What Does Jennifer Lawrence & 'Joy's SAG Awards Snub Mean For Oscars Season?

On Wednesday, we finally found out the nominations for the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Awards — and there was one star who was surprising left out: Jennifer Lawrence. Shockingly, the star of the upcoming movie Joy didn't make the cut for this year's Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. This year's nominees instead include Brie Larson (Room), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold), Cate Blanchett (Carol) and a surprising Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back) — all deserving actresses, of course, but still, it's surprising not to see Lawrence's name amongst their's. And it wasn't just her the Guild left out, either — it was the whole movie. Lawrence's third go-round with David O'Russell, who directed her to SAG and Academy Award Best Actress glory with Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, was completely shut out of the SAG Award nominations.

It's definitely a bit surprising, since Lawrence and Joy have been on many critics' short lists when it comes to Oscar predictions. Not to mention, that the SAGs have been a supporter of Lawrence's previous two collaborations with Russell (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle).

But, it's a very long awards season, and there's lots of nominations still to be announced, so don't go counting Lawrence out just yet.

As for why the Screen Actor's Guild may have left Lawrence off the ballot, it's not clear. It was a tough race this year, especially with ingenues like Larson and Ronan, who have been getting raves for their performances in movies that are equally as adored by the critics. It could be that the Screen Actor's Guild did not consider Joy to be enough of an ensemble to warrant it a nomination at an awards show that is judged by the acting community. The major award at this show is not for Best Picture, it's Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Joy hinges on one character, while the movies that were nominated for the prize this year — Beasts of No Nation, The Big Short, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton, Trumbo — all hinge on larger casts working together. Joy is about one woman and her journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Sure, it boasts an ensemble cast of Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen, and Isabella Rossellini, but the story focuses on Lawrence's Joy. (Additionally worth noting: Entertainment Weekly reported that screeners for Joy were sent out late, leaving voters with little time to consider the film as a contender.)


While any of these reasons (or none of them) could be why Joy and Lawrence were left off the SAG nominees list, the biggest question is how this could effect her chances of winning another Oscar. The answer? Quite a lot actually. Specifically, since the SAG Awards are a good predictor of who will also earn an Oscar nomination. Bustle reported in 2014 that in the last 20 years of the SAG Awards, the Female Lead SAG and Best Actress Oscar categories synced up entirely (meaning all five nominees the same) seven times. Fifteen actresses have won both the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for the same role. Those are pretty good odds.

The Daily News agrees that the SAGs help increase your chances of earning an Oscar nod and chalk this up to one very good reason: The same Hollywood people who weigh in on the acting nominations for the Academy Awards also weigh in on the SAGs. Last year, 17 of 20 SAG Award nominees ended up being nominated for the Oscar. They were so good at predicting the 2015 winners that those who won acting prizes at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette) also took home the Oscar.

But because the Academy Awards allow not only actors and actresses to vote on the final decision of who will win the best acting awards, there are sometimes discrepancies. Specifically when it comes to nominations, which can differ slightly. Last year Jennifer Aniston was nominated for her movie Cake, but was left off the Oscar ballot, only to be replaced by Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night, who didn't make the SAG cut. Woman in Gold's earlier release date gave SAG voters time to really think about Mirren's performance, but that may not mean she'll be remembered as kindly when the Oscar ballots roll around. The Daily News points out that Meryl Streep didn't win a SAG Award for her role in The Iron Lady, but she ended up winning the Oscar anyway. Christoph Waltz wasn't even nominated for a SAG for Django Unchained but he still took home the Best Supporting Actor statue when Oscar rolled around. This is all to say that SAG has gotten it wrong before, at least in Oscar's opinion.

Besides Lawrence and Joy, this year's list of SAG nominees is missing a few other movies and stars who have been getting Oscar buzz for months, including The Martian, which wasn't nominated for its ensemble cast, while Spotlight stars Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo were ignored. These surprises have Variety already predicting that this will be one of those anomaly years where there isn't much crossover with the eventual Oscar nominees. "You could say on one hand that this list feels somewhat irrelevant and will prove to have less crossover with the eventual Oscar nominees than ever," Variety explained. "Or you could chalk it up to the simple fact that this is a truly wide-open race on the whole." Basically, this year, it's still anybody's awards season to win. Even Jennifer Lawrence's.


Image: 20th Century Fox, Giphy