By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 14, 2011 at 9:44AM
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
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