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Category: SAG nominations

Gold Derby nuggets: SAG Awards sets calendar | Evening Standard long list includes budding stage star Keira Knightley

October 25, 2010 |  1:48 pm

• The Dec. 16 nominations announcement for the Screen Actors Guild Awards will air live on TNT from the Pacific Design Center. Nominees are determined by the 4,200 SAG members who sit on separate film and television screening panels. In the wake of the success of other awardscasts going live nationwide, the 17th annual edition of these kudos will follow suit. TNT and TBS will beam the Jan. 30 festivities from the Shrine Auditorium live from coast to coast beginning at 5 p.m. PT. SAG AWARDS

Scott Kraft chats with "Fair Game" star Naomi Watts and Valerie Palme, the real-life subject of the film. L.A. TIMES

Erik Childress surveys the lead actor field and speculates on a last-minute entry by Christian Bale ("The Fighter"). MOVIEFONE

Sasha Stone points out a clever marketing trick pulled off online by "The Social Network" and "Black Swan." AWARDS DAILY

Keira-Knightley • The long lists for one of the top three West End kudos have been released and, as Natalie Woolman notes, "Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Sheridan Smith and Keira Knightley are among the nominees for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress." Knightley made her West End debut in a production of Moliere's "The Misanthrope" last spring and received generally good notices. Also in the mix is "Another Year" star Lesley Manville for her performance in "Six Degrees of Separation." The final list of nominees will be released on Nov. 21 with the winners announced at a ceremony one week later. THE STAGE

• Knightley is set to return to the West End in the new year headlining a revival of Lillian Hellman's provocative 1934 play "The Children's Hour" opposite Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men"). The subject was quite shocking at the time -- two schoolteachers whose close friendship subjects them to the scurrilous rumor that they are lesbians. And, as per Patrick Healy, with all going well in the West End, American audiences will see Knightley make her Broadway debut next fall. ARTS BEAT

Anne Thompson dismisses the notion that Tyler Perry could get into the game for his screen adapatation of the 1977 Tony-nominated play "For Colored Girls." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Greg Ellwood catches up with Jennifer Lawrence, lead actress hopeful for "Winter's Bone," during her whirlwind visit to L.A. during a break in filming "X-Men: First Class" in London. HIT FIX

Jeff Wells wonders why more pundits aren't predicting that Anne Hathaway in "Love and Other Drugs" will be in the awards mix. HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Photo: Keira Knightley in "The Misanthrope." Credit: Comedy Theatre.

Early forecast of SAG Awards: Best TV drama series ensemble

October 14, 2010 |  3:48 pm

Buscmei Boardwalk Empire It looks like only one new show -- "Boardwalk Empire" -- is likely to make it into the drama series ensemble race at the SAG Awards. That is the word from our TV gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Rob Licuria (AwardsHeaven). They agree that the new HBO series will contend against "Dexter," "The Good Wife" and reigning two-time champ "Mad Men." For the fifth slot, Rob gives the edge to "The Closer" while Boomer opts for "True Blood."

Below, Boomer breaks down the race for us, according to front-runners, possible contenders and long shots. TV shows nominated last year are marked on the list below with an asterisk (*)

"Boardwalk Empire"
"Breaking Bad"
"The Closer" *
"Dexter" *
"The Good Wife" *
"In Treatment"
"Mad Men" *
"True Blood" *

"Friday Night Lights"
"Sons of Anarchy"

(Long Shots)
"Detroit 187"
"The Event"
"Grey's Anatomy"
"Rescue Me"

Photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO.

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Is the SAG ensemble award really an Oscar prophet?

January 23, 2010 |  8:57 am

The ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards has a widespread reputation for foretelling what film will win best picture at the Oscars. The logic goes like this: Since actors comprise the largest branch within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (1,300 out of 5,800 members), the thespians within the guild are a good gauge of how all actors think. And since actors weigh films according to collective dramatic impact, the SAG ensemble award is a rough equivalent to the Oscars' best picture prize.

