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INTO THE WILD Leads Screen Actors Guild Nominations


Thursday, December 20----------INTO THE WILD, director Sean Penn’s adaptation of the true story of a young man who ditches civilization on a spiritual quest into the wilds of the Alaskan wilderness, dominated the film nominations for the 14th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, after being completely snubbed by the Golden Globes and most film critics prizes. The film, which is adapted from the non-fiction bestseller by Jon Krakauer, has been nominated for Best Ensemble Cast, with rising star Emile Hirsch getting a nod as Best Actor, veteran thespian Hal Holbrook honored as Best Supporting Actress and surprise choice Catherine Keener as Best Supporting Actress. The SAG Awards, which exclusively honor acting in film and television, has as its highest prize the Best Ensemble Cast prize, with such films as 3:10 TO YUMA, AMERICAN GANGSTER, HAIRSPRAY and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN being honored for the contributions of their cast members. The actual Awards Ceremony, which will take place at the Shrine Exposition Center on January 27th and broadcast that same night on cable networks TNT and TBS, is one of the few untroubled events of the current awards season. This is all due to the on-going Writers Guild strike, which has not granted waivers for participation of its members for the other awards shows on the docket (including the Golden Globes, Oscars, Peoples Choice Awards). There are now open questions about whether celebrity presenters, who are members of the sister Screen Actors Guild, will cross picket lines and appear at these highly visible industry events. The strike could possibly be resolved in time for the February Oscar bash, but the Golden Globe Awards, which take place in only a few weeks, remains an open question (who will cross picket lines? Who will appear?). 

George ClooneyGeorge ClooneyBut back to the nominations….Emile Hirsch, who at 21 is one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated for Best Actor honors, will be competing against George Clooney, who plays a troubled legal fixer in MICHAEL CLAYTON; Daniel-Day Lewis, as a ruthless oil baron in THERE WILL BE BLOOD; Ryan Gosling, who romances a real, not-so-live doll in LARS AND THE REAL GIRL; and Viggo Mortensen, who goes mano-a-mano with the Russian mob in EASTERN PROMISES. In the dramatic film actress category, the SAG nominating panel has stayed local to Cate Blanchett, having bestowed 11 nominations on her over the past years, including her first SAG Award in 1999 for ELIZABETH. Blanchett is honored twice this year, for Best Actress for the ELIZABETH sequel, ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, as well as Best Supporting Actress for her incarnation of the tuned-in-dropped-out Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ opus I’M NOT THERE. Blanchett is joined by current frontrunner (based on various film critics prize nods) Julie Christie, as a wife who loses her memory in the drama AWAY FROM HER; French acress Marion Cotillard, who reincarnates the French chanteuse Edith Piaf in LA VIE EN ROSE; Angelina Jolie as the crusading wife of doomed journalist Daniel Pearl in A MIGHTY HEART; and Ellen Page, as the wise-cracking, pregnant teenager in JUNO.

Ruby DeeRuby DeeRounding out the film acting categories in the Best Supporting Actor race are veteran stage and screen actor Hal Holbrook as a lonely retiree in INTO THE WILD; Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, who represent opposite sides of the law and the moral universe in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN; Tom Wilkinson as the lawyer who suffers a breakdown of conscience in MICHAEL CLAYTON and Casey Affleck, for his career-renewing turn as the sidekick and eventual executioner in THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD. Aside from Catherine Keener, an indie favorite, who is nominated for the Best Supporting Actress prize for her role as a hippie “earth mother” who has learned some hard lessons about life on the road, the race includes Cate Blanchett (I’M NOT THERE); veteran actress Ruby Dee as the crime lord mother of Denzel Washington in AMERICAN GANGSTER; Amy Ryan as a mom who loses her baby in the Ben Affleck-directed GONE BABY GONE; and Tilda Swinton, as a manipulating corporate attorney who must put a cap on her human emotion in the thriller MICHAEL CLAYTON.  

For a full list of SAG nominees in both film and television, visit:

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor


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