"Basterds," "Precious" among top SAG nominees
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Three films, "Inglourious Basterds," "Precious" and "Up in the Air," earned three nominations apiece for Screen Actors Guild Awards on Thursday, capping a week of numerous critics' and industry honors.
World War Two fantasy "Basterds" and urban drama "Precious: Based On the Novel Push by Sapphire" both landed on the nominee list for best performances by a film cast from the Screen Actors Guild, which represents movie and television actors.
Joining them among nominees for top film cast, the group's highest honor, were the stars of the musical "Nine," including Penelope Cruz and Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as the actors in Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" and "An Education."
"Up in the Air," starring George Clooney as a man who fires people in corporate downsizings, earned its three nominations for Clooney as best actor and Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for best supporting actress.
But the movie, which has been labeled by Hollywood watchers as a frontrunner in the race for Oscars after winning early critics awards, failed to make the list for best ensemble cast and that factor could hurt its prospects for Academy Awards.
"Inglourious Basterds," "Nine" and "Precious," which all have figured prominently in current awards season, should solidify their status as key contenders, and low-budget films "The Hurt Locker" and "An Education" boost their prospects.
ACTORS AND OSCARS
Actors make up the biggest voting block at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars, and because of that factor, the SAG Awards are closely followed by Hollywood watchers.
SAG awards will be given out on January 23 in Los Angeles, and the Academy Awards come about six weeks later on March 7.
Along with Clooney on the list for best lead actor in a film were Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart," Colin Firth in "A Single Man," Morgan Freeman for "Invictus" and Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker."
The five nominees for best actress in a film were Sandra Bullock for football movie "The Blind Side," Helen Mirren in "The Last Station," Carey Mulligan for "An Education," newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious" and veteran Meryl Streep for the culinary comedy "Julie & Julia."
Joining "Up In the Air" nominees Farmiga and Kendrick in the race for supporting actress will be Penelope Cruz for her singing and dancing turn in "Nine," Diane Kruger "Inglourious Basterds" and comic actress Mo'Nique, who took on a dramatic role playing an abusive mother in "Precious."
The supporting actor race features Matt Damon for "Invictus," Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger," Christopher Plummer playing Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station," Stanley Tucci for "The Lovely Bones" and Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds."
Finally, SAG also honors the year's best performances on television, and the key category of best cast in a TV drama includes last year's winner "Mad Men," along with "The Closer," "Dexter," "The Good Wife" and "True Blood."
Competing for best TV comedy will be another past winner "30 Rock," alongside "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office" and newcomers "Glee" and "Modern Family."
(Editing by Eric Beech and Jackie Frank)