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by Peter Knegt
December 14, 2011 9:44 AM
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'The Help' Leads Surprising SAG Award Nominations

Viola Davis in The Help
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominations were this morning, with Tate Taylor's 'The Help' leading the pack with four nominations in total: best cast, and individual nods for Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer.

While that was expected, there were many surprises this morning. The nominations propelled many dark horses in the Oscar race, and also dampened the chances of many thought as secured nominees.

The most surprising omissions were Michael Fassbender ("Shame"), Albert Brooks ("Drive"), Vanessa Redgrave ("Coriolanus") and Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"), all of whom most were predicting to show up here.

In their place came the likes of Armie Hammer ("J. Edgar"), Jonah Hill ("Moneyball"), Janet McTeer ("Albert Nobbs") and - most surprisingly - Demian Bichir ("A Better Life"), who managed to sneak into a very crowded best actor felt (beating out Fassbender as well as Gary Oldman, Woody Harrelson and Michael Shannon).

Beyond that, "Bridesmaids" actress Melissa McCarthy went from dark horse to likely Oscar nominee with an inclusion here, both in the supporting actress category and part of the nominated "Bridesmaids" ensemble. The latter was another big surprise, particularly because it beat out the likes of "Hugo" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (both of which failed to receive a single nod).

Also interesting is the fact that thanks to the cast category, France's first lady (and "Midnight in Paris" co-star) Carla Bruni is a SAG nominee.

Last year, the SAGs perfectly mirrored Oscar, with Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo all going home winners, and "The King's Speech" taking the award for best performance by a cast. They also went 17 for 20 on the acting nominations themselves. Indiewire's current Oscar predictions can be found here.

Complete list of announced nominees below. Check out a full list of all awards announcements so far this year here.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Artist


The Descendants

The Help

Midnight in Paris

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

Leonardo diCaprio, J. Edgar

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis, The Help

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Armie Hammer, J.Edgar

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
The Adjustment Bureau

Cowboys and Aliens

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Transfromers: Dark of the Moon

X-Men: First Class

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  • Kaina | December 15, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    Descendants, filmed in Hawaii with multiple nominations! YaY George Clooney

  • Steph | December 14, 2011 11:51 PMReply

    Dissapointed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt isnt being recognized for his work in 50/50... But then again there ARE the Golden Globes... Ill keep my fingers crossed

  • Ronnie D. | December 14, 2011 2:28 PMReply

    It really sucks that no one especially from shame, especially Michael Fassbender who gives a once in a lifetime performance, wasn't recognized.

  • Laurie Mann | December 14, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    Nice to see Nick Nolte be noticed for Warrior (where he gave an outstanding performance), but it's too bad John Lithgow's superb performance in the Planet of the Apes reboot didn't get a nod. Also agree it's too bad that Shailene Woodley didn't get a SAG nod.

  • Ronnie D. | December 14, 2011 2:27 PM

    I think it's great that she didn't get a nod; that movie's been getting too much undeserved praise.

  • shelly | December 14, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    Shame is so mediocre. It's sad it takes the industry to be the one to notice it and not the supposedly smarter indie critics.

  • Steven Nash | December 14, 2011 11:35 AMReply

    While I might have suggested a few different possibilities, I think the SAG nominating committee did a most excellent job with their choices.

  • Laurie Mann | December 14, 2011 11:32 AMReply

    Stunt Ensemble? Really? And this isn't an MTV movie award, but from SAG?

  • kes601 | December 14, 2011 10:58 AMReply

    Disappointed Shailene Woodley didn't get nominated. She carried The Descendants.

  • Aa. | December 14, 2011 10:20 AMReply

    I see what you did there, VCQ.

  • VCQ | December 14, 2011 9:55 AMReply

    Shame on SAG for not recognizing the powerful performances of Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan for SHAME! A travesty, indeed!

  • Aa. | December 14, 2011 10:20 AM

    I see what you did there.