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SAG Awards nominee profile: Billy Crudup (‘The Morning Show’) hopes to follow in Jennifer Aniston’s winning footsteps


Just one month after its inaugural season finale, “The Morning Show” swiftly proved its worth by scoring three 2020 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for cast members Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup. Aniston went on to win the drama actress race, but the men’s head-to-head battle ended in a draw when they both fell to Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”). Now, Aniston is in the running for a second solo trophy, and Crudup has been given another shot at his first. Since he is a category veteran and Carell and Dinklage are out of the picture, he could be on a secure path to victory this time.

In the drama actor race, Crudup faces Lee Jung-jae (“Squid Game”) and “Succession” trio Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong, all of whom are category first-timers. Culkin and Lee are total SAG Award newcomers, while Cox previously garnered two TV bids for his individual work on the limited series “Nuremberg” (2001) and as a cast member of “Deadwood” (2007). Strong won last year’s film ensemble prize for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” He and his “The Big Short” costars had lost the same award to Crudup and his “Spotlight” team five years earlier.

The second season of “The Morning Show” reveals how the lives of those who work for the fictional UBA network changed following major sexual misconduct revelations in the first season finale. Crudup’s Cory Ellison, who is now one of 27 male TV characters to inspire multiple solo SAG Award bids, loses his CEO position but soon regains it thanks to morning news anchor Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon). As the season progresses, he wrestles with his romantic feelings toward her while also concerning himself with rehiring her former co-host, Alex Levy (Aniston).

Crudup first caught the attention of his actors guild peers in 2001 as part of the cast of “Almost Famous.” The actors from “Traffic” emerged victorious in that film ensemble contest. This year, he and all of his individual competitors are also included in the drama cast lineup, the remaining two slots of which are filled by the actors from “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Yellowstone.” Aside from Crudup, the 22-person “Morning Show” group includes four past SAG champions, one of whom is Aniston. Her 2020 triumph for this show was preceded by a collective victory alongside her “Friends” cast mates in 1996.

Carell, who won cast prizes for the film “Little Miss Sunshine” (2007) and the comedy series “The Office” (2007, 2008), now has a shot at completing a rare ensemble trifecta. Current solo nominee Witherspoon was named Best Film Actress in 2006 for “Walk the Line.” And, lastly, Julianna Margulies makes her 11th appearance in the drama cast category after having scored four consecutive wins for “ER” (1996 – 1999). She also collected two individual prizes for that show (1998, 1999) as well as a pair for “The Good Wife” (2010, 2011).

At 53, Crudup is the second oldest man in his lineup behind Cox (75) and could become the category’s eighth oldest victor. The record holder in that regard is John Lithgow (71, “The Crown,” 2017), followed by Jerry Orbach (69, “Law & Order,” 2005), Martin Sheen (60 and 61, “The West Wing,” 2001 and 2002), Sam Waterston (58, “Law & Order,” 1999), Bryan Cranston (56 and 57, “Breaking Bad,” 2013 and 2014), Kevin Spacey (55 and 56, “House of Cards,” 2015 and 2016), and Steve Buscemi (54, “Boardwalk Empire,” 2012).

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2022 contenders in film and TV.

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