SAG Awards predict Oscars news

If that's the case, forget "Avatar" or "Up in the Air" winning the top Oscar on March 7. Neither is nominated for the SAG ensemble prize. The five contenders: "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Nine" and "Precious."

But how accurate has the ensemble award really been in the past? Well, by comparison to how well the other SAG awards predict, for example, the Oscar champs for best actor and actress (more than 66%), the ensemble award has one of the worst prediction rates: Only seven of the 14 winners of best ensemble won the top Oscar. However, what's interesting is that two of those winners were the biggest upsets in recent Oscar history: "Shakespeare in Love" and "Crash." Here are the past victors:

* = Oscar best-picture winner

2008 – "Slumdog Millionaire" *
2007 – "No Country for Old Men" *
2006 – "Little Miss Sunshine"
2005 – "Crash" *
2004 – "Sideways"
2003 – "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" *
2002 – "Chicago" *
2001 – "Gosford Park"
2000 – "Traffic"

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Poll: Who will win the SAG Award for best actress?

December 17, 2009 |  9:30 am
SAG Awards nominations-2

Let's take a stab at predicting a winner among the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. Usually, SAG Awards nominees and winners line up, uncannily, with the Oscars, but sometimes they don't. Last year the five contenders for best actress almost matched up, with one glitch. Instead of being nommed for "The Reader," eventual Oscar champ Kate Winslet ended up making SAG's best actress list for "Revolutionary Road." She lost to Meryl Streep ("Doubt").

This year, the SAG five for best actress look like a good bet to repeat at the Academy Awards (unless "Young Victoria" star Emily Blunt can bump a front-runner), so maybe we'll be predicting the Oscar race too. But this poll focuses specifically on SAG. So please forecast that champ. Don't vote for your own fave performance. That's cheating!

Photos (left to right): Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia" (Columbia), Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.), Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious" (Lionsgate), Carey Mulligan in "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics)

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Does the SAG cast award really help 'Slumdog Millionaire'?

January 25, 2009 |  9:40 pm


"Slumdog Millionaire" has solidified its lead at the upcoming Academy Awards with a win for best ensemble at tonight's SAG Awards. That this cast of virtual and absolute unknowns from India (as well as a Brit, Dev Patel) could so impress the 100,000 members of the American-based Screen Actors Guild is evidence of the film's universal appeal.  In a way, it is not surprising that the notion of defying the odds -- as the young hero does in "Slumdog Millionaire" -- would prove irresistible to actors, many of whom struggle to make a living at their gypsy profession.

The SAG Awards have included an ensemble prize since their second year (1995). Over the ensuing 13 years, the Screen Actors Guild choice has matched up withSag_awards_slumdog_millionaire_pull the eventual Oscar-winning best picture only six times. Indeed, the SAG Award champ did not repeat at the Oscars until the fourth year of the award in 1998 when "Shakespeare in Love" took home both awards, surprising many an Oscarologist who expected "Saving Private Ryan" to win. Since then, "American Beauty" (1999), "Chicago" (2002), "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), "Crash" (2005), and last year's "No Country for Old Men" have won both honors.

In the years when the SAG Awards ensemble prize went to a film other than the eventual Oscar champ, there was a more populist theme to it that, no doubt, influenced the votes of the union membership. The first three SAG champs were the modern-day heroes of "Apollo 13" over "Braveheart" (1995); the high-flying men of "The Birdcage" over "The English Patient" (1996); and the show-stopping strippers who delivered "The Full Monty" over "Titanic" (1997). That last winner, a feel-good film about down-on-their-luck English steelworkers, was scripted by Simon Beaufoy, who just happened to handle the adaptation of "Slumdog Millionaire."

Of the other four films that won at SAG but lost at the Oscars, two were top-heavy with acting talent -- "Traffic" (2000) and "Gosford Park" (2001), which prevailed over Russell Crowe vehicles "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind," respectively -- and two were small ensemble pieces -- "Sideways" (2004) and "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) -- that triumphed over star-studded ones "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Departed," respectively.

