LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Trumbo," the movie about the 1947 Hollywood blacklist, led the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations on Wednesday in a diverse field that hinted at likely Oscar contenders but snubbed presumed front-runners "The Martian" and new Jennifer Lawrence drama "Joy.""Trumbo," about a group of screenwriters and directors shunned for their associations to the Communist Party, earned three nominations, including the guild's top prize for best ensemble cast.
Other nominees for best ensemble include Netflix African war drama "Beasts of No Nation," Wall Street comedy "The Big Short," Catholic Church abuse probe "Spotlight" and rap movie "Straight Outta Compton."
Adam McKay, director of "The Big Short" said he was impressed by the range of topics covered by the nominations.
"You're talking about the advent of hip hop, child soldiers, the sex scandal in Catholic church and malfeasance in Wall Street - I'm pretty proud of that for Hollywood," he told Reuters.
The top winners at the SAG awards, chosen by more than 100,000 actors, often go on to win Oscars. The list was announced a day ahead of Thursday's Golden Globe nominations and January's nominations for the Oscars.
"Trumbo" star Bryan Cranston earned a best actor nod for his role as Dalton Trumbo, while Helen Mirren got a best supporting actress nomination for playing gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Mirren was also nominated for best actress for "Woman in Gold."
Other lead movie actors nods went to Johnny Depp for "Black Mass," Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant," Michael Fassbender for "Steve Jobs" and Eddie Redmayne for playing a transgender pioneer in "The Danish Girl."
Among the women, Cate Blanchett was nominated for the lesbian drama "Carol," Brie Larson for psychological thriller "Room," Saoirse Ronan for Irish immigrant tale "Brooklyn" and Sarah Silverman for "I Smile Back."
But Oscar-winner Lawrence was absent from the list, along with David O. Russell's new film "Joy" and Matt Damon's box-office hit space adventure "The Martian."
Quentin Tarantino's Western drama "The Hateful Eight," and the football head injury movie "Concussion" and its star Will Smith also came away empty-handed.
The nominations of "Beasts of No Nation" and "Straight Outta Compton," which both feature black male casts, came at a time when Hollywood movies have been criticized for lack of racial diversity.
"Beasts" actor Idris Elba landed a best supporting actor nod, but no women of color made it into either the best actress or supporting actress categories in film.
"I’m just floored and humbled right now. It’s such a huge honor to be recognized by my friends and peers," said Elba, who also earned a best leading TV drama actor nod for "Luther."
In the television categories, medieval fantasy saga "Game Of Thrones" and thriller "Homeland" led the way with three nominations each. British period drama "Downton Abbey," political thriller "House of Cards" and advertising drama "Mad Men" were also nominated for best drama ensemble cast.
The winners will be announced in Los Angeles on Jan. 30.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jill Serjeant, Alistair Bell and David Gregorio