Tight race sees five pix nab 3 nods each

This article was amended on Feb. 12, 2001.

See the full list of nominees.

Music, candy and combat dominated Tuesday’s nominations for the seventh annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, with five films — “Almost Famous,” “Billy Elliot,” “Chocolat,” “The Contender” and “Gladiator” — tapped for three nominations each.

“Erin Brockovich,” “Quills” and “Traffic” each picked up a pair of SAG noms, which in the past six years have proved to be a pretty accurate barometer of Academy Award voting trends.

Fox’s “Ally McBeal” and NBC’s “Will & Grace” led the television nominations with four each, followed by HBO’s “The Sopranos” and NBC’s “The West Wing” with three apiece. NBC dominated the networks with 15 bids, followed by Fox with six and TNT with five.

Leading actor nominations saw a pair of mild surprises in young Jamie Bell for “Billy Elliot” and Benicio Del Toro for “Traffic,” along with Russell Crowe for “Gladiator,” Tom Hanks for “Cast Away” and Geoffrey Rush for “Quills.”

Though Del Toro won a Golden Globe and National Society of Film Critics nod in the supporting category for the film, USA Films decided that SAG’s ensemble-acting award changed the chemistry, so submitted the actor in the lead category here.

Leading actress nominations followed expectations, tapping Joan Allen for “The Contender,” Juliette Binoche for “Chocolat,” Ellen Burstyn for “Requiem for a Dream,” Laura Linney for “You Can Count On Me” and Golden Globe winner Julia Roberts for “Erin Brockovich.”

DreamWorks’ “The Contender” picked up a pair of supporting actor bids for Jeff Bridges and Gary Oldman, with Willem Dafoe (“Shadow of the Vampire”), Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Gladiator”) also cited.

DreamWorks/Columbia’s “Almost Famous” doubled in the supporting actress category with Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand, with Judi Dench (“Chocolat”), Julie Walters (“Billy Elliot”) and Kate Winslet (“Quills”) also selected.

Four nominees previously won individual SAG Awards: Leading trophies were taken by Hanks in 1995 for “Forrest Gump,” McDormand for “Fargo” in 1997 and Rush for “Shine” in 1997 while Winslet won for her supporting role in “Sense and Sensibility” in 1996. Overall, first-time nominees took 12 of the 20 individual film nods, compared with 15 of 20 last year.

Nominations for ensemble film casts went to “Almost Famous,” “Billy Elliot,” “Chocolat,” “Gladiator” and “Traffic.”

DreamWorks led in the film studio tally with nine noms (including six shared), followed by eight for Universal.

Field seeing double

In addition to her film and ensemble nods, Dench received a nom for actress in a TV movie or miniseries for HBO’s “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells.” Sally Field took a pair of TV bids, for TNT’s “David Copperfield” in the movie/miniseries category and for NBC’s “ER” in the drama series category.

TV series categories saw familiar names: 10 of the 20 individual nominations are repeats from last year, while the 10 contenders for cast awards include seven repeats.

Dennis Franz of “NYPD Blue” and Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, both of “Frasier,” all received their seventh consecutive nominations; Gillian Anderson took her sixth for “The X-Files.”

Robert Downey Jr. received his first nom in the category of male actor in a comedy series for “Ally McBeal,” while Alec Baldwin and Brian Cox were tapped in the movie/miniseries category for TNT’s “Nuremberg.”

“I’m very happy about the nominations because they are voted on by actors,” Binoche said from Gotham. “And it’s very meaningful that the whole cast of ‘Chocolat’ got nominated because the film is about a village and how people get along. The cast had a great chemistry and it shows in the film.”

Hard work

Burstyn, who portrayed a drug addict in “Requiem,” said, “I was really hoping for this nomination because actors, more than anyone, understand what you have to put yourself through for that kind of part.”

“The nomination is absolutely thrilling,” said Rush, who played the Marquis de Sade in “Quills,” said, “I was in bed with a cold when I found out so it was a great tonic.”

The SAG film nominations are a closely watched signal of Oscar sentiment, since actors make up the single largest voting bloc within the Academy: 1,329 of the 5,722 members, or 23%. The SAG noms were determined by votes cast from 2,100 randomly selected guild members for the film categories and another 2,100 for TV.

SAG voters have matched the Oscar victor in the best actor category in all six years. Voters have diverged twice in the actress category — in 1994, when Jodie Foster won the SAG award for “Nell” and Jessica Lange took the Oscar for “Blue Sky,” and last year, when Annette Bening won the SAG trophy for “American Beauty” and Hilary Swank received the Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry.”

SAG selections in the supporting categories have been less reliable, with seven Oscars going to the 13 SAG winners; however, both matched last year, with Michael Caine for “The Cider House Rules” and Angelina Jolie for “Girl, Interrupted.”