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Outrage of the SAG Awards: 'Slumdog Millionaire' snubs its writers

January 25, 2009 |  8:38 pm


When "Slumdog Millionaire" won best ensemble cast at the SAG Awards, Anil Kapoor (who portrays the game show host) got so carried away at the podium thanking the guy who hired him — "the great genius," director Danny Boyle — the producers who signed his paychecks and the film's adorable child actors ("How can I forget the children?!"), he forgot the true great talent that make this movie magical: the guy who wrote it.

Why, oh, why do people always forget to give writers their due? "Slumdog Millionaire" is so brilliant because of the script by Simon Beaufoy, who adapted an inspiring bestselling book ("Q&A") by Indian novelist Vikas Swarup. That's the key source material. That's the story that makes viewers of this film so joyous. And it's told masterfully in a script by Beaufoy, who proved with his last Oscar-nominated screenplay, "The Full Monty," that he knows how to whip audiences into a frenzy when telling tales about the triumph of underdogs. Check out my video chat with both Beaufoy and Doyle in which Beaufoy explains his magic formula.

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Kate Winslet at the SAG Awards: Best performance of her career

January 25, 2009 |  6:51 pm

Considering how expressive Kate Winslet was when she won best supporting actress at the Golden Globes for "The Reader" — joyous, bubbly, tearful all at once — it was curious to see her sitting there at her table tonight at the Shrine Auditorium, hunched over a bit, looking forlorn, almost sad when the camera caught her just as her name was announced as winner of a SAG Award.


But she was thunderstruck. No doubt she didn't mean to look ungrateful — the news took the wind out of her. Winning tonight means, yeah, the Oscar is probably next. "They" don't secretly hate her, after all, or consider her a lightweight. When she won at the Globes, she told us poignantly how she felt in the past as a serial loser. She was so edgy, freaked, joyous, pop-eyed and frantic as she made her brief but bold confession at the podium that a few chaps back in the press room wondered out loud why she was carrying on so crazily. "Jeez, Kate, calm down!" one journalist snarled. "It's just an award!"

No, it's not. Winslet had lost five times at the Golden Globes before she won best supporting actress for "The Reader." She also had five heart-breaking, crushing disappointments at the Oscars. At some point Winslet must have felt like winning would never really happen despite what gushing fans and fawning staffers and colleagues say. Back in 1995, Winslet won a SAG Award for "Sense and Sensibility," but it was an isolated win after losing at the Globes. This win for "The Reader" has greater significance; it's part of a winning streak and she can feel it.

Tonight, the TV camera caught Winslet like a deer in the headlights — just as wonderful reality set in, magic time — as she channeled relief, awe, peace and mad joy all at once. Then, once she collected herself, she was able to rise and head to the podium to collect it.

Seeing how Winslet looked at her table tonight, having that private moment, was one of the great scenes of this whole awards season. Remember it, Derbyites. Relish it.

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SAG awards: 'The Dark Knight,' 'Heroes' and '30 Rock' are early winners

January 25, 2009 |  5:54 pm

In case you didn't hear, two SAG Awards were bestowed before the start of the show tonight — the new ones for stunt work. They went to "The Dark Knight" (film) and "Heroes" (TV). No big surprises there, eh?

Hey, when Tina Fey won best TV comedy series female actor, didn't you feel cheated that she didn't trash our forum posters in her acceptance speech like she did at the Golden Globes? Ah, well, we got that cute baby story about Alice instead. Well, not quite a baby. Alice is 3 years old, in case you're wondering.

"30 Rock," of course, swept the comedy series board, claiming male actor (Alec Baldwin) and ensemble in addition to best actress. No big surprises there either, eh?

Golden Globes champs aim to shine at SAG Awards

January 25, 2009 |  2:40 pm

In the 14-year history of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, 25 stars have taken home an Oscar after winning both the Actor (that's the actual name of SAG's statuette) and the Golden Globe while only five have failed to do so. With wins tonight, a trio of performers — Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler"), Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight" ) and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") — could solidify their leads at the Oscars.


