12 Years A Slave leads at the SAGs nominations

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor gained nods at the SAGs.

After failing to secure a win in recent critics awards, 12 Years a Slave gained a boost from The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which honoured it with 4 nominations, for best ensemble cast, male actor in a leading role for Chiwetel Ejiofor, and supporting for Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.  Directed by Steve McQueen, the film is an unflinching portrayal of slavery in early America.

Another film dealing with African American history, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which had been overlooked by other award competitions, received a new injection of life with 3 SAG nods: best ensemble cast, male actor in a leading role for Forest Whitaker and female actor in a supporting role for Oprah Winfrey.

These recognitions are a major triumph for black cinema, which has surged this year, critically and commercially, because the SAGs are the first major nominations in the award season and a leading Oscar bellwether, hence more accolades will most likely follow.

Other pictures with 3 nominations, including the best ensemble cast, were August: Osage County, which had been under the radar, and Dallas Buyers Club. American Hustle, which attained 2 nods, rounded out the best ensemble cast nominees.

Competing against Ejiofor and Whitaker in the male actor in a leading role category were Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.

The female actor in a leading role category was packed with veteran Oscar-winning thespians: Judi Dench for Philomena, Meryl Streep for August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity and Emma Thompson for Saving Mr. Banks.

Vying with Michael Fassbender for male actor in a supporting role were James Gandolfini for Enough Said, newcomer Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips, Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club and Daniel Bruhl for Rush. Meanwhile 3 more ladies will be competing with Oprah Winfrey and Nyong’o in the female actor in a supporting role category: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, June Squibb for Nebraska and Julia Roberts for August: Osage County.

Glaringly missing in these nominations were Robert Redford for All is Lost, who won a critic prize last week;  Leonardo Di Caprio and Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street; Joaquin Phoenix for Her; and Ben Stiller for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Last year’s SAG winners  -lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, lead actress Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook and supporting actress Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables- all went on to claim the Oscar.

The SAG awards will be handed out at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles on 18th January 2014.

The Help gets help from SAG voters

The Help gets help from SAG voters

The Help gets help from SAG voters

Announcing its nomination this morning in LA, Screen Actor Guild (SAG) has honoured The Help with four nominations: Best ensemble cast, Viola Davis for lead actress,  and Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer for supporting actress.

The silent movie, The Artist followed with 3 nods: Best ensemble cast, best lead actor for Jean Dujardin and best supporting actress for Berenice Bejo.

The best lead male actor category was dominated by former nominees: Brad Pitt in Moneyball, George Clooney in the Descendants, Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar. Surprisingly, they were joined by a Mexican thesp Demian Bechir from the independent immigrant movie A Better Life.

There were no surprises in the lead actress category though. Viola Davis will be up against Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, Tilda Swindon for We Need to Talk About Kevin and Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn.

Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and Berenice Bejo, were joined by Bridemaids Melissa McCarthy, Albert Nobbs Janet McTeer in the supporting Actress category.

New comers Armie Hammer (J. Edgar) and Jonah Hill (Moneyball)  echo landed a nomination for best supporting actor alongside a mix of veterans: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Nick Nolte (Warrior) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners).

As expected, Modern Family received five nominations with individual actors bids for Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara as well as nomination for best series.

It was followed by 30 Rock and Dexter, each scoring 3 nominations. While Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad , Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, The Office, Too Big to Fail, and Mirdred Pierce each took a pair.

Several past winners, such as Alec Baldwin, Julliana Margulies, Steve Buscemi, Betty White, Steve Carell, Tina Fey have also adorned the TV nomination lists this year.

Comprising 23% of Oscar voters, SAG members nominations are watched closely by the film industry and considered as a decent prediction of the Oscars. Winners, based on voting by SAGs 120,000 members, will be announced 29 of January in ceremonies at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.