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'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Actors Ruled Ineligible For SAG Awards + What This Could Mean

by Courtney
October 1, 2012 9:05 PM
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The Hollywood Reporter reports that the cast of this years indie critical darling Beasts of the Southern Wild, which Fox Searchlight has been positioning as an awards season contender, has been ruled ineligible for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.

Why? This is something all you indie filmmakers probably should be aware of, for future reference (if awards are of importance to you anyway); the film has been ruled ineligible because it wasn't made under the terms of the SAG Low Budget Feature Agreement, which mandates the use of professional actors.

The stars of Beasts Of The Southern Wild (a $1.3 million film) were all non-professional - local New Orleans folks who'd never acted before being cast in that film.

However, this may not mean as much as you might think, because, while the SAG awards are certainly important, and SAG awards nominees and winners sometimes mirror the Academy Award's selections, there have been many instances in which actors haven't made SAG short lists, but have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

It's also worth noting that Quvenzhané Wallis is likely the only actor in the film with a chance at a nomination in any acting category, whether at the SAG, or the Oscars. And many prognosticators have her definitely in the mix for Best Actress - maybe not a win, but a nomination at least.

Although some do say Dwight Henry might sneak his way into the Best Supporting Actor category for the Academy Awards.

What are their chances? Your guess is as good as mine. There are still a number of films to be released this fall with performances that will likely figure into the various category races.

But we do know that they won't be in the mix for SAG awards. Although, as THR notes...

It is theoretically possible to retroactively bring a film into compliance with SAG's Low Budget Feature Agreement, but doing so for Beasts would require that not only its domestic distributor, Fox Searchlight, provide additional payment to the film's actors but also that all of the various other companies that are distributing the film internationally do the same.

And the likelihood of all that happening is slim to none - certainly not solely to secure a SAG award nomination.

No comment from the actors themselves, although director Benh Zeitlin had this to say in response to today's news:

"Against all logic and planning, two incredible first-time actors won the lead roles in Beasts... I'm positive they both have long and amazing acting careers in front of them."

Let's hope so.

Both will next be seen in Steve McQueen's screen adaptation of Twelve Years A Slave, which will be released in early 2013, and will likely be an awards contender during the 2014 Oscars; and, as was recently announced, director Zeitlin hopes to bring them both back for his next film, which he plans to shoot during the latter half of 2013.

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More: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry

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  • Ade | October 2, 2012 11:06 AMReply

    Were this film made under a SAG contract, reasonable compensation and residual payments would be guaranteed for the actors. Hmm, has this child's talents and the other cast members' been exploited. ? Just wondering.

  • Dankwa Brooks | October 2, 2012 10:46 AMReply

    The Academy Awards has and is a personality contest. Some of the best that ever done it, SPIELBERG, SCORSESE, PACINO took FOREVER to get it. I hate to use this adage that is WAY played, but "don't hate the player, hate the game".

  • J | October 2, 2012 4:43 AMReply

    Until hollywood finds the next Halle/viola/Angela...there will be no new actress discovered...gotta look as pretty as Halle, talented as viola, and formidable as Angela..

  • Priss | October 2, 2012 2:55 AMReply

    If that little girl gets an Oscar nod - it's further proof that this whole system is rigged. Would be a slam in the face to real actresses. Let alone black women actresses.

  • D.A. | October 2, 2012 8:13 AM

    The Oscars have always been rigged so what's your point? It's always been about who or how many backed a film as opposed to the actual quality of a project. That is not to say that the winners weren't any good, but they have to find a way to narrow down on the number of prospects.

    And I'm assuming you didn't see the film, because you and a chosen few seem to be the only ones that didn't like it. How would her not getting a nod mean it not worthy.

  • ALM | October 2, 2012 12:04 AMReply

    Hollywood and its crazy rules....Who cares whether an actor is SAG registered or not if that actor does good work? They have plenty of registered actors who aren't half as good as Quvenzhane' or Dwight.

  • Winston | October 2, 2012 9:17 AM

    @ALM--You're special for that one. "Who cares whether an actor is SAG registered . . ." LOL.

  • Akimbo | October 2, 2012 2:36 AM

    Not being eligible for a SAG award because you weren't in SAG makes a whole lot of sense to me. As much as not being eligible for an Oscar because you weren't in a movie, or for a Grammy because you don't make records. It's the most basic requirement.

  • Ashley N | October 1, 2012 10:18 PMReply

    I don't understand what SAG's definition of a professional actor is? I watched interviews of Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry and if I remembered correctly ,Dwight had taken acting lessons before even auditioning for the role.

  • willie dynamite | October 2, 2012 12:32 PM

    When they say professional, they mean a member of the Screen Actors Guild Union. It doesn't have anything to do with an actor's education or background, just their standing in the eyes of the sag/aftra union

  • Ashley N | October 2, 2012 9:55 AM

    Thank you DANKWA! This article right here was not making sense to me. I read the Hollywood Reporter.

  • Dankwa Brooks | October 1, 2012 11:38 PM

    @ASHLEY The Hollywood Reporter article goes into more detail about the SAG rules. They might not make much sense to us, but they are supposed to be there to help actors.

  • Dankwa Brooks | October 1, 2012 9:44 PMReply

    Rules are rules, not mad at SAG, also not mad at Zeitlin. He obviously picked the best actors for his film and both were OUTSTANDING! I truly hope Henry gets some nominations because he was powerful in the role. First time really? No acting classes? I have to do research. In any case. On to the next one for them.

  • NO BRAINER | October 1, 2012 9:24 PMReply

    "However, this may not mean as much as you might think, because, while the SAG awards are ertainly important, and SAG awards nominees and winners sometimes mirror the Academy Award's selections, there have been many instances in which actors haven't made SAG short lists, but have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations." Right! So what's the point of headlining your article with "What This Could Mean"? It means nothing.

  • Monique A. Williams | October 1, 2012 9:21 PMReply

    The lil girl was amazing in this film. Her dad too. I look forward to seeing them again, award or not.

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