LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday nominated the performers in "The King's Speech" and "The Fighter" for four awards each, including best cast, boosting the films' chances in Hollywood's Oscar sweepstakes.
Joining those films among nominees for best ensemble cast, which is SAG's top film honor, are the actors in "Black Swan," "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Social Network.
The Screen Actors Guild represents film and television actors and actresses, and each year their awards are closely watched for tips as to which movies and performers may also compete for the Oscars, the film industry's top honors.
"The King's Speech," which tells of the stuttering problems of British King George VI on the eve of World War Two, also picked up SAG nods for Colin Firth as lead actor and Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush in the supporting actress and actor categories, respectively.
Likewise, boxing drama "The Fighter" scored nominations for Christian Bale in the supporting actor category and Amy Adams and Melissa Leo in the supporting actress group.
But in a snub, "Fighter" star Mark Wahlberg was left off the list of contenders for best actor after picking up a Golden Globe nomination earlier this week as a boxer who must overcome family and personal issues on his way to a championship.
Instead, SAG nominated five others for top actor, including Firth, Jeff Bridges in western "True Grit," Robert Duvall for independent film drama "Get Low," James Franco in adventure "127 Hours" and Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network."
After being named as 2010's best movie by several critics groups earlier this month, "Social Network," which tells of the rise of popular website Facebook, picked up just two SAG nominations -- for best ensemble cast and for Eisenberg.
Just behind "King's Speech" and "Fighter" among movies with the most nominations were ballet film "Black Swan" and lesbian family drama "The Kids Are All Right," each with three nods.
"Black Swan" stars Natalie Portman as a ballerina who grows into adulthood when she is given a leading role in "Swan Lake." Portman landed in the category for best actress and, playing her rival, Mila Kunis was placed in the supporting actress group.
"Kids" racked up nods for Annette Bening as best actress playing a mom whose kids locate their sperm donor dad, who is played by Mark Ruffalo. He earned a supporting actor SAG nod.
Joining Bening and Portman among best actress nominees were Nicole Kidman for drama "Rabbit Hole," Hilary Swank in legal film "Conviction," and newcomer Jennifer Lawrence for "Winter's Bone" -- a critical hit among independent films in 2010.
"Winter's Bone" also picked up a nomination for John Hawkes in the supporting actor group. Rounding out that category with Bale, Rush and Ruffalo was Jeremy Renner in "The Town."
The fifth nominee for best supporting actress was Hailee Steinfeld, who portrays a young girl in search of her father's killer in the remake, "True Grit."
After being snubbed at the Golden Globe nominations this week, "True Grit" made something of a comeback in the Oscar race with its SAG nods for Bridges and Steinfeld.
SAG awards are closely watched in the race for Oscars, which are given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in February, because performers make up the largest group of voters among Academy members.
Unlike the Academy, SAG also gives honors in television. In that arena, the best TV drama nominees included newcomer "Boardwalk Empire," and four veteran shows, "Dexter," "Mad Men," "The Closer" and "The Good Wife."
TV comedy nominees were "Glee," "30 Rock," "Modern Family," "The Office" and newcomer "Hot in Cleveland."
The SAG Awards will be given out on January 30 in Los Angeles and televised live on cable networks TNT and TBS.
Editing by Mohammad Zargham