Comeback kid Mickey Rourke, who took the lead actor (drama) Golden Globe for his performance in "The Wrestler," is favored to win tonight by only seven of our pundits. Another 10 have their money on Sean Penn to take home his first SAG Actor for "Milk."

However, the late Heath Ledger, who has won almost all the precursor awards, including the Golden Globe, for his supporting performance in "The Dark Knight," is expected to repeat again tonight by all 18 of our experts. Colin Farrell — surprise Globe winner for lead actor (musical/comedy) for his "In Bruges" performance — is not in competition at either of these award fests.

Likewise on the female front, Golden Globe-winner Sally Hawkins (for actress in musical/comedy) is not in the running anymore for her role in "Happy-Go-Lucky." And the bump up of Kate Winslet into lead actress at the Oscars for her performance in "The Reader" complicates our SAG calculations.

This role won Winslet the supporting actress award at the Golden Globes and she contends in that same category tonight; she is favored to win by 10 of our experts. However, only six of us expect her to repeat her Golden Globe triumph as lead actress (drama) with a win tonight for "Revolutionary Road." Nine of us predict Meryl Streep will win her first movie SAG award for "Doubt." (Streep has lost five individual bids and been part of three losing ensembles.) Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and Melissa Leo ( "Frozen River") each picked up a pair of endorsements.

Last year, Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men") threepeated while Julie Christie ("Away From Her") did not. Though still sexy at sixtysomething, Julie Christie could not match the babe factor of Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose"), who had won the Golden Globe for best actress musical/comedy. And Christie did not tirelessly campaign, as did Cotillard.

The other four players in that losing fivesome also had factors that went against them at the Academy Awards. Two years ago, Eddie Murphy was riding high with wins for his tour de force performance in "Dreamgirls," but the February release of "Norbit" reminded Oscar voters of his true talent, and they gave the supporting actor trophy to veteran Alan Arkin ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Perhaps Murphy took solace in his record three acting Razzie Awards for "Norbit."

In 2002, Renée Zellweger won the comedy/musical Globe and Actor for "Chicago" but lost the Oscar by a nose to Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), who had won the drama Globe. She fell victim to the longstanding preference of Oscar voters for dramatic performances over those in comedies and musicals but had her revenge the following year when she won all three awards for playing a hillbilly in "Cold Mountain" while that film's star, Kidman, only got a Globe nom.

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Dueling pundits predict who'll win the SAG Awards

January 24, 2009 |  6:10 pm

Hey, where's Robert "Rob L" Licuria? He hasn't responded to my challenge to take on fellow forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum in a new matchup to predict who'll win the Screen Actors Guild Awards this Sunday night. Recently, Boomer whacked Rob in a clash over predicting the most Oscar nominations, but, hey, he was just evening the score. Back in September Rob crushed Boomer when they went at it over who'd win the Primetime Emmys. Hey, Rob — you finally battle weary?

OK, I'll take ya on, Boomer! Unfortunately, for the sake of drama — and isn't that what showbiz is all about? — we don't disagree on many categories, but I'll come out swinging where I see a weak spot. We must, after all, keep Derbyites entertained as well as informed.


See a list of gutsy SAG AWARDS predix from other top pundits who shared their views with Gold Derby. Also, check out this a list of celebrities appearing as SAG Awards presenters.

Sean Penn, "Milk" — Tom
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler" — Boomer

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY — After the Globe win, it just seems like Rourke is on a roll picking up trophies for this performance.  I think SAG Awards voters will especially identify with his story of a fallen actor making his comeback.  Remember, though, that longtime respected actor Sean Penn has never won a SAG Award (he was upset by Johnny Depp the year he won his Oscar), so he is still a threat here. If a veteran character actor like Frank Langella can pick up an upset win this Sunday, he would definitely boost his Oscar chances in late February.

