Six pix tie for best cast nom

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This article was updated at 6:48 p.m.

HOLLYWOOD — It was straight-ahead for “Sideways” at the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards noms Tuesday, with the Alexander Payne-helmed comedy uncorking four nominations — the most of any film this year — for its ensemble cast; for leading perf by Paul Giamatti; and for sup-porting performances by Virginia Madsen and Thomas Haden Church.

Yet the real harvest was reaped by thesp Jamie Foxx, who drew four nods — the most of any thesp this year — for his perf in Universal’s “Ray” and his work in its ensemble cast, as well as a supporting actor nom for his work in Michael Mann’s “Collateral” and his telepic work in cabler FX’s “Re-demption.”

And despite its chaotic year and contretemps with corporate parent the Walt Disney Co., Miramax Films garnered the most noms overall, with both “Finding Neverland” and “The Aviator” drawing three noms apiece.

Unlike last year’s awards season, which was dominated by bitter debates over the effects of a ban on screeners to prevent piracy, this year’s SAG noms went off smoothly.

If there was any theme to this year’s SAG’s noms, it might easily be “Little Women” — the guild’s nominating committee chose to recognize the per-formances of female actors in small films that did not have big box office and shut out a lot of higher-profile works from the majors. Nominees are Annette Bening in “Being Julia”; Catalina Sandino Moreno in “Maria Full of Grace”; Imelda Staunton in “Vera Drake”; Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby” and Kate Winslet in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

So, too, with ensemble noms, where four of the six nominees came from smaller pics: Casts recognized for excellence included those from such arty pics as UA’s “Hotel Rwanda”; Fox Searchlight’s “Sideways”; Warner Bros.’ “Million Dollar Baby” and Miramax’s “Finding Neverland.”

The SAG Awards nominees 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.

Oscar forecaster?

And while actors make up the largest section of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ 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 five out of 10 times; last year’s SAG ensemble cast winner, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” also went on to claim the best pic Oscar.

The SAG secret ballots were mailed Dec. 10 and returned by Jan. 7.

Unlike last year, when early risers like the summer’s “Seabiscuit,” “The Station Agent,” “Whale Rider” and “Thirteen” were well-represented, this year’s noms favored pics released later in the year, such as “Hotel Rwanda,” “Ray,” “Finding Neverland,” “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Aviator.”

Hilary Swank was the most lauded female thesp in Tuesday’s noms, with a trio of bids, for her lead perf in “Million Dollar Baby” and its ensemble as well as a supporting nom for HBO telepic “Iron Jawed Angels.” It’s her second nomination in the leading actress category, having been nominated for 2000’s “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Fresh faces

Television noms for show — and their actors — saw new talent garner a little more respect than usual: Hank Azaria was nommed for dramatic perf by a male actor in Showtime’s “Huff,” along with such usual suspects as “Th Sopranos” topliner James Gandolfini, Anthony LaPaglia of “Without a Trace” and “24” star Kiefer Sutherland.

So, too, in comedy, where frosh skein “Arrested Development’s” star Jason Bateman took his place alongside veteran actor in a comedy series nominees like “Will & Grace’s” Sean Hayes and “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Ray Romano.

In the ensemble category, Fox’s “Arrested Development” and ABC’s breakout “Desperate Housewives” muscled their way into the field to rub el-bows with the stalwart “Raymond,” “Will & Grace” and “Sex and the City.”

The late Jerry Orbach received his first nom in the drama category and his 10th overall, having been nommed as a member of the “Law & Order” ensemble every year but 2003 since 1995. This is the third time SAG has nominated an actor posthumously.

Well represented in comedies and dramatic series, cable continued its domination of telepics. HBO and Showtime all but shut out the broadcast networks in both the actor and actress in a TV movie or miniseries categories — only ABC’s “Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven” made the cut for the broadcast nets.

The final SAG Award ballots were mailed Tuesday to the entire SAG membership and are due back for counting by Feb. 3. Results will be re-vealed Feb. 5 on TNT’s live telecast of the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremonies, live from the Shrine Auditorium, starting at 8 p.m.

