As the end of 2015 approaches, so begins the 2016 film and television award season. The Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees were announced this morning, and along with the usual suspects — Mad Men, Transparent, Kate Winslet, Christian Bale — some surprising underdogs have emerged. Most of us aren’t guild members and don’t actually have any sway in whether these nominees will win, but here are some interesting choices to throw your moral support behind.
Straight Outta Compton, nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Except for Paul Giamatti, the Straight Outta Compton cast is filled with Hollywood newcomers, which makes it all the more impressive that there wasn’t a weak performance in the bunch. No one would have objected to seeing Corey Hawkins get an individual nomination for his brilliant portrayal of legendary rapper Dr. Dre, but it would be wonderful to see the whole cast rewarded for their efforts. Will the Guild look favorably on this story of music, racial justice and social change?
Brie Larson (Room), nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Larson isn’t going to be an underdog for much longer. After receiving lots of attention for her breakout role in Short Term 12, she’s already collecting copious nominations for her work as a mother and domestic abuse survivor in Room. Seasoned vets like Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren will be her biggest competition, but Larson is one underdog with enough early buzz to ultimately win in the end.
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Swedish star, Vikander isn’t a household name in North America yet, but between her recent roles in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, she’s well on her way. Last year was a huge one for her Danish Girl co-star, Eddie Redmayne. Perhaps some of his luck will be passed on to Vikander?
Key & Peele, nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The brainchild of comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele recently concluded its fifth and final season on Comedy Central, making this the perfect year for it to finally win some award love. Alongside industry favorites like Modern Family, Orange is the New Black, and Veep, Key & Peele will have the hardest shot at winning. But considering the viral success of sketches like “Negrotown” (pictured above), it might just steal the show.
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Larson’s Short Term 12 co-star has been making a huge name for himself as the breakout performer on USA’s Mr. Robot. Next to A-listers like Peter Dinklage, Jon Hamm, and Kevin Spacey, Malek may not have all that it takes to take home the statue this year, but you can bet that we’ll be hearing a lot more of his name in the next few years.
Louis C.K., (Louie), nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
C.K. is fun to watch at award shows, because even he seems surprised to be nominated. He’s up against nominees like Jim Parsons, Jeffrey Tambor, and Ty Burrell, so this year may end up being another tough one for him. But considering what an edgy and unexpected choice he would be, the Internet would explode in cheers if he’s called to the stage.
Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
A show like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt never could have worked without a grounded, hilarious performance like the one that Kemper gave. She’s more accustomed to Upright Citizens Brigade stages than award show stages, and next to favorites like Uzo Aduba and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she’s a long shot for winning this year. But her performance was such a pleasure to watch that it would be so exciting to see her honored.