Manchester by the Sea topples La La Land with more SAG Award nominations

La La Land may have hit all the right notes for the Golden Globes, but the Screen Actors Guild sung a different tune on Wednesday, when Kenneth Lonergan’s New England-set family drama Manchester by the Sea picked up the most nominations.

Its leading four nods included best ensemble cast, best actor for Casey Affleck and best supporting performances for Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges.

Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale Moonlight and Denzel Washington’s August Wilson adaptation Fences followed with three each, including ensemble. They’ll be competing with the fact-based NASA crowd-pleaser Hidden Figures and the family drama Captain Fantastic.

Shut out of the coveted ensemble award was Damien Chazelle’s candy-coloured musical La La Land, which scored nominations only for its leads, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Sophia Bush and Common announced the nominees early Wednesday morning in West Hollywood, California.

In the past, SAG nominees have served as helpful predictors of who will land nominations in the four Oscar acting categories.

While some categories looked generally as expected, like the supporting actress nods for Williams, Fences’ Viola Davis, Moonlight’s Naomie Harris, Lion’s Nicole Kidman and Hidden Figures’ Octavia Spencer, others were quite surprising.

In the lead actress category, Annette Bening failed to pick up a nomination for 20th Century Women. Bening had been an assumed lock for an Oscar nomination and had been considered a top contender against front-runners Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Stone (La La Land), both of whom were recognised.

Instead, SAG nominated Emily Blunt for the adapted thriller The Girl on the Train, which scored tepid reviews from critics and had not been seen as a major awards contender. Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Amy Adams (Arrival) were also nominated.

Lead actors nominated were Affleck, Gosling, Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) and Denzel Washington (Fences).

On the supporting side for actors, Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali continues to dominate the category with another nomination. He’ll be competing against Manchester’s Hedges, Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Dev Patel for Lion and Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins.

Also missing were nominations for Jeff Nichols’ fact-based civil rights film Loving and its leads Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton, as well as for French actress Isabelle Huppert, who has won many of the critics’ awards for her performance in the edgy Elle.

On the television side, series newcomers The Crown, Westworld and Stranger Things all picked up three nominations each, alongside Emmys favorite The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Game of Thrones. Both Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown will be up against one another in the same acting category for Netflix’s Stranger Things.

The streaming service utterly dominated television nominations with 17 in total, followed by HBO’s 13 and, finally, a broadcast network — ABC – with a distant five.

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will take place on January 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

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