2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards: ‘The Crown’ and ‘Schitt’s Creek’ are the top nominees

February 4, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

With five nominations each, the Netflix drama series “The Crown” and Pop network’s Canadian comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” are the top contenders at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be televised on April 4, 2021. TNT and TBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will not a large gathering but will instead be virtual.

“The Crown” is nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. “Schitt’s Creek,” which ended in 2020 after six seasons, is a contender for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Male and female cast members from both shows received individual nominations. The SAG Awards do not have supporting actor/actress categories for TV shows.

“The Crown” co-stars Gillian Anderson, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin are three of the five contenders for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. Meanwhile, Josh O’Connor of “The Crown” is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. For “Schitt’s Creek,” father and son co-stars Eugene Levy and Dan Levy are each nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, while Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy are among the contenders for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.

For movies, the top nominees scored three nominations each: the Netflix drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Netflix drama “Da 5 Bloods,” the Netlix drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and the A24 drama “Minari.” All four films are nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

The other nominations for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” are Viola Davis (for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role) and Chadwick Boseman (for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role). The other nominations for “Da 5 Bloods” are for Boseman (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role) and Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is also up for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture, as well as Sacha Baron Cohen’s nod for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. “Minari” co-stars also scored individual nods: Steven Yuen (for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role) and Youn Yuh-Jung (for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role).

The late Boseman (who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020) is one of two actors who received three nominations each at the SAG Awards this year. Colman received the previously mentioned two nominations for “The Crown,” plus a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, for the Sony Pictures Classics drama “The Father.”

Eligible movies were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and in January and February 2021. The eligibility window, which usually ends at the end of a calendar year, was extended for movies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible TV programs were those that premiered on U.S. networks and U.S. streaming services in 2020.

Snubs and Surprises

Shira Haas in “Unorthodox” (Photo by Anika Molnar/Netflix)

Although “Da 5 Bloods” scored a nod for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Delroy Lindo didn’t make the cut in the category for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He’s still nominated as part of “Da 5 Bloods” cast. Focus Features’ “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Vertical Entertainment’s “Miss Juneteenth” were completely shut out of the SAG Awards this year, even though they’ve been winning acting awards and nominations elsewhere.

In television, the biggest snubs were for the Netflix limited series “Unorthodox” and for the HBO drama series “Insecure,” which received several Emmy nominations each for the 2019-2020 TV season, but were completely shut of the SAG Awards this year. Also left out of the SAG Awards race was the Amazon Prime Video anthology series “Small Axe.” And all of the programs produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix were completely snubbed: the limited series “Hollywood” and “Ratched” and the movies “The Boys in the Band” and “The Prom.”

One of the biggest surprises in the movie categories was that the Netflix drama “Hillbilly Elegy,” which got mostly negative reviews, but received two SAG Award nods: Amy Adams is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, while Glenn Close is among the nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. In the television categories, only two shows are represented in the category for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: “The Crown” and “Ozark.” Laura Linney and Julia Garner are the nominees from “Ozark.”

Diversity and Inclusion

Cast members of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Pictured in front, from left to right: Dusan Brown and Viola Davis. Pictured in back, from left to right: Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts and Glynn Turman (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

The racial diversity for SAG Award nominees is a big improvement in 2021, compared to 2020. In 2020, people of color were only 14% of the 50 nominees in the SAG Award categories for individuals. In 2021, that percentage doubled to 28%. People of color are about 28% of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and that number is expected to be much higher for the 2020 U.S. Census. Despite the overall increase in people of color who are SAG Award nominees in 2021, compared to 2020, there were some noticeable diversity problems. In the TV categories, no women of color were nominated in the categories for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series. And absolutely no Latino/Hispanic people received nominations in any of the categories for individuals.

The black nominees in the movie categories for individuals are Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods”; Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami”; and Daniel Kaluuya for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The TV categories for individuals have Sterling K. Brown for NBC’s “This Is Us”; Regé-Jean Page for Netflix’s “Bridgerton”; Daveed Diggs for Disney+’s “Hamilton”; Michaela Coel for HBO’s “I May Destroy You”; and Kerry Washington for Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.”

In the SAG Award categories for groups this year, three of the five movies nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture have predominantly black casts: “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami.” “Minari,” which is also nominated in this category, has a predominantly Asian cast of Korean heritage.

Asians are represented the most with “Minari,” while Pakistani British actor Riz Ahmed of Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal” got a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. Ahmed’s role in “Sound of Metal” represents the disabled community, since he portrays a heavy metal drummer who goes deaf. Another person of color who received a SAG nomination this year is Egyptian American actor Ramy Youssef of “Ramy,” who’s nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.

Actors who are nominated for their portrayals of disabled people include the aforementioned Ahmed as a deaf musician in “Sound of Metal” and Anthony Hopkins as a man with dementia in Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Father,” who are each nominated in the same category. In television, Emmy-winning “I Know This Must Be True” star Mark Ruffalo portrays identical twins, one of whom has schizophrenia. For his role in this HBO limited drama series, Ruffalo is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

The LGBTQ community has very little representation among the SAG Award nominees this year. The only LGBTQ acting performances to get recognition are from straight actresses portraying queer women: Davis as real-life lesbian blues singer Ma Rainey in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Washington as fictional queer artist Mia Warren in “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 2021 SAG Awards:

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture 
“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
“Minari” (A24)
“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Steven Yeun (“Minari”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Chadwick Boseman (“Da 5 Bloods”)
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Youn Yuh-Jung (“Minari”)
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Mulan”
“News of the World”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Wonder Woman 1984”

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“Ozark” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bill Camp (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“The Boys”
“Cobra Kai”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”
“Westworld”