Tuesday January 31, 2017
Is It Denzel's to Lose Now?
Sunday night while I was at the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle protesting Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants/refugees from seven countries in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen), which anyone with a brain realizes is ...
- potentially unconstitutional
- unthought out
- liable to make us less safe in the long run, and
- an idiotic move by a child-president and his evil babysitter Steve Bannon
... while I was doing that—which, for my money, didn't include enough “Dump Trump” chants—the Screen Actors Guild awards were being given out in Hollywood, Calif.
Do we care at this point? Is it worth talking about?
Probably not. But here I go.
For those for whom #OscarsSoWhite matters, it was a good night. The cast award went to “Hidden Figures,” about African-American women in the Mercury/Apollo space program, while three of the four film acting awards went to African-Americans: Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) and Viola Davis (“Fences”) in supporting, and Denzel for lead (“Fences”). The fourth SAG went to Emma Stone for lead in “La La Land.”
The surprise was Denzel. The early money in this category was on Casey Affleck for “Manchester By the Sea,” which I think is the best movie of the year. Affleck was its likeliest winner, but sexual harassment charges against him from 10 years ago, which were settled out of court, keep resurfacing. From what I've read of the charges, they hardly come across as threatening—pathetic, really—but voices will be heard. Denzel won his first Oscar in 2001 in part because Russell Crowe exhibited bad behavior at the BAFTAs, and maybe this will lead to his second. If it does, he will join rare company: Only Jack Nicholson has ever won two lead actor Oscars and one supporting actor Oscar.
How likely is a Denzel Oscar win? Likelier now. There was a four-year stretch, from 2000 to 2003, in which SAG chose a different lead than Oscar. Otherwise, it's been an exact match in this category:
|2005||Phillip Seymour Hoffman||ditto|
|2003||Johnny Depp||Sean Penn|
|2002||Daniel Day-Lewis||Adrien Brody|
|2001||Russell Crowe||Denzel Washington|
|2000||Benedecio Del Toro*||Russell Crowe|
* Won the Oscar (for “Traffic”) in the supporting category
The cast award has been a more hit-and-miss predictor of best picture, missing nine of the 20 times it's been awarded. I assume “Hidden Figures” will make it an even 10. The others (Stone, Davis, Ali) are almost dead-locks.
Keep fighting Trump.