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‘Patient’ charts top noms for SAG Awards

“The English Patient,” followed by “Jerry Maguire,” led the list Thursday of nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving the pics a boost in this year’s Oscar race.

“Patient” earned four nods: for Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche, as well as for its cast as a whole. “Maguire” was cited for Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger.

In television, NBC’s “Seinfeld” and ABC’s “NYPD Blue” topped the nominations, with four apiece.

Piling on the praise

The awards will be handed out at the Shrine Ballroom on Feb. 22 and be televised live in the east on NBC; while half the nods are for TV, it is the film categories that undoubtedly will capture the most attention as the in-dustry counts down to the Academy Awards.

The Oscar race is still wide open, but in the past week “English Patient” picked up a Golden Globe for best motion picture drama, and nominations from the industry’s directors and producers guilds.

As it did last year, Miramax led the feature nominations, capturing 11. It earned four nods for “Patient,” three for “Marvin’s Room,” and two each for “Sling Blade” and “Unhook the Stars.” Columbia/TriStar followed with five nominations.

As with other honors this year, there was a strong presence of the independents, with Fine Line generating three nominations, Gramercy capturing two and October garnering one.

In their third year, the SAG awards still are in their infancy compared with the Oscars, and its voting block is vastly different. Nominees were determined by 4,200 randomly selected SAG members, while ballots will go out to about 86,000 members — compared with the roughly 6,000 members of the Academy.

The actors guild is one of the few orgs to salute ensemble performances. In the award for cast of a motion picture, nominees are “English Patient,” “Shine,” “Sling Blade,” “The Birdcage” and “Marvin’s Room.”

“Patient” producer Saul Zaentz said he was “very pleased” with the movie’s nominations, particularly for its nod for the cast.

“That’s what it is, that is what it comes down to, is its cast,” he said.

“This is the very best because I don’t consider myself a director or a writer first,” said Billy Bob Thornton, who was nominated for actor and as a member of the cast of “Sling Blade,” which he directed, wrote and starred in. “It is like getting the blue-collar award. It’s a great thing getting a nomination from the people you work with.”

Gena Rowlands, who was directed by her son Nick Cassavetes in “Unhook the Stars,” said the nomination “was just wonderful.” Also nominated for that pic was Marisa Tomei, for supporting actress.

Character-driven

The movie is about a beautiful widow who finds herself having to make it alone. “It is totally character-driven,” Rowlands said. “In that sense most of us actors think of it as an actor’s movie. What is very important is the relationship between each person. That is where the drama lies.”

Among those absent from the list were Sunday’s Golden Globe winners Madonna (“Evita”) and Edward Norton (“Primal Fear”). Also missing: Joan Allen and Paul Scofield (“The Crucible”), Antonio Banderas (“Evita”), Bar-bara Hershey (“Portrait of a Lady”), Courtney Love (“The People vs. Larry Flynt”), Eddie Murphy (“The Nutty Professor”), Liam Neeson (“Michael Collins”), Debbie Reynolds (“Mother”) and Emily Watson (“Breaking the Waves”).

In the TV categories, “Seinfeld” and “Cybill” once again earned nominations for their supporting players, while stars Jerry Seinfeld and Cybill Shepherd did not. (Seinfeld was nominated as a member of the “Seinfeld” cast.)

“NYPD” and “Seinfeld’s” four noms were followed by “ER,” “The X-Files,” “Frasier” and “3rd Rock From the Sun,” with three each.

NBC was far ahead of the competition with 16 nominations, followed by CBS and ABC, with five each.

A surprise nomination went to the cast of American Movie Classics’ “Remember Wenn” for comedy series ensem-ble. Also nominated in that category were NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Frasier,” “Mad About You” and “Seinfeld.”

In the drama ensemble category, the casts of “Chicago Hope,” “ER,” “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue” and “The X-Files” earned nominations.

Angela Lansbury will receive SAG’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

SAG also will hold celebrations at regional branches to mark the awards.

A complete list of nominees follows.

