'Mystic,' 'Station' lead noms as major stars overlooked

A correction was made to this article on Feb. 20, 2004. This story was updated at 6:13 p.m. on Jan. 15.

See Nominees List

“Mystic River” and “The Station Agent” made big showings at the 10th annual Screen Actors Guild award nominations, leading the pack of pics by taking three nominations apiece.

Warner Bros.’ “Mystic River” garnered noms for ensemble cast, Tim Robbins as supporting actor and Sean Penn for his leading role.

But it was Miramax release “The Station Agent” that drew the surprise windfall, receiving noms for its ensemble cast, as well as for its leading performances by Peter Dinklage and Patricia Clarkson.

If there was an overarching theme to the SAG nominations, it was the strong showing of smaller films and the absence of big stars like Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Whether SAG’s nominating committee intended to make a statement or not, the noms sent a message to the major studios that screening cassettes matter. The guild had sparred fiercely over the majors’ attempts to thwart piracy by banning screeners from awards voters this year. SAG sources insisted that many of the major studios did not send screeners to the SAG nominating committee. Conversely, independents, including studio-backed companies like Miramax and Focus, did so early and often.

Perhaps as a result, SAG recognized a lot of performances in small films that did not have big box office and shut out a lot of high-profile works from the majors.

SAG’s nominating committee was bullish about ensemble casts like those in Fox Searchlight’s “In America” and Miramax’s “The Station Agent” and the perfs of individual actors in indie pics, like Alec Baldwin’s in Lions Gate’s “The Cooler” and Bill Murray’s in Focus’ “Lost in Translation.”

Actors in Fox’s “Master and Commander” were ignored, and “Cold Mountain” and WB’s “The Last Samurai” had to settle for one nom each. Spokesmen for Fox and WB admitted that they had not sent out screeners to the SAG voters.

Four of the five best actress nominees were from smaller, indie films — Clarkson (“Station Agent”); Charlize Theron (Newmarket’s “Monster”); Naomi Watts (Focus’s “21 Grams”) and Evan Rachel Wood (Fox Searchlight’s “Thirteen”). Similarly, four of five supporting actress nominees were from small indie films: Maria Bello (Lions Gate’s “The Cooler”); Keisha Castle-Hughes (Newmarket’s “Whale Rider”); Clarkson (UA’s “Pieces of April”) and Holly Hunter (“Thirteen”).

Oscar bellwether

The SAG Awards nominee are chosen by two randomly selected panels, totaling 4,200 SAG members from across the U.S. There are separate committees for film and for TV work.

This year, Oscar watchers will be watching with interest to see how much correlation there is between the noms of SAG and the Academy Awards. SAG recently rethought its nominating committee: The approximately 2,100 voting members this year are spread across the country more, with fewer centered in New York and Los Angeles. That means a smaller overlap with Acad members (one source estimated the duplication of the two voting groups has dropped this year to 10% from 50%) — and possibly less correlation than ever before.

Actors make up the largest contingent of the Academy’s membership (1,298 members, or 22%).

Even in earlier years, there were rarely five-for-five correlations between SAG and Oscar.

The winner of SAG’s lead actor also won the Oscar in the first six years of the SAG awards. By contrast, SAG’s ensemble awards have matched the Oscar for best picture only four out of nine times. Last year Daniel Day-Lewis won the SAG award for actor, while Adrien Brody took home the Oscar. But last year’s SAG ensemble cast winner, “Chicago,” also went on to claim the Oscar for best picture.

The SAG secret ballots were mailed on Dec. 15 and returned by Jan. 13. Unlike last year, when late-in-the-season pics like “Gangs of New York,” “Chicago” and “About Schmidt” seemed to be favored by SAG noms, early risers like the summer’s “Seabiscuit,” “The Station Agent,” “Whale Rider” and “Thirteen” were very well-represented this year.

Clarkson triple play

Clarkson was the most lauded thesp in Thursdays noms, with a trio of bids: Her perf in “Station Agent” and its ensemble as well as a supporting nom for “April.” The nominations bring her SAG Awards tally to four, having been nominated as part of the ensemble cast in 2000’s “The Green Mile.” The actress on Thursday said, “I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed that this beautiful, small film has been recognized.”

Thesps getting double kudos included Dinklage and Penn, who took plaudits for their leading work in “Station Agent” and “Mystic River,” as well as for their parts in those pics’ ensemble casts. Tim Robbins and Chris Cooper were nommed for their roles in “Mystic River” and Universal’s “Seabiscuit,” respectively, and for their work with those pics’ ensemble casts.

For Dinklage, the nomination is his first; Robbins was previously nommed for his lead performance in 1995’s “The Shawshank Redemption.” Penn was nommed in 2002 for “I Am Sam” and in 1996 for “Dead Man Walking.” Cooper was nommed in 2003 for his supporting role in “Adaptation” and for his ensemble work in 2000’s “American Beauty.”

