Michael Barker, co-chief executive of Sony Pictures Classic, said in October that Stewart’s work in the picture is her best.
In a rare move, he openly declared that he planned to campaign for her to win the “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the awards, publicly discourages campaigning, even thought it’s said to widely be done behind-the-scenes.
SAG, which is made up of actors and film industry workers, has the same policy, and Barker may have sparked a backlash. Stewart was not among the nominees for for the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role award.
Instead, nominations went to Patricia Arquette for her role as Olivia in “Boyhood,” Keira Knightley for her role as Joan Clarke in “The Imitation Game,” and Emma Stone who played Sam in the Searchlight film “Birdman.”
Also nominated were Meryl Streep for her role as the witch in Disney’s “Into the Woods” and Naomi Watts for her role as Daka in “St. Vincent.”
“Still Alice” is a deeply moving film about a college professor who struggles with early onset Alzheimer’s. It netted lead actress Julianne Moore a SAG nod for best actress in a leading role.
Stewart plays Lydia Howland, the daughter of Moore’s character, Alice Howland. It’s a pivotal role in the movie, which makes it all the more surprising that Stewart was passed over for a nomination, given Moore’s accolades.
The SAG nomination is the ninth best actress nod the 54-year-old actress has received so far for her role, making her a favorite for an Oscar nomination. She’s won five of the awards so far, with four still pending, including the SAG.
SAG nominations are also a harbinger of Oscar nominations because more than 100,000 SAG actors vote for the awards. Actors also make up the largest voting bloc for Academy Awards.
What’s more, both Arquette and Watts are surprise nominees, largely because neither actress has received as much pre-award hype as Stewart.
“St. Vincent” is a comedy-drama written and directed by Theodore Melfi, who made his feature film debut with the picture. Bill Murray is the title character with Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd.
Watts plays a Russian prostitute in this redemptive tale about a neer-do-well man who agrees to watch a neighbor’s 12-year-old child. He takes him on a bunch of wild adventures, that include race tracks and strip clubs as they both learn from each other.
Arquette’s film, “Boyhood” is a coming-of-age drama about a single mother in Texas (Arquette), who raises two children and goes through the throes of divorces and other life-changing events while she attempts to improve her own life by going to college. The film tracks the family over several years.
There’s no way of knowing whether Barker’s proselytizing on Stewart’s behalf played a role in SAG voting, but Stewart is a notable omission in the nominations.
The SAG awards will be handed out on Sunday, Janu. 25 in Los Angeles. The Oscars will follow in February.
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