‘Sideways’ Leads SAG Awards Film Nominees
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Low-budget road comedy “Sideways,” about two men looking for love in California’s wine country, led nominees for Screen Actors Guild Awards on Tuesday with four nominations, making it a frontrunner in the race for Oscars.
The other nominees for best film cast, SAG’s highest award, were Howard Hughes epic “The Aviator,” African genocide drama “Hotel Rwanda,” female boxing movie “Million Dollar Baby,” “Finding Neverland,” about how J.M. Barrie was inspired to write “Peter Pan,” and “Ray,” about soul singer Ray Charles.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 5 is a closely watched barometer for Oscars, the U.S. film industry’s top honors, because actors make up the largest voting group at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars. Academy Award winners will be named on Feb. 27.
Jamie Foxx, who played Charles, was nominated in four SAG categories including best actor. The number was more than any performer and the first time an actor has received that many SAG nominations. It should also firm up his position as the frontrunner for the best actor Oscar.
He was also nominated for best supporting actor for his performance as an abducted taxi driver in “Collateral” and best actor in a television movie as a convicted murderer in “Redemption.” He was also in the best cast category for “Ray.”
“Ray” director Taylor Hackford said Foxx was operating “at a very high level,” but added he was proud of the best cast nomination because several actors with Foxx were relatively unknown to mass audiences and deserved recognition.
“It’s one of the high points of my day,” Hackford said. “I wanted this film to have real people, real faces. We got incredibly talented people, but also real performances.”
TILTING TOWARD “SIDEWAYS”
“Sideways” earned Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church nominations for best actor and supporting actor, respectively, and one for Virginia Madsen as best supporting actress.
The low-budget movie has been named as 2004’s best movie by several critics’ groups, and figures prominently at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards, where it is nominated for honors in seven categories, more than any other film.
Joining Giamatti and Foxx among best actor nominees were Don Cheadle as a heroic hotel manager in “Hotel Rwanda,” Leonardo DiCaprio playing Howard Hughes in “Aviator” and Johnny Depp as Barrie in “Neverland.”
Best film actress nominees were Britain’s Imelda Staunton playing an abortionist in “Vera Drake,” Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby,” Annette Bening in comedy “Being Julia,” Kate Winslet for romance, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno for her role as a cocaine smuggler in the drama “Maria Full of Grace.”
That category sets up a rematch of 1999’s best actress race in which Bening in “American Beauty” competed against Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry.” Bening won at SAG; Swank at Oscar.
Supporting actor nominees with Church and Foxx were Morgan Freeman for “Million Dollar Baby,” child actor Freddie Highmore in “Neverland” and James Garner for romance “The Notebook.”
Garner will receive a lifetime achievement honor, marking the first time in the show’s 11 years that an actor being given the achievement honor also has been nominated for an award.
Supporting actress nominees with Madsen were Cate Blanchett playing Katharine Hepburn in “Aviator,” Cloris Leachman in comedy “Spanglish,” Laura Linney in “Kinsey,” about the life of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, and Sophie Okonedo in “Rwanda.”
SAG also gives out awards for television, and in that arena the casts of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “24,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing,” were nominated for best acting in a drama.
The casts of “Arrested Development,” new show “Desperate Housewives,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Sex and the City,” and “Will & Grace” were nominated for best acting in a TV comedy.
‘Sideways’ Leads SAG Awards Film Nominees
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