'Up in the Air,' 'Precious,' 'Inglourious Basterds' lead in SAG nominations

Thursday, the Screen Actors Guild announced the nominees for its annual awards. Recession comedy 'Up in the Air,' the gritty urban drama 'Precious' and the World War II revenge fantasy 'Inglourious Basterds' led the Screen Actors Guild Awards film nominations today with three nods each.

In the most closely watched category, the casts of The Hurt Locker, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, An Education, Inglourious Basterds and Nine were nominated for best ensemble, the guild's answer to best picture in other film competitions.

In the television categories, the Emmy-winning inside-TV comedy 30 Rock, crime series The Closer and the blood-spattered drama Dexter were top contenders with three nominations apiece.

Up in the Air, the front-runner at the Golden Globes nominations two days ago, scored SAG nods for George Clooney for best actor as well as for Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, both competing for best supporting actress.

Critically acclaimed Precious, the story of an obese, illiterate Harlem teen who gets help from an alternative school, also picked up nominations for Gabourey Sidibe for best actress and Mo'Nique for best supporting actress as an abusive, mentally ill mother. The film's title character is the 26-year-old Sidibe's first major movie role.

Nominated for best actor in a motion picture were Jeff Bridges for the boozy country-music tale Crazy Heart, Clooney for Up in the Air, Colin Firth for the bleak A Single Man, Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's Invictus and Jeremy Renner for the Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker.

The best actress nominees were Sandra Bullock for the feel-good sports drama The Blind Side, Helen Mirren for the melodramatic biopic The Last Station, Carey Mulligan for the coming-of-age tale An Education, Sidibe for Precious and Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie & Julia.

The contenders for best supporting actor were Matt Damon for Invictus, Woody Harrelson for the Iraq war story The Messenger, Christopher Plummer for his role as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, Stanley Tucci for the celestial drama The Lovely Bones and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds.

The best supporting actress nominees were Penelope Cruz for the musical Nine, Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air, Kendrick for Up in the Air, Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds and Mo'Nique for Precious.

The nominees in five film and eight television categories were announced at the Pacific Design Center by actors Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell, with SAG President Ken Howard introducing the presenters.

The casts of The Closer, Dexter, The Good Wife, Mad Men and True Blood were nominated in the category of best ensemble cast in a TV drama series.

Nominated for best ensemble cast in a TV comedy series were the casts of NBC's 30 Rock, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fox's Glee, ABC's Modern Family and NBC's The Office.

For best actor in a TV movie or mini-series, the nominees were Kevin Bacon for HBO's Taking Chance, Cuba Gooding Jr. for TNT's Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Jeremy Irons for Lifetime's George O'Keefe, Kevin Kline for PBS' Great Performances: Cyrano de Bergerac, and Tom Wilkinson for HBO's A Number.

The best actress in a TV movie or mini-series contenders were Joan Allen for Georgia O'Keefe, Drew Barrymore for HBO's Grey Gardens, Ruby Dee for Lifetime's America, Jessica Lange for Grey Gardens and Sigourney Weaver for Lifetime's Prayers for Bobby.

The nominees for best actor in a TV drama series were Simon Baker for CBS' The Mentalist, Bryan Cranston for AMC's Breaking Bad, Michael C. Hall for Showtime's Dexter, Jon Hamm for AMC's Mad Men and Hugh Laurie for Fox's ``House.''

The best actress in a TV drama series nominees were Patricia Arquette for Medium, which moved from NBC to CBS in the spring, Glenn Close for FX's Damages, Mariska Hargitay for NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Holly Hunter for TNT's Saving Grace, Julianna Margulies for CBS' The Good Wife and Kyra Sedgwick for TNT's The Closer.

For best actor in a TV comedy series, the nominees were Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock, Steve Carell for The Office, Larry David for Curb Your
Enthusiasm
, Tony Shalhoub for USA Network's Monk and Charlie Sheen for CBS' Two and a Half Men.

Contenders for best actress in a TV comedy series were Christina Applegate for ABC's Samantha Who? Toni Collette for Showtime's United States of Tara, Edie Falco for Showtime's Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey for 30 Rock and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine.

The winners will be announced Jan. 23 at the Shrine Auditorium, where salty comic actress Betty White will receive the guild's lifetime achievement award.

The nominees are chosen by two randomly selected panels of 2,100 SAG members. The final ballot is sent to the guild's more than 100,000 members, who choose the winners.

The SAG Awards have done a slightly better job at predicting Oscar winners than the Golden Globes, for which nominations were announced earlier this week, marking the start in earnest of the Hollywood award season.

Since the Screen Actors Guild Awards were first presented, honoring films released in 1995, 39 recipients of the Actor, as SAG's award is called, have gone on to win Oscars, compared to 36 Golden Globe winners during the same span.

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