TOM'S COMMENTARY — You're right about one thing, Boomer. Whoever wins here will get a hefty push in the Oscars derby considering the academy is mailing out final ballots three days later. But it won't be Rourke. "The Wrestler" ($6.8 million U.S. box office) wasn't as widely seen as "Milk" ($20 million) by the 100,000 members of SAG who didn't get DVD screeners of either. Yes, guild members obviously have issues with the smug Mr. Penn as evidenced by his snub for "Mystic River," but "Milk" is about a subject of extraordinary, passionate interest to members of the acting community: gay rights. I think Penn gets a free ride thanks to that.

Meryl Streep, "Doubt" - Boomer, Tom

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY - Streep has a SAG Award in a television category for "Angels in America," but has never won here for her film work. Now is the time.

TOM'S COMMENARY - I agree that Streep wins. Imagine yourself as an actor who takes the "craft" very, very seriously. You're looking over your ballot with the list of contenders here and Streep's name demands to be checked off. Sister Aloysius is Streep's flashiest, most heavenly performance in years and, besides, if you don't bow in reverence, she'll crack your knuckles good with a ruler. Hey, she's also mother superior. She outranks the mere novitiates among rivals, but two pose devilish threats: Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet.

Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" - Boomer, Tom

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY - No question at all about this category.  Ledger will pick up a well-deserved award in an emotional moment Sunday night.

TOM'S COMMENTARY - While I agree with your conclusion, Boomer, I take aim at your strong assertion that there is "no question" here. Forget the journalists' awards like Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Golden Globes for a sec. SAG is our first view of how the movie industry will vote on a posthumous contender. History shows that these voters have often tossed out the dead rather mercilessly in the past. Only one deceased star has ever won an Oscar out of six previous nominees (Peter Finch, "Network") and none at the SAG Awards where only one has been nominated (Massimo Troisi, "Il Postino"). The Screen Actors Guild has been bestowing competitive prizes since 1994.

However, things are a bit different in SAG's TV races where there were two posthumous nominees, both of whom won: Jaul Julia ("The Burning Season") and Jerry Orbach ("Law & Order"). So that bodes well for Ledger.

Kate Winslet, "The Reader" - Boomer, Tom

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY - Yes, she is nominated in a different category at the Oscars, but I think Winslet will win this SAG supporting award Sunday on a path to picking up the lead acting Academy Award next month.  This has happened before when Benicio del Toro won lead at SAG but supporting at the Oscars for his role in "Traffic".

"Milk" - Boomer
"Doubt" - Tom

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY -  This is a tough category to predict. "Slumdog Millionaire" is the overwhelming favorite to win the best picture award at the Oscars, but it is such an unknown cast that it probably will not win this ensemble category.  "Benjamin Button" seems more of a technical achievement than one for its ensemble.  Don't count out "Doubt" (which has all 4 actors also nominated individually) or the well-known actors from "Frost/Nixon," but I think this is the spot for "Milk" to win one last big award this season.

TOM'S COMMENTARY - The huge gay vote within SAG could swing this to "Milk," but I think there are even more snobs within the guild. "Doubt" is based upon a Tony Awards-sweeping Broadway play. It showcases the talents of such industry gods as Streep and Hoffman mugging to the max. It would be sacrilege to vote against it

Paul Giamatti, "John Adams" - Boomer, Tom

Laura Linney, "John Adams" - Boomer, Tom

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY - Just don't go against anybody from "John Adams" when predicting these two categories.  For that reason, it is interesting that both Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson are finally up against each other for this miniseries.  I'll go with Giamatti, though, since the entire project is about his character.

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SAG Awards presenters include Amy Poehler, Jon Hamm and . . .

January 24, 2009 | 11:12 am

Unlike the recent ill-considered decision by the producers of the upcoming Oscars to keep the presenters a secret, the SAG Awards tout their star-studded lineup.

