Saturday, May 8, 2021

'Birds of Prey' and 'The Flash' lead comic-book and superhero movies and television nominees — DCEU and Arrowverse at the Saturn Awards

In the previous installment of this series, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for...the next installment about the Saturn Awards, which will be about either comic book movies or action/adventure movies." I decided to cover comic book movies because I could also tackle superhero television series. It helps that the leading nominees in both fields use DC properties, which I've historically liked more than Marvel, although that's changing as my wife and I started watching "Wandavision" and "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" followed by watching or re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Next year's television nominees will be very interesting, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to this year's nominees from the Saturn Awards website.

Best Comic-to-Motion Picture Release:
Birds of Prey (And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
The New Mutants
The Old Guard
While I expect a lot of the other Saturn Awards voters will cast their ballots for "Birds of Prey (And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)," I think "Joker" was the superior movie, having won two Oscars and been nominated for nine more, including Best Picture, so I'm voting for it. I hope the plurality of the electorate does, too.

Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series:
The Boys
The Flash
The Umbrella Academy
With the combining of the new media categories into the rest of the television categories, the fields may be fewer, but the competition is stiffer. This is particularly true of the superhero nominees, where the range of quality is much closer than for the movies. In a normal year, I'd be voting for "The Boys," but this isn't a normal year, so I'm voting for "Watchmen." I don't have much confidence that the rest of the Saturn electorate will vote for the professional/critical choise. They might vote for "The Flash" with four nominations, the most of any superhero series, or "Supergirl" with three nominations, tied with "Stargirl," again. They might even vote for "Stargirl," which would be my fourth choice behind "Watchmen," "The Boys," and "The Umbrella Academy." Yikes!

Best Action/Thriller Television Series:
Better Call Saul
Castle Rock
The Outpost
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
I'm including this category in today's installment because both "Pennyworth" and "Riverdale" are both comic-book adaptations. Since "Pennyworth" is about Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred before he entered the Wayne Family's service, it's superhero-adjacent. Neither will win. "Better Call Saul" has won this award two years in a row and has five total nominations, so I'm voting for it and I expect the plurality of other voters will as well for a three-peat.

Follow over the jump for the acting nominations on the big and small screens and the behind the camera nominations for movies.

Because it has the more user-friendly formatting, I'm sharing the television acting nominations from Deadline.
Best Actor on a Television Series

Henry Cavill
The Witcher (Netflix)

Mike Colter
Evil (CBS)

Grant Gustin
The Flash (The CW)

Sam Heughan
Outlander (Starz)

Jonathan Majors
Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Bob Odenkirk
Better Call Saul (AMC)

Patrick Stewart
Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Grant Gustin is the superhero nominee and Bob Odenkirk is the action/thriller nominee, but Sam Heughan is the returning winner, so I'm voting for him. I think it's between Heughan and Patrick Stewart with Odenkirk have an outside chance.
Best Actress on a Television Series

Caitriona Balfe
Outlander (Starz)

Melissa Benoist
Supergirl (The CW)

Regina King
Watchmen (HBO)

Sonequa Martin-Green
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Thandie Newton
Westworld (HBO)

Candice Patton
The Flash (The CW)

Rhea Seehorn
Better Call Saul (AMC)
I've never been a fan of Candice Patton, who is the superhero series nominee. I like Rhea Seehorn, the action/thriller nominee, better, but I'm not voting for her. I'm voting for Regina King, which pains me, because I also want to vote for Thandie Newton from "Westworld." After two years of my whining about being snubbed, she finally got a nomination here. Watch them lose to Sonequa Martin-Green or Caitriona Balfe, who I also want to vote for.
Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series

Jonathan Banks
Better Call Saul (AMC)

Tony Dalton
Better Call Saul (AMC)

Michael Emerson
Evil (CBS)

Doug Jones
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Richard Rankin
Outlander (Starz)

Norman Reedus
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Luke Wilson
Stargirl (The CW)
Again, a really good field, although I think superhero representative Luke Wilson is probably the weakest of the lot, while Jonathan Banks and Tony Dalton would be the professional choices. Out of all of them, I'm voting for Doug Jones, who was the winner in the streaming version of this category last year. Watch all of them lose to Norman Reedus. Zombies!
Best Supporting Actress on a Television Series

