Three Billboards tops Screen Actors Guild nominations, The Big Sick bounces back

In announcing nominations for its annual awards, the Screen Actors Guild has heartily endorsed the Frances McDormand-led revenge drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and offered swift redemption for the Golden Globes-overlooked romantic comedy The Big Sick. Many Oscar favourites were left empty-handed.

Kristen Bell to host Jan. 21 award show telecast

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the lead SAG Awards contender, follows a frustrated and grieving mother (played by Frances McDormand) who antagonizes the local police to decry the lack of progress in searching for her daughter’s killer. (TIFF)

The 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards have heartily endorsed the Frances McDormand-led revenge drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, offered swift redemption for the Golden Globes-overlooked romantic comedy The Big Sick and left many Oscar favourites empty-handed.

Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash announced the nominees in West Hollywood, Calif., on Wednesday, 

Martin McDonaugh's Three Billboards led all films with four nominations, including best ensemble, and acting nods for McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. That adds to the movie's strong awards portfolio, including six Golden Globes nods and the often predictive audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The other nominees for best ensemble were: Greta Gerwig's mother-daughter tale Lady Bird, Jordan Peele's horror hit Get Out, Dee Rees' Jim Crowe-era drama Mudbound and The Big Sick, which was shut out Monday by the Golden Globes.

In the television categories, HBO's California murder mystery Big Little Lies (directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée) dominated as expected with five nominations, including best ensemble. Netflix's Stranger Things and Glow fared well, with four nods apiece. The steaming service led all networks with 19 total nominations.

The 2018 SAG Awards for achievements in film and television will be awarded in January. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press)

As one of the steadiest bellwethers of the Academy Awards, the SAG Awards have considerable sway over the Oscar race. Actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, though the guild's ranks are much larger. Only about 1,000 of their 160,000 members are in the film academy.

The ensemble for Hidden Figures, including from right, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer, Kimberly Quinn and Saniyya Sidney, foreground left, won the SAG Awards' top film honour in 2016. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Last year, Hidden Figures upset eventual Oscar-winner Moonlight as well as Manchester by the Sea for the SAG Awards' best ensemble. But it's been 22 years since a film that wasn't at least nominated for best ensemble at the SAG Awards won best picture at the Oscars.

The Oscars race is so far considered wide open, and by winnowing the field down to five movies for its top award on Wednesday, the Screen Actors left out many frontrunners. Steven Spielberg's Pentagon Papers drama The Post was shut out entirely, including its lauded stars, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

After topping the Globes with seven nods Monday, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water missed out on the ensemble category, but still landed nods for Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins. Critical favourites Call Me By Your Name and The Florida Project each emerged with just a solo acting nomination. Notably passed over was Call Me By Your Name co-star Armie Hammer.

Kumail Nanjiani, left, and his wife Emily Gordon co-wrote the romantic comedy film The Big Sick, based on their real-life relationship. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press)

Instead, The Big Sick, an autobiographical comedy scripted by real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, followed up its rough Globes morning with not just a best ensemble nod but a supporting actress nomination for Holly Hunter.

"Now we have to go tell our real parents that they aren't actually nominated," Nanjiani and Gordon said in a joint statement.

Along with Stranger Things, the nominees for best ensemble in a drama series were The Crown, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale and This Is Us. Up for best ensemble in a comedy series are: Black-ish, Curb Your EnthusiasmGlowOrange Is the New Black and Veep.

Winners will be announced during a Jan. 21 telecast hosted by Kristen Bell. Morgan Freeman will be presented with the awards' lifetime achievement honour.

Kristen Bell, who appears in the Bad Moms films and TV's The Good Place, will host the SAG Awards on Jan. 21. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press)

Nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards

Life achievement award: Morgan Freeman


Actor: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name; James Franco, The Disaster Artist; Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out; Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour; Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, ESQ.

Actress: Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul; Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Margot Robbie, I, Tonya; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird.

Supporting actor: Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes; Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water; Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Supporting actress: Mary J. Blige, Mudbound; Hong Chau, Downsizing; Holly Hunter, The Big Sick; Allison Janney, I, Tonya; Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird.

Cast: The Big Sick; Get Out; Lady Bird; Mudbound; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.


Actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective; Jeff Daniels, Godless; Robert De Niro, Wizard of Lies; Geoffrey Rush, Genius; Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies.

Actress in a TV movie or miniseries: Laura Dern, Big Little Lies; Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies; Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette And Joan; Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette And Joan; Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies.

Actor in a drama series: Jason Bateman, Ozark; Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; David Harbour, Stranger Things; Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul.

Actress in a drama series: Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things; Claire Foy, The Crown; Laura Linney, Ozark; Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale; Robin Wright, House of Cards.

Actor in a comedy series: Anthony Anderson, black-ish; Aziz Ansari, Master of None; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm; Sean Hayes, Will & Grace; William H. Macy, Shameless; Marc Maron, Glow.

Actress in a comedy series: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black; Alison Brie, Glow; Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie.

Ensemble in a drama series: The Crown; Game of Thrones; The Handmaid's Tale; Stranger Things; This is Us.

Ensemble in a comedy series: Black-ish; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Glow; Orange is the New Black; Veep.