By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO
City News Service
WEST HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – The wrenching historical drama “12 Years a
Slave” earned a leading four nominations today for the 20th Annual Screen
Actors Guild Awards, while the recently concluded series “Breaking Bad”
topped the list of television nominees, also scoring four nods.
The critically acclaimed film by director Steve McQueen picked up nods
for male lead Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup and supporting actors Barkhad
Abdi and Lupita Nyong’o, as well as for its ensemble cast.
Along with “12 Years a Slave,” the casts of David O. Russell’s
“American Hustle,” John Wells’ “August: Osage County,” Jean-Marc Vallee’s
“Dallas Buyers Club” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” were all nominated for
outstanding performance by an ensemble cast in a motion picture, the SAG
equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar.
English actor Benedict Cumberbatch was in two of the nominated casts:
“12 Years a Slave” and “August: Osage County.”
“American Hustle,” “August: Osage County” and “Lee Daniels’ The
Butler” tied with three nominations each.
First-time nominee and veteran character actor Bruce Dern
(“Nebraska”), Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), two-time SAG winner Tom Hanks
(“Captain Phillips”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Forest
Whitaker (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”) received best actor nods.
Hanks won a SAG Award as a member of the ensemble cast of “Apollo 13,”
and also for lead actor in “Forrest Gump.” Forest Whitaker won a best actor
prize for “The Last King of Scotland.”
Notably absent from the best-actor list was Robert Redford, who has
earned acclaim for his work in “All Is Lost.”
Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Judi
Dench (“Philomena”), Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”) and Emma
Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”) were nominated for best actress. Blanchett and
Dench have each been nominated 13 times, while Streep’s nomination was her
Blanchett, Bullock, Dench and Streep are all two-time SAG Award winners.
Today’s nomination was the sixth for Thompson, but she has never won.
Supporting nods went to the late James Gandolfini for his poignant
portrayal of Albert in “Enough Said,” Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”),
Daniel Bruhl (“Rush”), Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) and Jared
Leto for playing transgender Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Oprah Winfrey (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”), another first-time nominee,
was joined by actresses Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”), Lupita
Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”) and
June Squibb (“Nebraska”) in the race for best supporting actress.
Lawrence won the award for best actress last year for “Silver Linings
Playbook.” Roberts won in 2001 for “Erin Brockovich.”
On the television side, the casts of “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking
Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones” and “Homeland” were nominated
for outstanding ensemble performances in a drama series. The comedy nominations
went to the casts of “30 Rock,” Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” “The Big
Bang Theory,” “Modern Family” and “Veep.”
Bryan Cranston, a two-time SAG winner, was nominated for best actor in a
drama for his portrayal of teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White in the final
season of “Breaking Bad.” He will be challenged by “Boardwalk Empire’s”
Steve Buscemi, who has won the award the twice previously; Emmy winner Jeff
Daniels (“The Newsroom”); Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”); and Kevin
Spacey (“House of Cards”).
Actresses nominated for the Actor statuette for a leading dramatic role
were last year’s winner Claire Danes, who plays the searingly intelligent but
bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison in Showtime’s “Homeland”; Emmy winner Anna
Gunn (“Breaking Bad”); previous winner Jessica Lange (“American Horror
Story”); two-time SAG winner Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”) and Kerry
SAG watchers will note the absence of “Mad Men,” which, for the first
time in its history was not nominated in any category.
On the lighter side, comedy nominees for best actor were Jason Bateman
(“Arrested Development”), Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), Don Cheadle
(“House of Lies”), Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Alec Baldwin,
who has won a record seven best actor and one ensemble statuettes for his
portrayal of corporate honcho Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock.”
Tina Fey, Baldwin’s comedy foil on the NBC comedy, was among the best
actress nominees, along with Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”), Julie
Bowen (“Modern Family”), Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”) and Julia Louis-
Dreyfus, who plays fictional Vice President Selina Meyer in HBO’s “Veep.”
Falco is tied as the record-holder for most Actor nominations, at 20,
including those for her earlier work as mobster wife Carmela Soprano in HBO’s
“The Sopranos.” Baldwin has matched that number.
Actor nods for performances in a television movie or miniseries went to
Matt Damon and Michael Douglas for `Behind the Candelabra,” `Jeremy Irons
(“The Hollow Crown”), Rob Lowe (“Killing Kennedy”) and Al Pacino (“Phil
Spector”). Actresses nominated for their roles in movies or miniseries
included Angela Bassett for her role as Corretta Scott King in “Betty &
Coretta,” Helena Bonham Carter (“Burton and Taylor”), Helen Mirren (“Phil
Spector”) and both Holly Hunter and Elisabeth Moss for their work in “Top of
The films “All Is Lost,” “Lone Survivor,” “Rush,” “The
Wolverine” and “Fast & Furious 6” — whose cast and crew are still dealing
with the death of actor Paul Walker — were nominated for the Screen Actors
Guild Award for movie stunt ensembles. For television stunt teams, nominations
went to “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,”
“Homeland” and “The Walking Dead.”
Sasha Alexander, who plays eccentric medical examiner Maura Isles on
TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles,” and Clark Gregg, known to audiences as Agent Phil
Coulson of “The Avengers” and ABC’s series “Marvel’s Agents of
S.H.I.E.L.D.,” presented the nominations at the Pacific Design Center along
with Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
President Ken Howard.
The acting awards, early in the Hollywood season, are often seen as a
bellwether for those to come. But the SAG Awards are also in a category by
themselves, as they are chosen only by fellow actors. Two nominating panels –
one for television and one for film — of 2,200 randomly selected SAG-AFTRA
members each selected the nominees. All union members, roughly 100,000 actors,
may vote in all categories.
Actor Rita Moreno will receive the 50th Life Achievement Award at the
SAG Awards, which will be presented on Jan. 18 at the Shrine Auditorium and
aired live on TNT and TBS.
In the movie categories, The Weinstein Company led the pack of studios
with seven nominations and Fox Searchlight picked up five. HBO was by far the
winner among the cable and network crowd, with 13 nominations. The next closest
contenders were AMC and Showtime with five nods each.
The online service Netflix matched traditional networks CBS and NBC with
three nominations and was just one short of ABC’s four.
By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO