‘La La Land’ hits a wrong note in Screen Actors Guild noms

The rising chorus for “La La Land” is suddenly missing a very conspicuous note.

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild nominations, announced Wednesday in West Hollywood, California, included nominations for the leads of Damien Chazelle’s acclaimed musical, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. But the perceived Oscar front-runner was notably absent in the SAGs’ top category, best ensemble.

“La La Land,” which landed a leading seven Golden Globe nominations on Monday, had seemingly been marching toward best-picture winner. Granted, “La La Land,” largely focused on its leads, doesn’t scream ensemble.

But if it goes on to win best picture, it will be the only the second to do so without a SAG ensemble nod in the category’s history. Only Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” managed it 20 years ago. Actors, the largest group in the Academy of Motion Pictures, hold considerable sway. (SAG, though, is much larger, with about 160,000 members, compared to about 1,200 actors in the academy.)

“Being able to make an old-fashioned Hollywood musical in 2016 really is reward enough; but to be acknowledged by other actors and our guild SAG-AFTRA is very meaningful,” said Gosling in a statement. “Thank you to Damien Chazelle for creating such a wonderful opportunity for all his actors to build their characters using the additional tools of song, dance and musicianship.”

The best ensemble nominees were Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale “Moonlight,” Kenneth Lonergan’s Massachusetts family drama “Manchester by the Sea,” the rousing NASA drama “Hidden Figures” and, in a surprise, the Viggo Mortensen-led bohemian romp “Captain Fantastic.”

“Have never been happier in my career about any nomination,” said Mortensen, also nominated for best actor. “That fellow actors in our Screen Actors Guild have just acknowledged that (director) Matt Ross has constructed a truly memorable family story for our times.”

“Manchester by the Sea” led all films with four nominations, including best actor for Casey Affleck and supporting nods for Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges.

In television, series newcomers “The Crown,” `’Westworld” and “Stranger Things” all picked up three nominations each, alongside Emmys favorite “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” and “Game of Thrones.”

Netlfix dominated with 17 total nominations, followed by HBO’s 13.

Individual film SAG nominees have historically aligned about four-out-of-five with Oscar acting categories. The other lead actor nominees were Denzel Washington (“Fences) and Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”). After being passed over by the Globes, Tom Hanks, star of Clint Eastwood’s “Sully,” might be on the outside this awards season.

Up for best actress alongside Stone are Amy Adams (“Arrival”), Natalie Portman (“Jackie”), Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) and, in a real twist, Emily Blunt, star of the tepidly reviewed “The Girl on the Train.”

Left out were of trio of likely contenders. Annette Bening, an assumed lock for an Oscar nod, for her 1970s matriarch in Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women.”

Isabelle Huppert, who has nearly swept critics’ awards, was passed over for her performance in Paul Verhoeven’s edgy “Elle.” And Ruth Negga, like her “Loving” co-star Joel Edgerton, failed to land a nomination.

The supporting nominees held fewer surprises. Along with Williams, the best supporting actress nominees are Viola Davis (“Fences”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), Nicole Kidman (“Lion”) and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”).

On the supporting side for actors, “Moonlight’s” Marershala Ali continues to dominate the category with another nomination. (As a cast member in “Hidden Figures,” he had a share in three nominations Wednesday.) He’ll be competing against “Manchester’s” Hedges, Jeff Bridges for “Hell or High Water,” Dev Patel for “Lion” and Hugh Grant for “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS on Jan. 29 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
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This story corrects SAG ensemble history in fourth paragraph.

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