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SAG Award noms: '12 Years a Slave,' 'Dallas Buyers Club' have strong showings

By Brent Lang

Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Julia Roberts are among the big names that will vie for the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards after nominations for the awards were announced Wednesday morning.

It was a list of contenders that included some surprising nominees such as "Rush" star Daniel Bruhl and "Enough Said" James Gandolfini, as well as shocking omissions such as "All is Lost" star Robert Redford, who has received ecstatic notices for his performance as a shipwrecked man.  Martin Scorsese's "Wolf of Wall Street," which had earned some glowing notices and has been seen as a major awards contender, was completely shut out.

On the film front, "12 Years a Slave" showed considerable strength, scoring four noms including nominations for stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and its cast. Other films that were popular with SAG voters included "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "August: Osage County" all of which earned three nominations.

Nominees for outstanding cast included "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Lee Daniels the Butler," and "August: Osage County."

With Redford failing to make the cut, the Outstanding Actor award boils down to a race between Bruce Dern, for his role as a would-be sweepstakes winner in "Nebraska," Ejiofor, as a man tricked into slavery in "12 Years a Slave," Hanks as a heroic seaman in "Captain Phillips," and Forest Whitaker, as a morally upright manservant in "The Butler." Though Hanks was recognized for his star turn, his supporting work in as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks" failed to earn a nomination.

If the lead actor category included shake-ups, the Outstanding Actress race was positively sedate. The competition shaped up roughly as anticipated with Cate Blanchett scoring a nom for playing a manipulative trophy wife in "Blue Jasmine," Meryl Streep honored for her work as an acid-tongued matriarch in "August: Osage County," Sandra Bullock cited for her role as a stranded astronaut in "Gravity," Judi Dench recognized for playing a woman searching for her son in "Philomena," and Emma Thompson making the cut for her prickly performance as "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Perhaps the most roller coaster category of the morning was Outstanding Support Actor in a film. Bruhl's nod for his work as an arrogant race car driver in "Rush" and Gandolfini's nomination for his subtle work as a kindly divorcee in "Enough Said," had not been widely expected to receive attention. Their inclusion meant that other actors such as "Wolf of Wall Street"s' Jonah Hill failed to shoulder into the shortlist. Other nominees include, as expected, Fassbender's sadistic plantation owner in "12 Years a Slave," Jared Leto's flamboyant drag queen in "Dallas Buyers Club," and newcomer Barkhad Abdi's high sea's pirate in "Captain Phillips."

Outstanding Supporting Actress was more predictable, with nods going to Roberts for playing a dysfunctional daughter in "August: Osage County," June Squibb for her work as a caustic wife in "Nebraska," Oprah Winfrey for portraying an alcoholic wife and mother in "The Butler," Lawrence for essaying a malcontent, nail polish loving housewife in "American Hustle," and Lupita Nyongo for channeling a suicidal slave in "12 Years a Slave."

On the television front, "Breaking Bad" and its bloody final season was a favorite with voters, earning a leading four nominations including nods for stars Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and its cast. Its strong showing was not emulated by AMC's other major original series, "Mad Men," which was entirely shut out of the major categories.

Other dramatic TV series nominated for ensemble work were "Boardwalk Empire," "Homeland," "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey."

Voters also exhibited fond feelings for another show that rode off into the sunset this season, showering "30 Rock" with three nominations for stars Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey and for its ensemble cast. Other comedy series that were honored for their ensemble work included  "Arrested Development," "The Big Bang Theory," "Modern Family" and "Veep."

Outstanding Actors in a Comedy Series will be a race between Baldwin, Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Ty Burrell ("Modern Family"), Don Cheadle ("House of Lies") and Jason Bateman ("Arrested Development").  In addition to Fey, Outstanding Female Actors in a Comedy Series includes Mayim Bialik ("The Big Bang Theory"), Julie Bowen ("Modern Family"), Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep").

Among dramas, Cranston's meth-dealing high school teacher in "Breaking Bad" will compete against Jeff Daniels' arrogant anchor in "The Newsroom," Steve Buscemi's calculating gangster in "Boardwalk Empire," Peter Dinklage's palace power player in "Game of Thrones" and Kevin Spacey's conniving congressman in "House of Cards."

Television actresses nominated for their dramatic work included Gunn for her role as a grudging partner in crime in "Breaking Bad," Claire Danes' mentally unbalanced CIA analyst in "Homeland," Maggie Smith's imperious aristocrat in "Downton Abbey," Kerry Washington's suave fixer in "Scandal," and Jessica Lange for going all kinds of nuts on "American Horror Story: Coven."

Nominations for best film stunts went to "All Is Lost," "Fast & Furious 6," "Lone Survivor," "Rush," and "The Wolverine." Best television stunt work nominations included "Boardwalk Empire," "Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland" and "The Walking Dead."

The ceremony will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

Related stories from TheWrap:
2013 Critics' Awards Winners: The Complete List - NY, LA, Boston
LA Film Critics: 'Gravity' and 'Her' Tie for Best Picture Prize

Dec 11, 2013 8:33AM
The same noms in TV as many other shows and actors get overlooked.
Dec 11, 2013 9:48AM
Since nobody takes the Golden Globes seriously, the SAG Awards are the best indicators of who might walk home with an Academy Award on Oscar night.  This is a fairly extensive list of this year's best performances by actors for actors, so we'll see how it all plays out, eh?
Dec 11, 2013 1:01PM
Seriously?...Jeff Daniels... and not James Spader in The Blacklist...   What a waste..  Spader deserved the nod.   Hopefully he will get the Emmy.
Dec 12, 2013 12:11PM
I enjoy all of the award shows. It is a blast to see how well the "stars" age and how sincere they are with their speeches!!
Dec 11, 2013 5:58PM
love to have seen christoph waltz nominated wish he had a movie out. I would love to see him get best actor
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