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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 07:29 GMT
Screen actors back Brokeback film
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain has already won critics' awards
Brokeback Mountain has gained further momentum in the build up to the Oscars, after being shortlisted for four Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards.

The cowboy romance was nominated for outstanding cast, best actor for Heath Ledger and supporting awards for Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams.

Its film-maker Ang Lee has also been nominated for the Directors Guild of America's best director prize.

The SAG shortlist also includes Capote and Crash, chasing three awards each.

Dame Judi Dench was nominated for best lead actress for Mrs Henderson Presents.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 29 January, the day after the Directors Guild of America's ceremony. This year's Academy Awards take place on 5 March.

'It generates excitement'

The Directors Guild also shortlisted George Clooney for Good Night and Good Luck, Paul Haggis for Crash, Bennett Miller for Capote, and Stephen Spielberg for Munich.

Ang Lee said he was humbled by Brokeback Mountain's early success.

"You work hard getting it made and now it pays off because it generates excitement and becomes a social and cultural thing," he told the Reuters news agency.

He also paid tribute to actors Ledger and Gyllenhaal, calling them "good and brave and wonderful to work with".

Late author

Capote earned a best actor nomination for Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of the late author Truman Capote.

It was also nominated for the cast award and a supporting actress prize for Catherine Keener.

Crash, about racial tensions in Los Angeles, was nominated for the cast award plus supporting actor prizes for Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon.

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench has a best lead actress nomination
Ledger and Hoffman compete with Cinderella Man's Russell Crowe, Walk the Line's Joaquin Phoenix and David Strathairn in Good Night and Good Luck in the lead actor category.

Memoirs of a Geisha star Ziyi Zhang and Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line compete with Dame Judi, among others, in the lead actress category.

Fellow UK star Rachel Weisz has been shortlisted for a supporting actress prize for her role in thriller The Constant Gardener.

Good Night and Good Luck and drug dealer tale Hustle and Flow round out the outstanding cast nominations.

Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
The Constant Gardener's Rachel Weisz gained one nomination
Television categories

In the television categories Boston Legal is chasing four prizes, including best male comedy actor nominations for James Spader and ex-Star Trek star William Shatner.

Desperate Housewives has earned two nominations, including female comedy actor prize for Felicity Huffman.

Both series compete with Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everybody Loves Raymond and My Name is Earl in the best comedy ensemble category.

Lost, Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Grey's Anatomy and The Closer are shortlisted in the best drama ensemble section.

Former child star Shirley Temple Black will be given a lifetime achievement award during the ceremony at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.




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