SAG Awards Streaming Site Shut Down by Technical Problems (Exclusive)

The site’s difficulties have frustrated members and angered campaigners during a key time for awards viewing

Last Updated: December 29, 2015 @ 4:32 PM


UPDATED at 12: p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29: The site was restored on Tuesday, after being down for two days.


The Screen Actors Guild Awards website, on which voters are supposed to be able to stream nominated films, has been shut down because of technical problems, frustrating voters and angering studios and Oscar consultants who were counting on their films being available during a key holiday period.

The Vision Digital Awards Screeners site, which launched last week for SAG Awards voters, went down on Saturday after a couple of days of problems. On Monday, a message on the site said that Vision Digital “is working to address the issues as quickly as possible.”

The site had contained links to “Beasts of No Nation,” “The Big Short” and “Spotlight,” which received nominations in the key Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture category.

It also contained links to “Black Mass” and “The Revenant,” which included nominated lead performances by Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, respectively; and “Bridge of Spies” and “99 Homes,” for which Mark Rylance and Michael Shannon were nominated in supporting roles.

While some of those films also sent screener DVDs to SAG voters, “Black Mass,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Revenant” and “99 Homes” are not slated to do so — and many of the films that did send screeners do not expect them to be in voters’ hands yet.

On Monday, a SAG Awards representative referred TheWrap to the organization’s “Digital Streaming and Downloads” page, which contained the following message:

“THE VISION DIGITAL SCREENER SITE IS NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Vision is working to address the issues as quickly as possible and hopes to have the site up and running soon. We will update this page as soon as we know more. Please check back. Thank you for your patience.”

Multiple film consultants who worked with Vision Digital to get their contenders on the site told TheWrap they were angry that the company did not notify them when problems developed, although SAG members had begun complaining on Twitter about problems with the site as soon as it went live just before Christmas.

Companies found out after the fact from SAG that the site had been taken down, with the word spreading that an iOS problem had led to the shutdown.

SAG Awards voting doesn’t close until Jan. 29, giving members almost a month in which they can still cast ballots. But with 116,741 SAG-AFTRA members eligible to vote, the commitment to provide screeners to the entire voting membership is by far the largest for any Hollywood guild or awards show. (By contrast, the Academy has fewer than 6,300 voting members.)

And the time required to produce and send out enough screeners to cover all SAG Awards voters means that few of the films would have been ready before the holidays, making streaming a crucial option during a time when many in the industry are not working.

According to a SAG Awards web page listing members’ options for viewing the nominated films, “Black Mass,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Revenant” and “99 Homes” were only available via screening.

“Trumbo” was available via a free iTunes download that is not affected by the Vision Digital problems, while “Brooklyn” and “Room” are available via iTunes and screeners.

Films available on screeners but not via streaming include “Straight Outta Compton,” “Steve Jobs” and “The Danish Girl.”