SAG Nominations 2021: ‘Minari’ Gets Three Nominations Setting up Possible Firsts

Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” is one of four films with three SAG Award nominations. The other three are “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”  and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” There are some first and potential firsts this year. 

A24’s “Minari” was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture  along with Netflix’s “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Trial of Chicago 7” and Amazon Studio’s “One Night in Miami.”

Foreign language films have previously won this category. “Parasite” won this category in 2020.  The Italian film “Life is Beautiful” was nominated for 1998. “Inglourious Basterds” won in this category for 2009. “Crazy Rich Asians” was nominated for 2018, but lost to “Black Panther.” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” was also nominated that year.

This year, British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) and Steven Yuen (“Minari”) were nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role along with Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) and Gary Oldman (“Mank”). Egyptian American Rami Malek won this category for 2018, beating Christian Bale (“Vice”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”) and John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”). Yuen is the first Korean and the first East Asian American nominated in this category. Ahmed is the first person of Pakistani ethnicity to be nominated.

The first Asian ethnic in this category was Ben Kingsley who was nominated for the 2003 “House of Sand and Fog” (Johnny Depp won that year for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”). 

Kingsley was also nominated for the 2001 “Sexy Beast” in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. Ken Watanabe was nominated for “The Last Samurai” for 2003 and Dev Patel was nominated for the 2008 “Slumdog Millionaire” and for the 2016 for “Lion.”  No actor of Asian ethnicity has won either of these awards. 

This year, Youn Yuh-Jung was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role  along with Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”), Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”), Olivia Colman (“The Father”) and Helena Zengel (“News of the World”). Australian-New Zealand actress Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated in 2003 for “Whale Rider” along with Maria Bello (“The Cooler”), Patricia Clarkson (“Pieces of April”) and Holly Hunter (“Thirteen”),  losing to Renée Zellweger for “Cold Mountain.” Rinko Kikuchi was nominated in 2006 (“Babel”); Jennifer Hudson won for “Dreamgirls.” No Asian, Pacific Islander or Asian American has won in this category. 

No Asian or Asian American actress has won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor n a Motion Picture. Ziyi Zhang was nominated for the inaccurate “Memoirs of a Geisha.” 

Also this year, “Mulan” was nominated for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture along with “Da 5 Bloods,” “News of the World,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Wonder Woman 1984.”

Asians and Asian Americans have previously won SAG Awards for television work. Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim and British Indian actor Naveen Andrews previously won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for the 2005 season of “Lost.” Asian Canadian American Sandra Oh has the most with four SAG awards: one for film ensemble (“Sideways”), two for TV drama ensemble (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and one for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (“Killing Eve”). Kimiko Glenn had three Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for the 2014,  2015 and 2016 seasons of “Orange Is the New Black”. Other Asian Americans who have SAG awards in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series are Lucy Liu for the 1998 season of “Ally McBeal” and Harry Shum, Jr. and Jenna Ushkowitz for the 2009 season of “Glee.”

Lebanese-American Tony Shalhoub is tied with Anthony Edwards with six SAG Awards, four for comedy (two for “Monk” and two for  “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and two for comedy ensemble (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). Alec Baldwin has the most with eight (comedy and comedy ensemble). Shalhoub is not nominated this year. 

The 27th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on 4 April 2021 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The live broadcast will be on TNA and TBS from 6 p.m. PST. 

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