The Associated Press)Oppenheimer continued to steamroll through Hollywood’s awards season on Saturday, winning the top prize, for outstanding cast, along with awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

As the Academy Awards draw closer, Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic — already a winner at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs — has increasingly looked like the runaway favourite. The SAG Awards, one of the most telling Oscar predictors, will only add to the momentum for Oppenheimer, the lead Academy Awards nominee with 13 nods.

The SAG Awards were streamed live on Netflix, a first for a major Hollywood award show. That made for some significant tweaks to the age-old traditions of such ceremonies.

There were no ads. Profanity was permitted. (“Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in front of Oprah,” said de facto emcee Idris Elba.) And winners were occasionally interviewed backstage by red-carpet co-host Tan France — sometimes awkwardly, sometimes charmingly.

The SAG Awards don’t always signify Oscar success. Two of the last five winners from the guild, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Black Panther, lost at the Academy Awards. But in the past two years, all five of the top SAG prizes — best ensemble and the four acting winners — have corresponded with the eventual Oscar winners, including the ensembles for Everything Everywhere All at Once and CODA.

That could mean the SAGs offered an Oscar preview in two of the closest contests: best actor and best actress.

The night’s most thrilling win went to Lily Gladstone for female actor in a leading role in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. No category has been more hotly contested, with analysts evenly split between Gladstone and Emma Stone for Poor Things.

Lily Gladstone poses in the press room of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday with the award for best female actor for the movie Killers of the Flower Moon. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)But Gladstone won Saturday and the crowd erupted. Stone, too, stood and vigorously applauded. More is riding on Gladstone than perhaps any other Oscar contender this year. Her win would be a first for Native Americans.

“We bring empathy into a world that so much needs it,” said Gladstone.

“It’s so easy to distance ourselves. It’s so easy to close off, to stop feeling. And we all bravely keep feeling. And that humanizes people. That brings people out of the shadows. It brings visibility.”

Murphy and Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) have also been seen as in a neck-and-neck contest. But Murphy has now won at the SAGs, the BAFTAs and Globes, suggesting he has the clear edge heading into the Academy Awards.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph poses in the press room of the Shrine Auditorium with the award for best supporting female actor in a movie, for The Holdovers. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)Downey Jr. and Da’Vine Joy Randolph each won for their supporting performances, likewise solidifying their status as Oscar favourites.

‘Why me? Why now?'”Why me? Why now? Why do things seem to be going my way?” said Downey Jr., accepting his first SAG Award for a film performance. “Unlike my fellow nominees, I will never grow tired from the sound of my own voice.”

Randolph’s performance in Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers has been a breakthrough role for the 37-year-old actor. Now, she appears poised to win the Academy Award.

“To every actor out there still waiting in the wings for their chance, let me tell you: Your life can change in a day,” Randolph said. “It’s not a question of if but when. Keep going.”

After more than two decades airing on TNT and TBS to dwindling viewership, Netflix acquired telecast rights to the SAG Awards in early 2023. Netflix, a dominant force for years in awards season, turned host, too.

“Personally, I can’t wait to get home and have Netflix recommend this show to me based on all the other stuff that I watch myself in,” joked Elba.

Idris Elba, who opened the show, is seen presenting the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role during the ceremony, which was streamed live on Netflix. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/The Associated Press)The TV awards went largely to the same shows that have cleaned up at the Emmys and Golden Globes: The Bear (best comedy series ensemble, Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri ); Beef (Ali Wong, Steven Yeun); and the cast of Succession.

One exception was Pedro Pascal, who won best male actor in a drama series for The Last of Us over a trio of Succession stars.

“This is wrong for a number of reasons,” said a visibly stunned Pascal. “I’m a little bit drunk. I thought I could get drunk.”

Pedro Pascal, named best male actor in a drama series for The Last of Us, poses with his award. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)This year’s SAG Awards follows a grueling months-long strike in which the SAG-AFTRA union fought a bitter battle over a number of issues. Much of the work stoppage was prompted over changes in the film and TV industry brought on by streaming and a sea change led by Netflix.

Shout-out for actors’ union solidarity”Your solidarity ignited workers around the world, triggering what forever will be remember as ‘the hot labour summer,”‘ said Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA. “This was a seminal moment in our union’s history.”

The new streaming platform was sure to put even more of a spotlight on one of the most closely watched predictors of the Academy Awards. Oscar voting wraps Tuesday.

Barbra Streisand held the audience in rapt attention while accepting a lifetime achievement award, presented by Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper.

Barbra Streisand accepts the SAG lifetime achievement award on stage during the ceremony. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)”I remember dreaming of being an actress as a teenager sitting in my bed in Brooklyn with a pint of coffee ice cream and a movie magazine,” said Streisand.

Streisand also took a moment to celebrate the Jewish pioneers of Hollywood.

“Now I dream of a world where such prejudice is a thing of the past,” she said.

Saturday’s show was one of Netflix’s most significant forays yet into live streaming events. Netflix has previously hosted a live Chris Rock comedy special, a celebrity golf tournament and a live reunion Love Is Blind episode that was marred by technical difficulties.

But Netflix is gearing up for more. On March 3, it will stream a live tennis event.

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