SAG Award surprises Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem and Maggie Smith (Photo: Nu Image/Columbia/Fox Searchlight)
"Les Miserables," "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook" all got a big boost from the Screen Actors Guild this morning with four nominations each, while "Argo," "The Sessions," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Skyfall" followed with two apiece. "Zero Dark Thirty" stumbled with a single nomination for Jessica Chastain, who currently remains the Best Actress frontrunner.
But SAG, as its known, certainly put their own spin on the awards season in a few game-changing nominations, like their backing of Nicole Kidman for "Precious" director Lee Daniels' box-office bust "The Paperboy," and the recognition for Javier Bardem's over-the-top villain in the blockbuster "Skyfall." The actress with the biggest boost? Maggie Smith, who earned Best Supporting recognition for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" on the movie side, and for "Downton Abbey" on TV (and both productions made the important best ensemble race). All told, Dame Maggie ended up with four nominations. Not bad for a septuagenarian!
• Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams were not in the running for "The Master," while co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman made the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role category.
• SAG overlooked Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio in a "Django Unchained" shut out
• Neither Russell Crowe nor Eddie Redmayne of "Les Miserables" made the best supporting actor circle -- although they share in the recognition for the ensemble in the Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture category.
• Child star Quvenzhane Wallis, considered by some to be potentially the youngest female Oscar contender, was also overlooked by the group for "The Beasts of the Southern Wild"
• "Zero Dark Thirty" did not make the competitive Best Ensemble category and earned only one nomination for current Oscar frontrunner Jessica Chastain.
• No nomination "Amour" for Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant
• "Cloud Atlas" is DOA even by SAG standards, which did not give a cast that included Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant playing multiple roles in Best Ensemble.
• Nicole Kidman believed in her role as Charlotte Bless well beyond the sell-by date for her shocking part in "The Paperboy." Clearly the guild recognized an actress taking enormous risks by giving her a Supporting nomination.
• Javier Bardem played one of the scariest, sexiest villains in recent Bond memory in "Skyfall" and SAG paid the Spanish star his due in the supporting category.
• "The Sessions" came out strong with nominations for John Hawkes in the competitive Best Actor field, and his co-star Helen Hunt in Supporting for her meaty role as a sexual surrogate.
• You can't keep Dame Helen Mirren down and even though responses for "Hitchcock" were tepid -- and Sir Anthony Hopkins is MIA in this race -- she's in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Alma Reville, aka Mrs. Hitchcock.
• Naomi Watts is also in the game for "The Impossible," a grueling role as a wife and mother struggling her way through the wreckage of the 2004 tsunami to reunite her family and ease the pain of those around her. Does this put her in the Oscar nominee five?
The ceremony will be simulcast live on Sunday, January 27, 2013 on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (ET)/5p.m. (PT). Stay tuned for tomorrow, when Yahoo! Movies will carry coverage of the Golden Globe nominations.