And the nominees are…

MOTION PICTURES

ACTOR
Don Cheadle, “Hotel Rwanda” (United Artists)
Johnny Depp, “Finding Neverland” (Miramax)
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Aviator” (Miramax)
Jamie Foxx, “Ray” (Universal)
Paul Giamatti, “Sideways” (Fox Searchlight)

ACTRESS
Annette Bening, “Being Julia” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Catalina Sandino Moreno, “Maria Full of Grace” (Fine Line)
Imelda Staunton, “Vera Drake” (Fine Line)
Hilary Swank, “Million Dollar Baby” (Warner Bros.)
Kate Winslet, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Focus)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Thomas Haden Church, “Sideways” (Fox Searchlight)
Jamie Foxx, “Collateral” (DreamWorks)
Morgan Freeman, “Million Dollar Baby,” (Warner Bros.)
James Garner, “The Notebook” (New Line)
Freddie Highmore, “Finding Neverland” (Miramax)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, “The Aviator” (Miramax)
Cloris Leachman, “Spanglish” (Columbia)
Laura Linney, “Kinsey” (Fox Searchlight)
Virginia Madsen, “Sideways” (Fox Searchlight)
Sophie Okonedo, “Hotel Rwanda” (United Artists)

CAST
“The Aviator” Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ian Holm, Danny Huston, Jude Law, John C. Reilly, Gwen Stefani (Miramax)
“Finding Neverland” Julie Christie, Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Dustin Hoffman, Radha Mitchell, Joe Prospero, Nick Roud, Luke Spill, Kate Winslet (Miramax)
“Hotel Rwanda” Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix (United Artists)
“Million Dollar Baby” Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank (Warner Bros.)
“Ray” Aunjanue Ellis, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Dashon Howard, Regina King, Harry Lennix, Clifton Powell, Larenz Tate, Kerry Washington (Universal)
“Sideways” Thomas Haden Church, Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh (Fox Searchlight)

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

ACTOR, TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Jamie Foxx, “Redemption” (F/X)
William H. Macy, “The Wool Cap” (TNT)
Barry Pepper, “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story” (ESPN)
Geoffrey Rush,”The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” (HBO)
Jon Voight, “Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven” (ABC)

ACTRESS, TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Glenn Close, “The Lion in Winter” (Showtime)
Patricia Heaton, “Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl” (TNT)
Keke Palmer, “The Wool Cap” (TNT)
Hilary Swank, “Iron Jawed Angels” (HBO)
Charlize Theron,”The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” (HBO)

ACTOR, DRAMA
Hank Azaria, “Huff” (Showtime)
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Anthony LaPaglia, “Without a Trace” (CBS)
Jerry Orbach, “Law & Order” (NBC)
Kiefer Sutherland, “24” (Fox)

ACTRESS, DRAMA
Drea De Matteo, “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Jennifer Garner, “Alias” (ABC)
Allison Janney, “The West Wing” (NBC)
Christine Lahti, “Jack & Bobby” (The WB)

ACTOR, COMEDY
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development” (Fox)
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace” (NBC)
Ray Romano, “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS)
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk” (USA)
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men” (CBS)

ACTRESS, COMEDY
Teri Hatcher, “Desperate Housewives” (ABC)
Patricia Heaton, “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS)
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace” (NBC)
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City” (HBO)
Doris Roberts, “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS)

ENSEMBLE, DRAMA
“24” Reiko Aylesworth, Carlos Bernard, Elisha Cuthbert, James Badge Dale, Joaquim De Almeida, Dennis Haysbert, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Paul Schulze, Kiefer Sutherland (Fox)
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Paul Guilfoyle, Robert David Hall, Marg Helgenberger, William Petersen, Eric Szmanda (CBS)
“Six Feet Under” Lauren Ambrose, Frances Conroy, James Cromwell, Idalis de Leon, Peter Facinelli, Ben Foster, Sprague Grayden, Rachel Griffiths, Michael C. Hall, Peter Krause, Justina Machado, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St Patrick, Mena Suvari, Justin Theroux (HBO)
“The Sopranos” Lorraine Bracco, Steve Buscemi, Dominic Chianese, Vincent Curatola, Drea De Matteo, Jamie-Lynn Discala, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Robert Iler, Michael Imperioli, Steven R. Schirripa, Tony Sirico, Aida Turturro, Steven Van Zandt, John Ventimiglia (HBO)
“The West Wing” Stockard Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, DulĂ© Hill, Allison Janney, Joshua Malina, Mary McCormack, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Lily Tomlin, Bradley Whitford (NBC)

ENSEMBLE, COMEDY
“Arrested Devlopment” Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, David Cross, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter(Fox)
“Desperate Housewives” Andrea Bowen, Ricardo Antonio, Marcia Cross, Steven Culp, James Denton, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Cody Kasch, Eva Longoria, Jesse Metcalfe, Mark Moses, Nicollette Sheridan, Brenda Strong (ABC)
“Everybody Loves Raymond” Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett, Patricia Heaton, Monica Horan, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Madylin Sweeten (CBS)
“Sex and the City” Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker (HBO)
“Will and Grace” Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally (NBC)

SAG AWARDS 41st ANNUAL LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
James Garner

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