You again?

Television nominations sounded like reruns, with veteran shows — and their actors — returning to familiar accolades. Sean Hayes of the Peacock’s “Will & Grace” was back for a fourth consecutive year, nominated both individually and as a cast member for the comedy skein.

CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” cast has now been nommed five times as an ensemble, and it again saw its topliners draw individual bids. Ray Romano was back for his fourth individual nom as actor in a male comedy series. “Raymond’s” Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett got their second and first nominations in that rubric, respectively. USA’s “Monk” topliner Tony Shalhoub was back for a second consecutive actor in a comedy series nom.

In other primetime TV categories, HBO’s multipart adaptation of “Angels in America” tied with the Eye web’s “Raymond” for six nominations, with NBC’s “Will & Grace” and “The West Wing” each taking four apiece. NBC took home the most noms with 13, followed by CBS and HBO with 10 apiece.

Well represented in comedies and dramatic series, cable continued its domination of telepics. HBO and Showtime completely shut out the broadcast networks in both the actor and actress in a TV movie or miniseries categories. The final awards ballots will be mailed Jan. 26 to the entire SAG membership and will be returned for counting by Feb. 20. Results will be revealed on the TNT telecast of the 10th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremonies on Feb. 22, broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium, starting at 8 p.m. (live in the Eastern time zone, tape delayed in the West).

And the nominees are…

FILM

Actor
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (BV)
Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent (Miramax)
Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog (Dreamworks)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation (Focus)
Sean Penn, Mystic River (WB)

Actress
Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent (Miramax)
Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give (Columbia)
Charlize Theron, Monster (Newmarket)
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams (Focus)
Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen (Fox Searchlight)

Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler (Lions Gate)
Chris Cooper, Seabiscuit (Universal)
Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams (Focus)
Tim Robbins, Mystic River (WB)
Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai (WB)

Supporting Actress
Maria Bello, The Cooler (Lions Gate)
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider (Newmarket)
Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April (United)
Holly Hunter, Thirteen (Fox Searchlight)
Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain (Miramax)

Cast
In America Emma Bolger, Sarah Bolger, Paddy Considine, Djimon Hounsou, Samantha Morton (Fox Searchlight)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Bernard Hill, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Noble, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Elijah Wood (New Line)
Mystic River Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins (WB)
Seabiscuit Elizabeth Banks, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, William H. Macy, Tobey Maguire, Gary Stevens (U)
The Station Agent Paul Benjamin, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage, Raven Goodwin, Michelle Williams (Miramax)

TELEVISION

Actor, Television Movie or Miniseries
Justin Kirk, Angels in America (HBO)
Paul Newman, Our Town (Showtime)
Al Pacino, Angels in America (HBO)
Forest Whitaker, Deacons for Defense (Showtime)
Jeffrey Wright, Angels in America (HBO)

Actress, Television Movie or Miniseries
Anne Bancroft, Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Showtime)
Helen Mirren, Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Showtime)
Mary-Louise Parker, Angels in America (HBO)
Meryl Streep, Angels in America (HBO)
Emma Thompson, Angels in America (HBO)

Actor, Drama
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under (HBO)
Anthony LaPaglia, WIthout a Trace (CBS)
Martin Sheen, The West Wing (NBC)
Kiefer Sutherland, 24 (FOX)
Treat Williams, Everwood (The WB)

Actress, Drama
Stockard Channing, The West Wing (NBC)
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under (HBO)
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy (CBS)
Jennifer Garner, Alias (ABC)
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Allison Janney, The West Wing (NBC)

Actor, Comedy
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace (NBC)
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA)

Actress, Comedy
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Lisa Kudrow, Friends (NBC)
Debra Messing, Will & Grace (NBC)
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace (NBC)
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)

Cast, Drama
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Paul Guilfoyle, Robert David Hall, Marg Helgenberger, William Petersen, Eric Szmanda (CBS)
Law & Order, Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jerry Orbach, Elisabeth Rohm, Fred Dalton Thompson, Sam Waterston (NBC)
Six Feet Under, Lauren Ambrose, Frances Conroy, Ben Foster, Rachel Griffiths, Michael C. Hall, Peter Krause, Peter Macdissi, Justina Machado, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew ST Patrick, Lili Taylor, Rainn Wilson (HBO)
The West Wing, Stockard Channing, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Joshua Malina, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford (NBC)
Without A Trace, Eric Close, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Anthony LaPaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Enrique Murciano (CBS)

Cast, Comedy
Everybody Loves Raymond, Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Madylin Sweetin (CBS)
Frasier, Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, David Hyde Pierce
Friends, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer (NBC)
Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker
Will & Grace, Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Shelley Morrison, Megan Mullally

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