“Manchester by the Sea” earned four nominations at Wednesday’s announcement of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, more than any other film and twice that of “La La Land,” the movie widely expected to win best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Casey Affleck, who plays a solitary handyman trying to care for his teenage nephew in “Manchester by the Sea,” took away a nod for best actor, while his supporting castmates Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges also earned nominations. The film is also in contention for best ensemble cast.
The winning film in that category is sometimes cited as a predictor of the Academy Award winner for best picture. Over the past 10 years, the SAG Award for ensemble cast has predicted the best picture Oscar six times. “La La Land,” however, is a non-ensemble film with essentially just two actors, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who both earned SAG nominations. Though “La La Land” may not be in contention for the top SAG Award, it could still triumph at the Oscars.
Other films now competing for best ensemble cast are the adaptation “Fences,” which also picked up a nod for its director-star, Denzel Washington; and “Hidden Figures,” whose star Octavia Spencer received a supporting actress nomination for her performance as a 1960s NASA mathematician. Two smaller but critically lauded films, “Captain Fantastic” and “Moonlight,” rounded out the ensemble category.
As expected, Natalie Portman was nominated for her performance as Jacqueline Kennedy in the film “Jackie,” though she’ll be competing against a surprise contender, Emily Blunt, who played an alcoholic in the critically panned thriller “Girl on the Train.” Hugh Grant, widely praised for his comedic turn in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” took away a supporting actor nod for that film. Mahershala Ali, an actor on the rise, picked up acting nods for supporting roles in both “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight.”
Among the films snubbed by the SAG Awards were Clint Eastwood’s “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks as the airline pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, and Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” about Jesuit priests trying to spread Christianity through 17th century Japan.
The SAG Awards will be announced Jan. 29 and will air on TBS and TNT.