Natasia Demetriou
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Cynthia Erivo
The Outsider (HBO)

Melissa McBride
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Colby Minifie
Fear The Walking Dead (AMC)

Danielle Panabaker
The Flash (The CW)

Sophie Skelton
Outlander (Starz)

Tessa Thompson
Westworld (HBO)
While Cynthia Erivo really impressed me in "The Outsider," I really enjoy Sophie Skelton in "Outlander," and I learned the hard way not to underestimate Natasia Demetriou, I'm going to vote for Tessa Thompson. I'm not sure who the rest of the electorate will choose yet.
Best Performance by a Younger Actor on a Television Series

Freya Allan
The Witcher (Netflix)

Brec Bassinger
Stargirl (The CW)

Isa Briones
Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)

Maxwell Jenkins
Lost in Space (Netflix)

Madison Lintz
Bosch (Amazon)

Cassady McClincy
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Erin Moriarty
The Boys (Amazon)
The superhero nominees are Brec Bassinger and Erin Moriarty. I think Moriarty is the better actress and I might vote for her, but I am leaning toward Isa Briones from "Star Trek: Picard" for now. I don't know if any of these three will win. I wouldn't be surprised if Cassady McClincy does instead.

Now for the awards I've already covered in Star Wars at the 2021 Saturn Awards for Star Wars Day beginning with the guest star category.
Best Guest Starring Performance on Television:
Jon Cryer (Supergirl)
Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian)
Mark Hamill (What We Do in the Shadows)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Kate Mulgrew (Mr. Mercedes)
Billy Porter (The Twilight Zone)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Picard)
The first matchup between Star Wars and Star Trek is between the professional choice, Giancarlo Esposito, and a fan choice, Jeri Ryan, who I'm voting for. The second pits two alumni of the franchises, Mark Hamill and Kate Mulgrew. I don't know if any of them will win. Instead, I'd bet on Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Jon Cryer belongs here, but I don't think he'll win. I'm certainly not voting for him.

