Hollywood’s awards season is shaping up to be a declaration of independence.
Five indies – “Boyhood,” “Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” – earned the top movie nominations Wednesday for the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
They’re competing in the category for best ensemble in a motion picture award – SAG’s equivalent of the best picture of the year. Though some awards have already been handed out by critics groups this season, the SAG nominations kicks off the high-profile series of honors that will culminate with the Academy Awards in February.
The race for Oscar gold may be further clarified Thursday morning with the Golden Globe nominations.
“Birdman” – its full title is “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” – earned the most nominations, with four. Besides best ensemble, Michael Keaton received a nomination for male lead actor, and Edward Norton and Emma Stone earned nominations in the supporting categories.
Also receiving nominations for male lead actor were Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), while Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”) earned female lead actor nominations .
On the TV side, drama nominations went to such series as “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards” while “The Big Bang Theory,” “Veep,” “Modern Family” and “Orange Is the New Black” received ensemble nods for comedy series.
The SAG Awards have become one of the leading bellwethers for the Academy Awards. Earlier this year, the winners of SAG’s four top acting awards – Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Lupita Nyong'o (“12 Years a Slave”) – all went on to receive the Academy Award for their performances.
The SAG Awards will air live Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. on TBS and TNT from the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles. Debbie Reynolds will be honored during the ceremony with a life achievement award.