SAG Awards: Does 'Bridesmaids' love up comedy's Oscar chances?
"Bridesmaids" producer Judd Apatow started banging the drum for an Oscar comedy category months ago, hoping the film could get some recognition beyond the populist love for it and its impressive box office gross. Perhaps with Wednesday's nomination of the film in SAG's best ensemble category, he can stop pushing so hard.
While the winner of the SAG ensemble has always coincided with an Oscar nomination for best picture, with the exception of "The Birdcage" in 1996, the nominations don't always line up as neatly. Still, Wednesday's nomination bodes well for this summer's R-rated comedy hit. (The nod to actress Melissa McCarthy in the best female supporting category doesn't hurt either.)
The 2,100 actors who make up SAG's nominating committee have often been spot-on with their picks reflecting the Academy's best picture choices. Last year, the actors picked "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," "Black Swan," "The Kids are All Right" and "The Fighter" -- five films that made it into the 10-picture Academy race. Back in 2008, it chose "Slumdog Millionaire," "Benjamin Button," "Doubt," "Frost/Nixon," and "Milk" as its top five -- all Oscar nominees in the top race.
Other years there's been less overlap in the nominees, with SAG nominating films for its awards that didn't land Academy nominations for best picture, such as "Nine" in 2009, "Hairspray" in 2007 and "Bobby" in 2006.
What may differentiate "Bridesmaids" from the outliers of the previous years, though, is the Kristen Wiig-starrer resonated with both critics and audiences and was regarded as a game-changer for women in the industry, demonstrating that women can be as funny as men and lure a big audience. Whether that's enough to get the Academy's attention remains to be seen. But getting the support of the actors' branch -- which makes up the largest voting bloc of the Academy -- is a significant start.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Kirsten Wiig in "Bridesmaids." Credit: Universal Pictures