Among those boldfaced Sagawardsxxwhitebar names who will appear onstage at the Shrine Auditorium this Sunday to bestow laurels from the Screen Actors Guild are Christina Applegate, Emily Blunt, Ernest Borgnine, Claire Danes, Taye Diggs, Ralph Fiennes, Jon Hamm, Katie Holmes, Anthony Hopkins, John Krasinski, Eric McCormack, Amy Poehler, Susan Sarandon, Kyra Sedgwick, Kristin Scott Thomas, William Shatner, Marisa Tomei and Forest Whitaker.

And cast members from each of the five films nominated for best ensemble (the SAG equivalent of the best picture race at the Oscars) will introduce clips from them.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" will be intro'd by newly minted Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, and her supporting actress rivals Amy Adams and Viola Davis will present "Doubt." Title players Frank Langella and Michael Sheen will feature "Frost/Nixon," and a trio of supporting players -- Josh Brolin, James Franco and Emile Hirsch -- will represent "Milk." And front-runner "Slumdog Millionaire" will be showcased by young stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto.

Who'll win the SAG Awards? Read the predictions of our team of top experts.


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SAG Awards nominations embrace Brangelina, snub Leo (DiCaprio, that is — Melissa's in)

December 18, 2008 |  8:37 am


Hail Meryl and pass the rosary beads! "Doubt" scored five Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations — very impressive. With this widespread support among actors, it might have a better shot in the Oscar best-picture race than we thought.

Speaking of Oscars, the SAG noms are usually our best tea leaves in the acting slots. Therefore, today's list is great news for low-profile contenders who needed a push like Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor"), Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") and Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire"). But beware: those are the type of contenders who get replaced at the Academy Awards by superstars. Not all, but some.

In case you're wondering, I scored 16 out of 20 guesses when predicting today's SAG Award nominations. The two awards usually agree on 15 to 19 of the 20 nominees for best solo performances. Below, more detailed reax to the film races.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

Too many pundits carry on (and on!) about this category being the equivalent to best picture at the Oscars. It's not. Yes, it tattled on the upsets of "Crash" and "Shakespeare in Love" early on and last year the winner here corresponded to top Oscar champ "No Country for Old Men." But, over all, this SAG winner agreed with the Oscar best-pic champ only six times in 13 years. Last year "No Country" was the only SAG ensemble rival that got nominated for best pic. The other four contenders were misfires: "3:10 to Yuma," "Into the Wild," "Hairspray," "American Gangster."

This year I think four of the five will match up. "Doubt" (a magnificent ensemble acting piece) will probably get bumped from Oscar's best-pic race by, say, "The Dark Knight" (more notable for one breakthrough performance by Heath Ledger than a group wow).

Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

True to form, SAG opted for an obscure actor's actor (Jenkins) over superstar Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino"), as I predicted it would. Clint can rally at the Oscars, just as he did with "Million Dollar Baby." There's one surprise here. Voters also snubbed a superstar who's been generously nominated in the past: Leo DiCaprio, who gives the most animated, impassioned performance of his career in "Revolutionary Road." Curiously, voters preferred the quiet, reserved emoting of a different superstar: Brad Pitt ("Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). Considering that the mother of his children will also be attending, the SAG Awards hail both halves of Brangelina.

Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road"

No Cate Blanchett, who was a double nominee last year! I predicted that would happen, but I thought she'd be bumped by art-house contender Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky"). Instead, artsy rival Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") got in. Yes, SAG frequently likes to hail lesser-known veterans like Leo, but her nomination is still a surprise considering it's for a little indie film that was not as widely viewed as "Changeling" or "Doubt." Shrewdly, it ended up benefiting from an early release. Also snubbed here: Kristin Scott Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long").

Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Dev Patel, "Slumdog Millionaire"

Uh-oh! Can the Joker still get the last laugh? All three of the chief threats to Heath Ledger got nommed: Brolin and Downey plus a contender who got snubbed at the Golden Globes: Patel. And Heatn's here giving, like Patel, a lead performance in this supporting slot, often a shrewd Oscar move. Beware: this race isn't a slam-dunk, shoo-in for Ledger.

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