MOVIES

MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Tom Cruise — “Jerry Maguire” (Columbia TriStar)

Ralph Fiennes — “The English Patient” (Miramax)

Woody Harrelson — “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (Columbia TriStar)

Geoffrey Rush — “Shine” (Fine Line)

Billy Bob Thornton — “Sling Blade” (Miramax)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Brenda Blethyn — “Secrets & Lies” (October Films)

Diane Keaton — “Marvin’s Room” (Miramax)

Frances McDormand — “Fargo” (Gramercy)

Gena Rowlands — “Unhook the Stars” (Miramax)

Kristin Scott Thomas — “The English Patient” (Miramax)

MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Hank Azaria — “The Birdcage” (MGM/UA)

Cuba Gooding Jr. — “Jerry Maguire” (Columbia TriStar)

Nathan Lane — “The Birdcage” (MGM/UA)

William H. Macy — “Fargo” (Gramercy)

Noah Taylor — “Shine” (Fine Line)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Lauren Bacall — “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (Columbia TriStar)

Juliette Binoche — “The English Patient” (Miramax)

Marisa Tomei — “Unhook the Stars” (Miramax)

Gwen Verdon — “Marvin’s Room” (Miramax)

Renee Zellweger — “Jerry Maguire” (Columbia TriStar)

CAST IN A THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURE

“The Birdcage” — Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Christine Baran-ski, Dan Futterman

“The English Patient” — Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth, Julian Wadham, Jurgen Prochnow

“Marvin’s Room” — Meryl Streep, Leonardo Di Caprio, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Hume Cronyn, Gwen Ver-don, Hal Scardino, Dan Hedaya

“Shine” — Armin Mueller-Stahl, Noah Taylor, Geoffrey Rush, Lynn Redgrave, Googie Withers, John Gielgud

“Sling Blade” — Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday, Robert Duvall

TELEVISION

MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Armand Assante — “Gotti” (HBO)

Beau Bridges — “Hidden in America” (Showtime)

Robert Duvall — “The Man Who Captured Eichmann” (TNT)

Ed Harris — “Riders of the Purple Sage” (TNT)

Alan Rickman — “Rasputin” (HBO)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Anne Bancroft — “Homecoming” (Showtime)

Kathy Bates — “The Late Shift” (HBO)

Stockard Channing — “An Unexpected Family” (USA)

Jena Malone — “Bastard Out of Carolina” (Showtime)

Cicely Tyson — “The Road to Galveston” (USA)

MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

George Clooney — “ER” (NBC)

David Duchovny — “The X-Files” (Fox)

Anthony Edwards — “ER” (NBC)

Dennis Franz — “NYPD Blue” (ABC)

Jimmy Smits — “NYPD Blue” (ABC)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Gillian Anderson — “The X-Files” (Fox)

Kim Delaney — “NYPD Blue” (ABC)

Christine Lahti — “Chicago Hope” (CBS)

Della Reese — “Touched by an Angel” (CBS)

Jane Seymour — “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (CBS)

MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Jason Alexander — “Seinfeld” (NBC)

Kelsey Grammer — “Frasier” (NBC)

John Lithgow — “3rd Rock From the Sun” (NBC)

David Hyde Pierce — “Frasier” (NBC)

Michael Richards — “Seinfeld” (NBC)

FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Christine Baranski — “Cybill” (CBS)

Ellen DeGeneres — “Ellen” (ABC)

Helen Hunt — “Mad About You” (NBC)

Kristen Johnston — “3rd Rock From the Sun” (NBC)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus — “Seinfeld” (NBC)

ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES

“Chicago Hope” — Adam Arkin, Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Rocky Carroll, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Hector Eli-zondo, Thomas Gibson, Mark Harmon, Roxanne Hart, Christine Lahti, Jamey Sheridan (CBS)

“ER” — George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Laura Innes, Eriq LaSalle, Julianna Margulies, Gloria Reuben, Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wyle (NBC)

“Law & Order” –Benjamin Bratt, Jill Hennessey, Steven Hill, Carey Lowell, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston (NBC)

“NYPD Blue” –Gordon Clapp, Kim Delaney, Dennis Franz, Sharon Lawrence, James McDaniel, Justine Miceli, Gail O’Grady, Jimmy Smits, Nicholas Turturro (ABC)

“The X-Files” — Gillian Anderson, William B. Davis, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, Steven Williams (Fox)

ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES

“3rd Rock From the Sun” — Jane Curtin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kristen Johnston, John Lithgow, French Stewart (NBC)

“Frasier” — Dan Butler, Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, David Hyde Pierce (NBC)

“Mad About You” — Helen Hunt, Leila Kenzle, John Pankow, Anne Ramsay, Paul Reiser (NBC)

“Remember Wenn” — Tom Beckett, George Hall, Margaret Hall, John Bedford Lloyd, Melinda Mullins, Christo-pher Murney, Amanda Naughton, Hugh O’Gorman, Kevin O’Rourke, Dina Spybey, Mary Stout (AMC)

“Seinfeld” — Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld (NBC)

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Angela Lansbury

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