How Saturn’s Rings Roll

9 Mar

All the TV commentators said the same thing: “It’s time to roll up the red carpet because awards season is over for another year.” Hardly.  The nominees for the annual Saturn Awards, presented by the non-profit Academy of Science Fiction,  Fantasy, and Horror Films, were announced last week, on the 29th of February–just a few days after the Oscars.  It seems odd that the winners will not actually be revealed until June, but that’s the way it rolls on planet Saturn, I guess.  Before then, we’ll be treated to the spectacle of the Cannes Film Festival in May. Don’t forget that this year’s current Oscar champ, The Artist,  made its first splash last year at Cannes, so, no, awards season is not over until next year. Thank gawd.

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films was launched in 1972, and its first awards presentation was in 1973. There were only two winners: Slaughterhouse Five (Best Science Fiction Film), and Best Horror Film (Blacula). Nice. I’ve always gotten a kick out of the Saturn Awards because they’re a way to recognize superlative work in genre films that are often overlooked by the Academy, such as…

  • Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland, 2006)
  • Amy Adams (Enchanted, 2007)
  • Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
  • David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1976)
  • Coral Browne (Dreamchild, 1985)
  • Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Nemo, 2003)
  • Angie Dickinson (Dressed to Kill, 1980)
  • Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
  • Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, 1985)
  • Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, 1986)
  • Linda Hamilton (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991)
  • Nicole Kidman (The Others, 2001)
  • Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man 2, 2004)
  • Roddy McDowell (Fright Night, 1985)
  • Frances Sternhagen (Outland, 1981) [1]
  • Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Volume 1, 2003)

Of course, there have been a handful of instances in which both Oscar and Saturn have drawn the same conclusion(s). For example, last year Natalie Portman was the belle of both balls for her work in the noirish psychological thriller, Black Swan, and in the early 1990’s Anthony Hopkins was unbeatable in the role of The Silence of the Lamb‘s gruesome Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Additionally, there are a select few, such as Jeff Bridges (Starman, 1984) and  Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, 1986), who were at least nominated for Oscars but found ultimate success at the Saturns.

Here are the nominees in the major categories and a few of the not-so-major ones…


  • The Adjustment Bureau
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Limitless
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Super 8
  • X-Men: First Class


  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Immortals
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Muppets
  • Thor


  • Contagion
  • The Devil’s Double
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Grey
  • Take Shelter
  • The Thing


  • Fast Five
  • The Lincoln Lawyer
  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  • Red Tails
  • Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows
  • War Horse


  • Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter)
  • Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
  • Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method)
  • Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
  • Brit Marling (Another Earth)
  • Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

In the thriller The Devil's Double, English born Saturn nominee Dominic Cooper plays two roles: Uday Hussein, the son of Iraq's notorious Saddam Hussein, and Latif Yahia, the younger Hussein's "political decoy." Cooper earned raves for his performance, but the film did a quick fade from theaters when it was released last summer, so the Saturn nomination is a nice touch.


  • Antonio Banderas (The Skin I Live In)
  • Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double)
  • Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)
  • Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
  • Ben Kingsley (Hugo)
  • Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)


  • J.J. Abrams (Super 8)
  • Brad Bird (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)
  • Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
  • Steven Spielberg (The Adventures of Tintin)
  • Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
  • David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)


  • Elena Anaya (The Skin I Live In)
  • Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau)
  • Charlotte Gainsborough (Melancholia)
  • Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)
  • Lin Shaye (Insidious)
  • Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)


  • Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
  • Harrison Ford (Cowboys and Aliens)
  • Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
  • Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
  • Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
  • Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger)


  • Asa Butterfield (Hugo)
  • Joel Courtney (Super 8)
  • Elle Fanning (Super 8)
  • Dakota Goyo (Real Steel)
  • Chloe Grace Moretz (Hugo)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Hanna)


Not only does Brit Marling star in Another Earth, she co-wrote it as well, earning Saturn nominations in two categories for her efforts.

  • J.J. Abrams (Super 8)
  • Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
  • Mike Cahill & Britt Marling (Another Earth)
  • Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
  • John Logan (Hugo)
  • Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)


  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Immortals
  • The Skin I Live In
  • The Thing
  • X-Men: First Class


  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 2
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Super 8
  • Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon


  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Cars 2
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango
  • Rio

Mirelle Enos (l) was Emmy nominated last year for her role as police detective and single mom Sarah Linden in the rain soaked serialized procedural drama The Killing; her partner, played by Swedish born Joel Kinnaman (r), was equally compelling, but he did not find favor among Emmy voters. Now, both performers are in the running for Saturn Awards. Kinnaman also appears, however briefly, in the recent American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

What? No Twilight? I’m not actually a fan, but  I was surprised to not see the stars of the popular vampire series among the nominees. I was also surprised that there was no valedictory mention of Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe among the Best Actor nominees. Other notable omissions among the leading actors are Bradley Cooper (Limitless) and Ryan Gosling (Drive).  Matt Damon (The Adjustment Bureau), and Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code) certainly have their champions as well. On the other hand, who in his/her right mind would complain about the nods for, say,  Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double), Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), and/or Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)? Meanwhile, Antonio Banderas (The Skin I Live In) is nominated for the film that reunites him with Pedro Almodóvar, the director who launched the Spanish actor’s career with 1982’s Labyrinth of Passion (and others); the two last worked together in 1990’s Time Me Up! Time Me Down!.

In the Best Actress race, surely the real heat is between Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) and Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but I’m more interested in the TV equivalent, which features such faves as Mirelle Enos (The Killing), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story), and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) along with Lean Headey (Game of Thrones), Eve Myles (Torchwood: Miracle Day). and Anna Torv (Fringe). I’m also glad to see The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman in the race for the TV Best Supporting Actor award. I was certain that Kinnaman was Emmy bound last year for his role as Enos’s shifty new partner; when he wasn’t even nominated, I was agog. Hopefully, he’ll walk away with this one.  I predict an easy win for Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) in the movie supporting actor category; he  previously won for his performance-capture/voiceover work as Gollum in 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. On the other hand, I’m a little stunned that critics’ darling and fan fave Corey Stoll was once again shut-out for his droll portrayal of Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. What gives?

Oh, and look at that: Zack Quinto, that sexy new bundle of talent, is up for his guest role on American Horror Story, and the word is that he and Lange will be appearing in the next installment of said FX’s fall sensation. Yay!  Well, whatever happens at the Saturn Awards, I’m sure we can all be glad that Bob and Harvey Weinstein weren’t able to convince the nominating committee that The Artist and My Week with Marilyn were eligible and deserving candidates.

Thanks for your consideration…

[1] Please note: Sternhagen, Affleck, and McDowell were all supporting, rather than leading, category winners.

To read more about the Saturn Awards:


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