SAG’s cast award has correctly matched the best picture only in the past two years, with “American Beauty” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

High-profile films that failed to nab a single nom in this year’s SAG voting include “All the Pretty Horses,” “Before Night Falls,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Dancer in the Dark,” “Finding Forrester,” “The Gift,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Thirteen Days” and “Wonder Boys.”

Ballots for the SAG Awards will be mailed to all 98,000 members Feb. 13, the day Oscar nominations are announced. The SAG Award winners will be announced March 11 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center, two weeks before Oscar ceremonies.

The show, to air on cabler TNT, will include SAG’s lifetime achievement honor for husband-wife team Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

The noms were announced by Cary Elwes and Lucy Liu at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

And the Nominees are…

FILM

ACTOR
Jamie Bell – Billy Elliot
Russell Crowe – Gladiator
Benicio Del Toro – Traffic
Tom Hanks – Cast Away
Geoffrey Rush – Quills

ACTRESS
Joan Allen – The Contender
Juliette Binoche – Chocolat
Ellen Burstyn – Requiem For A Dream
Laura Linney – You Can Count On Me
Julia Roberts – Erin Brockovich

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jeff Bridges – The Contender
Willem Dafoe – Shadow of the Vampire
Albert Finney – Erin Brockovich
Gary Oldman – The Contender
Joaquin Phoenix – Gladiator

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Judi Dench – Chocolat
Kate Hudson – Almost Famous
Frances McDormand – Almost Famous
Julie Walters – Billy Elliot
Kate Winslet – Quills

CAST
ALMOST FAMOUS – DreamWorks SKG/Columbia Pictures
(Fairuza Balk, Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor)
BILLY ELLIOT – Universal Pictures
(Jamie Bell, Jamie Draven, Gary Lewis, Julie Walters)
CHOCOLAT – Miramax Films
(Juliette Binoche, Leslie Caron, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugh O’Conor, Lena Olin, Peter Stormare, John Wood)
GLADIATOR – DreamWorks SKG/Universal Pictures
(Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, Connie Nielsen, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed)
TRAFFIC – USA Films
(Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins, Jr., Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Luis Guzman, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian, D.W. Moffett, Dennis Quaid, Peter Reigert, Jacob Vargas, Catherine Zeta-Jones)

TELEVISION

ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Alec Baldwin – Nuremberg
Brian Cox – Nuremberg
Brian Dennehy – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Danny Glover – Freedom Song
John Lithgow – Don Quixote
James Woods – Dirty Pictures

ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Stockard Channing – The Truth About Jane
Judi Dench – The Last of the Blonde Bombshells
Sally Field – David Copperfield
Elizabeth Franz – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Vanessa Redgrave – If These Walls Could Talk 2

ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Tim Daly – The Fugitive
Anthony Edwards – ER
Dennis Franz – NYPD Blue
James Gandolfini – The Sopranos
Martin Sheen – The West Wing

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Gillian Anderson – The X-Files
Edie Falco – The Sopranos
Sally Field – ER
Lauren Graham – Gilmore Girls
Allison Janney – The West Wing
Sela Ward – Once and Again

ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Robert Downey, Jr. – Ally McBeal
Kelsey Grammer – Frasier
Sean Hayes – Will & Grace
Peter MacNicol – Ally McBeal
David Hyde Pierce – Frasier

ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Calista Flockhart – Ally McBeal
Jane Kaczmarek – Malcom in the Middle
Debra Messing – Will & Grace
Megan Mullally – Will & Grace
Sarah Jessica Parker – Sex and the City

ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
ER – NBC
(Anthony Edwards, Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, Eriq La Salle, Julianna Margulies, Kellie Martin, Paul McCrane, Michael Michele, Ming-Na, Erik Palladino, Maura Tierney, Goran Visnjic, Noah Wyle)
LAW & ORDER – NBC
(Angie Harmon, Steven Hill, Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, Dianne Wiest)
THE PRACTICE – ABC
(Michael Badalucco, Lara Flynn Boyle, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Steve Harris, Jason Kravits, Camryn Manheim, Dylan McDermott, Marla Sokoloff, Kelli Williams)
THE SOPRANOS – HBO
(Lorraine Bracco, Dominic Chianese, Drea De Matteo, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Robert Iler, Michael Imperioli, Nancy Marchand, Vincent Pastore, David Proval, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Tony Sirico, Aida Turturro, Steven Van Zandt)
THE WEST WING – NBC
(Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Moira Kelly, Rob Lowe, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford)

ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
ALLY McBEAL – FOX
(Lisa Nicole Carson, Portia de Rossi, Robert Downey, Jr., Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, James LeGros, Lucy Liu, Peter MacNicol, Vonda Shepard)
FRASIER – NBC
(Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, David Hyde Pierce)
FRIENDS – NBC
(Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer)
SEX AND THE CITY – HBO
(Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker)
WILL & GRACE – NBC
(Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally)

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD 37TH ANNUAL LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee

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