Screen Actors Guild nominations: early line on Oscar race?

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Emily Yahr The Washington Post.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards, sandwiched between the Golden Globes and the Oscars, don’t get quite as much buzz. But SAG stages the first big show to hand out nominations and forecast potential Academy Award nominees, so we must pay attention.

“Birdman,” starring Michael Keaton as an aging superhero movie actor looking for a comeback, landed four SAG Award nominations on Wednesday morning, the most of any film. Actors receiving individual nominations were Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. Close behind was “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age tale, which received three nods, including lead acting nominations for Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.

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The SAG Awards, notable because they’re voted on by actors themselves, also nominated Benedict Cumberbatch’s “The Imitation Game,” Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” and Wes Anderson comedy “The Grand Budapest Hotel” for the big prize, Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. (“Birdman” and “Boyhood” rounded out the category.)

Other notables: Julianne Moore landed a lead actress nod for playing a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice,” while Jennifer Aniston took a grittier turn in “Cake” that paid off with a nomination in the same category. They’re up against Reese Witherspoon taking a grueling solo hike in “Wild”; Rosamund Pike as the vengeful Amy in “Gone Girl”; and Felicity Jones as Stephen Hawking’s wife in “The Theory of Everything.”

The lead actor race is a tough one, as Cumberbatch, Keaton and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking take on Steve Carell’s startling role in “Foxcatcher,” along with Jake Gyllenhaal’s sociopathic cameraman in “Nightcrawler.”

On the TV side, it’s more of the usual: HBO dominated with nominations including “Game of Thrones” and the final season of “Boardwalk Empire,” as well as lots of love for “The Normal Heart” and a pair of miniseries, “Olive Kitteridge” and “True Detective.” But “Modern Family” ruled over everything with four nominations (Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Ensemble Cast in a Comedy), as expected. Oh, and “Homeland” is back on Hollywood’s good side after being largely shut out at the Emmy Awards, as both the show and Claire Danes got nominations.

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Plus, it’s not an exclusively cable-and-Netflix drama nomination list: Viola Davis landed a nod for her riveting professor in ABC’s out-of-control law school drama “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And yes, “Orphan Black” fans – Tatiana Maslany was nominated for lead actress in a drama.

The SAG Awards air Jan. 25 on TNT and TBS.


Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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