“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh’s blood-soaked revenge thriller, dominated the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations on Wednesday, picking up a leading four nods. The film was recognized for its ensemble acting, while the performances of stars Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson were all singled out. “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig’s tender coming-of-age comedy, was close behind with three nods, including nominations for best ensemble, and a best actress and best supporting actress nomination for Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, respectively.
Both of those films have been major forces in this fall’s awards race. However, Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” thought to be a contender, was shut out, with stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks failing to make the cut.
In addition to “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards,” the other films recognized for their ensemble were “The Big Sick,” “Get Out,” and “Mudbound.” “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s monster romance, was also snubbed for its ensemble work, though stars Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins were singled out in the best actress and best supporting actor categories.
On the television front, Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” a sci-fi slice of ’80s nostalgia, and “GLOW,” a comedy about women’s wrestling, were the top nominees, along with HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” a drama about a murder in a posh California community. Each program picked up a leading four noms.
Netflix’s “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” will face off against HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” for best drama ensemble. NBC’s “This Is Us” was the sole broadcast network nominee in the category, a sign of the continued awards dominance of cable and streaming channels. ABC’s “Black-ish” will duke it out with HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Veep,” and Netflix’s “GLOW” and “Orange Is the New Black” for best comedy ensemble.
The annual honors recognize the best performances on film and television, and are handed out by the industry’s biggest acting union. The SAG Awards are seen as a barometer of Oscar chances, because many of the guild’s members overlap with members of theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ acting branch. As a sign of SAG’s predictive powers, over the past 24 years, honorees have matched 67 of the 92 acting Oscar winners. There have been some exceptions. Last year, for example, the group handed its top acting prize to Denzel Washington for “Fences,” but Oscar voters opted to reward Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea.”
This year’s SAG nominations were full of surprises on the film front. Steve Carell picked up a supporting actor nod for his work as sexist tennis champ Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes.” Earlier this week, he was nominated in the lead actor category by Golden Globes voters. And Daniel Kaluuya was unexpectedly recognized for his star turn as a black man visiting his girlfriend’s creepy parents in “Get Out.” He may have taken the slot that was expected to go to Daniel Day-Lewis, who is retiring from acting after playing an obsessive fashion designer in “The Phantom Thread.”
Aside from Kaluuya, the leading actor race comes down to Gary Oldman’s take on Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” James Franco’s work as a delusional director in “The Disaster Artist,” Timothee Chalamet’s turn as a love-sick teen in “Call Me by Your Name,” and Washington’s performance as a crusading attorney in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
In addition to McDormand, Ronan, and Hawkins, the lead actress race is rounded out by Judi Dench’s Queen Victoria in “Victoria & Abdul” and Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.”
The male actor in a comedy series category included two actors, Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”), returning to the roles that made them famous after a multi-year hiatus. They will face off against Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”), Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”), and Marc Maron (“Glow”).
The female actor in a comedy series is between Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”), Alison Brie (“GLOW”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”), and two veteran co-stars, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”).
Jason Bateman helped bring “Ozark” to life, directing several episodes of the gritty crime drama and producing the series. He’s among the lead actor in a drama nominees, a group that also includes Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), David Harbour (“Stranger Things”), and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”). Kevin Spacey, a previous winner for his work on “House of Cards,” was shut out. The actor has become embroiled in Hollywood’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal after several men have stepped forward to accuse Spacey of assault and unwanted touching.
Spacey’s co-star, Robin Wright, was among the female actor in a drama series nominees. She joins a group that includes last year’s victor Claire Foy (“The Crown”), as well as Laura Linney (“Ozark”), Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), and Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”).
This year’s show will be broadcast Jan. 21 on TNT and TBS. Kristen Bell (“The Good Place”) will be the first-ever host of the gala.