The Catholic school drama "Doubt" led contenders today for the Screen Actors Guild Awards with five nominations, including honors for Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.
The late Heath Ledger also earned a supporting-actor nomination, whose maniacal turn as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" has made him an Academy Awards front-runner. The Batman blockbuster also had a nomination for best stunt ensemble.
Streep has a lead-actress nomination, while Hoffman, Adams and Davis are competing in supporting categories for "Doubt," a war-of-wills tale between an old-school nun and a progressive priest.
"Doubt" also has a nomination for overall cast performance, along with the romantic fantasy "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the Richard Nixon saga "Frost/Nixon," the gay-rights drama "Milk" and the poor-boy-makes-good tale "Slumdog Millionaire."
Kate Winslet grabbed two nominations, best actress for the domestic drama "Revolutionary Road" and supporting actress for the Holocaust-themed story "The Reader."
Other best-actress nominees were: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"; and Melissa Leo, "Frozen River."
Nominated for best actor were: Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"; Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"; Sean Penn, "Milk"; Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; and Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler."
The 15th annual SAG Awards will air live on TNT and TBS Jan. 25, four weeks before the Academy Awards.
Last January's SAG ceremony took place during a writers' strike that affected other Hollywood honors, including the Golden Globes, which were canceled. The guild awards come amid fresh labor strife, with SAG leaders now threatening a strike as negotiations with producers over a new actors contract have stalled.
A strike-authorization vote sought by SAG President Alan Rosenberg has caused a bitter divide among guild members, with top-name actors taking sides. Actors supporting the strike-authorization vote include Mel Gibson, Holly Hunter and Laura Dern, while Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Cameron Diaz are among those opposed.
While nominees include actors from both sides, Rosenberg said that on the night of the show, he hopes "we can put all our differences aside and focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us. I don't think there will be a pall over the awards show. It's always a great event of actors celebrating actors."
The SAG picks lined up much the same as last week's nominations for the Golden Globes, the second-biggest Hollywood film honors after the Academy Awards. The most notable snub was Winslet's "Revolutionary Road" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, who had a Globe nomination for dramatic actor but was overlooked by SAG.
The same thing happened the last time Winslet and DiCaprio starred together. SAG nominations for 1997 included a best-actress slot for Winslet in "Titanic," but DiCaprio was left out of the best-actor lineup.
Oscar nominations that year also excluded DiCaprio, while Winslet earned a spot in the best-actress field.
Joining Adams, Davis and Winslet among supporting-actress picks were Penelope Cruz for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and Taraji P. Henson for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Henson also shared in the cast nomination for "Benjamin Button" and a cast nomination among TV dramas for "Boston Legal."
Besides Ledger and Hoffman, supporting-actor nominees included Josh Brolin, "Milk"; Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"; and Dev Patel, "Slumdog Millionaire."
SAG Awards recipients often go on to win Academy Awards. Some years, all four of the top SAG winners later take home Oscars for the same roles, though last year, the guild went only two-for-four.
Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor at SAG and the Oscars for "There Will Be Blood" and Javier Bardem received both supporting-actor prizes for "No Country for Old Men."
Julie Christie won best actress at SAG for "Away From Her" while the Oscar went to Marion Cotillard for "La Vie En Rose." Ruby Dee earned the supporting-actress honor from SAG for "American Gangster," but Tilda Swinton won the Oscar for "Michael Clayton."
Film and TV nominees were chosen by two groups of 2,100 people randomly chosen from the guild's 120,000 members. The guild's full membership is eligible to vote for winners.
The show will include the guild's life-achievement award for James Earl Jones.