"Into the Wild" leads surprising SAG nominees
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sean Penn's wilderness drama "Into the Wild" topped a surprising list of Screen Actors Guild nominees on Thursday with four nods overall, including best ensemble cast and best actor for its star Emile Hirsch.
Absent from the widely watched group of nominations for SAG's top honor, best film cast, were romance "Atonement" and musical "Sweeney Todd," leaving award watchers scratching their heads as they tried to handicap Hollywood's Oscar sweepstakes.
"SAG pulled some major surprises here. This really shakes up the race," said Pete Hammond, a columnist for awards Web site TheEnvelope.com.
Hirsch was nominated for his portrayal of a young man on a journey of self-discovery to Alaska, and Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener earned supporting actor and actress nominations for "Into the Wild," which Penn directed.
Crime thriller "No Country for Old Men" and legal drama "Michael Clayton" earned three nominations each. "No Country" was nominated for best film cast, while co-stars Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones garnered supporting actor nominations.
"Clayton" snagged a best actor nod for George Clooney, who played the troubled title character, and nominations for co-stars Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton in the supporting roles. But it, too, was snubbed from the list for best cast.
Joining "Into the Wild" and "No Country" in that category were three other films: musical "Hairspray" and crime drama "American Gangster" and western "3:10 to Yuma," which had been viewed as largely out of the awards race only to gallop back.
"Yuma" stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster in a tale of old West bank robbers. The movie was a box office hit, yet none of the actors were nominated individually. Continued...