by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The film "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" led the nominations for the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards announced Wednesday.
Early in the morning, the stars were shining at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood in the western U.S. city of Los Angeles as the Screen Actor Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) released its official nominations.
On the film side, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" stood out with four nominations, including best ensemble, followed by "Lady Bird" with three, while on the TV side, the popular shows "Big Little Lies," "Stranger Things" and "Glow" tied for the most nominations with four each.
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," a dark comedy crime film directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage, follows a mother who takes matters into her own hands after local police are unable to find a likely suspect in her daughter's murder. She purchases three highly visible billboards to call public attention to the unsolved crime -- with unforeseen consequences.
Other nominees for best ensemble were the comedy drama "Lady Bird," the horror hit "Get Out," the period drama "Mudbound" and the romantic comedy "The Big Sick."
Diversity was a celebrated theme, as "The Big Sick" nabbed two nominations. "Mudbound" also had two nominations, including a best supporting actress for multi-talented Mary J. Blige and a best cast nomination.
The horror thriller "Get Out" garnered a best lead actor award for newcomer Daniel Kaluuya and a best cast nod as well, while Hong Chau received a best supporting actress nomination for "Downsizing." A perennial favorite, Denzel Washington, won best lead actor for his stellar performance in "Roman J. Israel, Esq."
Gary Oldman and James Franco both got nods for best lead actor for their superlative work in "The Darkest Hour" and "The Disaster Artist" respectively, while Woody Harrelson and Steve Carell stood out as best supporting actors for "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" and "Battle of the Sexes," respectively.
Judi Dench won the best lead actress award for "Victoria and Abdul," as did Sally Hawkins for "The Shape of Water" and Frances McDormand for "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri."
"Big Little Lies" stars -- Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern -- kept it all in the family, pulling in a trio of best actress in a limited series nominations, while Millie Bobby Brown, Elisabeth Moss and Claire Foy will be duking it out to see who will be crowned for best lead actress in a drama series.
Robin Wright, stepping in to lead the hit series "House of Cards" in the wake of Kevin Spacey's sexual harassment scandal, also received a special vote of confidence with her nomination for best lead actress in a drama series.
Not surprisingly, Netflix raked in the most nominations, with an eat-your-heart-out 19 nominations, while HBO nabbed second place with a no-slouch-either 12.
SAG-AFTRA also revealed that as an act of solidarity with the many female artists now finding the courage to speak out against abuse in the entertainment industry, the 2018 SAG Awards would use all-female announcers this year.
"The SAG Awards, year in and year out, celebrate real-world, ageless women, not the stereotypes some people think audiences want to see," SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris told Xinhua.
SAG-AFTRA, an international labor union formed by the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012, represents 100,000 film and television actors and background performers around the world. Their annual SAG Awards is the only awards ceremony where actors are judged exclusively by their own peers.
Jason George ("Grey's Anatomy"), an SAG Awards Committee member, told Xinhua: "To win an SAG award given to actors by other actors is one of the highest honors we can get. They know what goes into crafting a great performance. So when they say, 'you deserve this for giving one of the best performances of the year,' it brings a tear to your eye."
The 24th annual SAG Awards, hosted by Kristen Bell, will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Jan. 21, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/5:00 p.m. Pacific (0100 GMT, Jan. 22).