Now the Comic-Book movie nominees.
Best Actor in a Film:
Daniel Craig (Knives Out)
Delroy Lindo (Da Five Bloods)
Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep)
Gary Oldman (Mank)
Aaron Paul (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
John David Washington (Tenet)
Joaquin Phoenix won the Oscar for Arthur Fleck in "Joker," so I'm voting for him. I think the rest of the Saturn electorate will as well. Their other major choices would be John David Washington in "Tenet" and Gary Oldman in "Mank" and I don't think enough of them will vote for them for either to beat Phoenix.
I'm still voting for Phoenix, so on to the next category.
Best Actress in a Film:
Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep)
Yifei Liu (Mulan)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man)
Natalie Portman (Lucy in the Sky)
Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker)
Margot Robbie (Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn))
Charlize Theron (The Old Guard)
Ridley's film will probably win, but I would be surprised if Ridley herself does. Instead, I think the Saturn electorate will vote for Margot Robbie. I probably won't. Instead, I'm thinking of casting my ballot for Elisabeth Moss in "The Invisible Man."
I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling what I wrote in 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' on Cinco De Mayo plus the horror, independent, and international film nominees at the 2021 Saturn Awards.
I think the real contest is Moss vs. Robbie, a matchup of Critics Choice Super Awards Best Actress winners, Moss for horror movies and Robbie for superhero/comic book movies. I'm planning on voting for Moss because my wife and I are binge-watching "The Handmaid's Tale" and have been very impressed with her acting. Besides, voting for Moss will make up for all the years the Saturn Awards did not nominate her for television acting.
Best Supporting Actress in a Film:
Zazie Beetz (Joker)
Ellen Burstyn (Lucy in the Sky)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out)
Ana De Armas (Knives Out)
Linda Hamilton (Terminator: Dark Fate)
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Jurnee Smollett (Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn))
I'm surprised that Ana De Armas is nominated here; I consider her character to be the female lead in "Knives Out." I won't protest her miscategorization by voting for someone I think is playing more of a supporting role. Instead, I'm voting for De Armas, although I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the voters choose Zazie Beetz or Linda Hamilton.
Jurnee Smollett is a good choice, but I would have rather seen her nominated for her television work in "Lovecraft Country."
Best Film Director:
J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker)
Niki Caro (Mulan)
Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep)
Christopher Nolan (Tenet)
Gina Prince-Blythewood (The Old Guard)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood)
Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man)
I'm finding deciding on my vote and what the rest of the electorate will choose difficult. I see three big-name directors on the list, J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan, and Quentin Tarantino, and a real up-and-comer in Leigh Whannell. The popular choice would be Abrams, while the professional choices would be Nolan or Tarantino. Right now, I'm leaning to Nolan or Whannell for my vote, while I suspect the Saturn electorate will pick either Abrams or Tarantino. By the time I blog about action and thriller films, I'll make my decision.
Gina Prince-Blythewood is the comic-book representative, but she's not my choice. As I wrote yesterday, I'm voting for Tarantino.
Best Film Screenplay:
Doctor Sleep (Mike Flanagan)
Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)
Mulan (Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, Elizabeth Martin)
Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin-won)
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams)
Tenet (Christopher Nolan)
Out of all these, I'm leaning to Bong Joon H and Han Jin-won for "Parasite" or Todd Phillips and Scott Silver for "Joker." I think the Saturn electorate would prefer "Joker," which might be enough for me to join them...
Best Film Production Design:
Jojo Rabbit (Ra Vincent)
Joker (Mark Friedberg)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Patrick Tatopoulos)
Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (Barbara Ling)
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins)
Tenet (Nathan Crowley)
"Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood" won the Oscar last year, while "JoJo Rabbit" and "Tenet" were merely nominated and the Oscars ignored the rest, so I'm voting for Barbara Ling. I wouldn't be surprised if the Saturn electorate voted for "Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker."
I'm glad to see "Joker" nominated, but again, my mind is made up.
Best Film Costume: Ad Astra (Albert Wolsky)
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Erin Benach)
Jojo Rabbit (Mayes C. Rubeo)
Mulan (Bina Daigeler)
Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (Arianne Phillips)
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (Michael Kaplan)
Out of this field, the professional choices are "JoJo Rabbit," "Mulan," and "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood." Out of that field, I'd vote for "JoJo Rabbit." The popular alternatives would be "Birds of Prey" and "The Rise of Skywalker." I expect the Saturn voters would pick either "Mulan" or "Birds of Prey"...
Best Film Visual / Special Effects:
Ad Astra (Scott R. Fisher, Allen Maris)
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Mark Hawker, Yael Majors, Greg Steele)
It Chapter Two (Kristy Hollidge, Nicholas Brooks)
The Lion King (Ken Egly, Robert Legator)
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy)
Tenet (Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott Fisher, Mike Chambers)
Terminator: Dark Fate (Neil Corbould, Eric Barba, Vinod Gundre, Sheldon Stopsack)
Once again, the Saturn Awards stuck it to the experts by not nominating last year's winner, "1917." I guess what the Television Academy classifies as Special Effects in a Supporting Role do not impress them. As I figured out early on, the Saturn Awards are about entertainment more than art and they like spectacular, not subtle. On that note, I think they will support this year's Oscar winner for Visual Effects, "Tenet," where they probably think the experts got it right. I will vote along with them.
"Birds of Prey" is the comic-book nominee here.

Now for a movie category I covered first in 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' on Cinco De Mayo plus the horror, independent, and international film nominees at the 2021 Saturn Awards.
Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Film:
Ella Jay Basco (Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn))
Julia Butters (Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood)
Kyliegh Curran (Doctor Sleep)
Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)
Lexy Kolker (Freaks)
JD McCrary (The Lion King)
Kyliegh Curran from "Doctor Sleep" is the horror nominee and a worthy choice, but I'm not voting for her. I'm voting for Roman Griffin Davis as the title character in "Jojo Rabbit." I found that an easy choice.
Ella Jay Basco is the superhero nominee and she plays an important part in the film. Unlike Julia Butters, I didn't have to look up her character!

Since the Saturn Awards electorate snubbed Oscar winner Hildur Guðnadóttir for her score from "Joker," I'm embedding Joker Official Soundtrack | Call Me Joker.

“Joker” centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
While I disagree with not nominating her, I can hear why. She's more art than entertainment and the Saturn Awards are about entertainment.

Stay tuned for Mother's Day, followed by another installment of this series about the Action/Adventure movie nominees.

Previous entries about the 2021 Saturn Awards

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