BY: DAVID GERMAIN
LOS ANGELES – The British monarchy drama “The King’s Speech” and the boxing tale “The Fighter” led the Screen Actors Guild Awards with four nominations each Thursday, among them honors for Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Helena Bonham Carter.
While “The King’s Speech” star Firth was among best-actor nominees, “The Fighter” star Mark Wahlberg missed out in that category. His co-stars Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo all earned supporting nominations, along with Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush for “The King’s Speech.”
Firth and Bale have emerged as front-runners this Academy Awards season.
Other nominees include best-actress favorites Annette Bening for the lesbian-family tale “The Kids Are All Right” and Natalie Portman for the psychosexual thriller “Black Swan.” They are up against Nicole Kidman for the grieving-parent drama “Rabbit Hole”; Jennifer Lawrence for the Ozarks crime yarn “Winter’s Bone”; and Hilary Swank for the legal saga “Conviction.”
Along with Firth, best-actor nominees are Jeff Bridges for the Western “True Grit”; Robert Duvall for the backwoods romp “Get Low”; Jesse Eisenberg for the Facebook drama “The Social Network”; and James Franco for the survival story “127 Hours.”
“The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech” are competing for SAG’s overall cast performance prize, along with “Black Swan,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Social Network.”
Besides Adams, Bonham Carter and Leo, supporting-actress contenders are Mila Kunis for “Black Swan” and Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit.”
Bale and Rush are joined by supporting-actor nominees John Hawkes for “Winter’s Bone”; Jeremy Renner for the heist thriller “The Town”; and Mark Ruffalo for “The Kids Are All Right.”
Among television contenders, “Modern Family” led with four comedy nominations, including Ty Burrell and Ed O’Neill for best actor, Sofia Vergara for best actress, and a cast honor.
“Temple Grandin” earned three nominations for best actress in a TV movie or miniseries, for Claire Danes, Catherine O’Hara and Julia Ormond.
The SAG Awards will be handed out Jan. 30. The lineup helps solidify the Oscar picture for some front-runners, such as Firth and Bale, who have ranked at the top in their categories on awards-watchers’ lists. Academy Awards nominations come out Jan. 25, with the Oscar ceremony following on Feb. 27.
Yet the SAG choices muddy things a bit, as well, as the guild’s lineup has some notable departures from the Golden Globes, whose nominations came out Tuesday.
While Bridges and 14-year-old newcomer Steinfeld snagged SAG nominations for “True Grit,” the film was shut out entirely at the Globes.
Wahlberg made the Globes cut but not SAG’s. Likewise, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling earned lead-acting nominations at the Globes for the marital drama “Blue Valentine” but were shut out at SAG.
SAG prizes often line up with eventual Oscar winners. All four guild recipients for 2009 won the same honors at the Oscars — lead performers Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side” and Bridges for “Crazy Heart” and supporting players Mo’Nique for “Precious” and Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds.”
The guild’s cast prize last time went to “Inglourious Basterds,” while “The Hurt Locker” won the best-picture Oscar.
Film and TV nominees were chosen by two groups of 2,100 people each, randomly chosen from the guild’s roughly 100,000 members. The guild’s full membership is eligible to vote for winners.
The show will include the guild’s life-achievement award for Ernest Borgnine.
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