Director Steve McQueen, left, and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor during the filming of "12 Years A Slave."
LOS ANGELES — Steve McQueen’s historic saga “12 Years a Slave” topped the nominations list for 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Wednesday, boosting its Academy Awards prospects with four nominations.
John Wells’ dysfunctional family adaptation “August: Osage County,” which hits theaters Dec. 25 and features an all-star cast including Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, also picked up awards-season momentum with three nominations, including outstanding performance for the cast.
The SAG nominations are one of Hollywood’s first major announcements on the long road to the March 2 Oscars. The Golden Globe nominations will be revealed Thursday morning.
Joining the SAG list for outstanding cast performance are Jean-Marc Vallee’s AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” and the sweeping White House servant tale “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Both films topped the list with three nominations each.
Also nominated for cast performance was David O. Russell’s 1970s con-artist romp “American Hustle.” And the film scored an individual supporting nomination for Jennifer Lawrence.
“12 Years a Slave” also attained individual acting nominations, including male lead for Chiwetel Ejiofor as a displaced free African-American man, Michael Fassbender for supporting actor as a ruthless slave owner and Lupita Nyong’o for female support as a favored fieldworker.
“Osage County” had individual nominations for Streep for female lead as the conflicted matriarch in the adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play, and Roberts as the domineering daughter for supporting female actor.
Additional best-actress nominees included Cate Blanchett as a fallen socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” Sandra Bullock as a brave astronaut in Alfonso Curaon’s lost-in-space odyssey “Gravity,” Judi Dench as a woman in search of her son in “Philomena” and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers in the Disney comedy “Saving Mr. Banks.”
June Squibb, as a spitfire in Alexander Payne’s small town comedy “Nebraska” and Oprah Winfrey, as the bold Gloria Gaines in “The Butler,” also received supporting role noms.
“Dallas Buyers Club” also scored nominations for best actor for Matthew McConaughey as a HIV-positive rodeo-lover and Jared Leto for supporting actor as a transgender.
Forest Whitaker received the lead actor nomination for his portrayal of a long-time White House butler in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”
Others bringing in lead actor nominations included Bruce Dern for his portrayal of an aging dreamer in “Nebraska” and Tom Hanks, who plays the title role in Paul Greengrass’ Somali pirate story.
Ron Howard’s Formula One tale “Rush” brought in two nominations, including stunt ensemble.
Noticeably absent from the list was Spike Jonze’s futuristic computer love story “Her,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, and Martin Scorsese’s stockbroker fete “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which features performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.
Among TV ensemble contenders were HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” PBS’s “Downton Abbey” and Showtime’s “Homeland” for drama and NBC’s “30 Rock,” Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” ABC’s “Modern Family” and HBO’s “Veep” in the comedy category.
The SAG Awards will be presented Jan. 18.
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