'Trumbo' leads SAG nominations in opener to awards season

- "Trumbo" scored a leading three nominations among the films competing for the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards today while "Game of Thrones," "Homeland" and "House of Cards" each landed three nominations for television performances, including nods for their entire casts.

In addition to "Trumbo," the story of a Hollywood screenwriter blacklisted during the McCarthy era, nominees for SAG's film ensemble award included "Spotlight," the film following The Boston Globe's investigation into sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests; "The Big Short," "Beasts of No Nation" and the look back at hip-hop artists NWA "Straight Outta Compton."

The SAG ensemble award is the equivalent of the Academy's best picture Oscar, The nominations were announced at 7 a.m. by Anna Faris ("Mom") and Anthony Mackie ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier") at the Pacific Design Center.

Leonardo DiCaprio picked up a best-actor nomination for his gritty performance in "The Revenant." He will be competing for an Actor statuette with Michael Fassbender, for his portrayal of the Apple founder in "Steve Jobs," Eddie Redmayne for his cross-dressing role in "The Danish Girl," Bryan Cranston ("Trumbo") and Johnny Depp as gangster-fugitive "Whitey" Bulger ("Black Mass.")

Actresses nominated include Cate Blanchett ("Carol"), Brie Larson, for her portrayal of a woman held captive with her 5-year-old son in "Room," Helen Mirren ("Woman in Gold"), Saoirse Ronan ("Brooklyn") and comedian
Sarah Silverman ("I Smile Back").

Idris Elba and Helen Mirren both managed to pick up three nominations of their own, with Elba straddling the film and television categories for his performances in "Beasts of No Nation" and "Luther."

The SAG Awards are generally considered a strong predictor of who will score Oscar nominations, although the guild sometimes parts ways with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But since the SAG Awards are voted on by actors, they are often coveted by performers for representing the approval of their peers.

In the television competition, the casts of "The Big Bang Theory," "Key and Peele," "Modern Family," "Orange Is the New Black," "Transparent" and "Veep" were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. There are six nominees due to a tie.

Among drama series, the ensemble casts of "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men" were nominated. 

The SAG Awards will be simulcast live Saturday, Jan. 30 on TNT and TBS.

From Julie Chang:

The 22nd annual SAG Award nominations were announced today and leading the pack is Trumbo with 3 nods. And as far actors go, Idris Elba, leads with 3! A lot of new names and new types of projects made the cut this year. Sarah Silverman, Ellie Kemper, Straight Outta Compton were just a few that co-presenter Anthonie Mackie mentioned during my interview with him. For the complete list of nominees, go HERE.

In my humble opinion, here are the 3 main reasons why the SAG Awards matter:

  1. It's peers based voting. So many say this is the least political of the big three awards.
  2. Because both SAG and Oscars include voters who are inside the film industry, SAG is a very good predictor of what's to come for the Oscars. In fact, the cross over is so strong that 17 of the 20 SAG nominees last year also snagged an Oscar nod.
  3. Many also consider SAG to be the fairest system because the 2,200 voting committee members are swapped out for new members each year. So it's likely that the votes will be based on the actual work versus favoritism.

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