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banner Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 15:29 GMT
Actors' nods confuse Oscars race
Ted Danson and Marisa Tomei r
Ted Danson and Marisa Tomei read out the SAG nods
By entertainment correspondent Peter Bowes in Hollywood

The race for this year's Oscars remains confused despite another list of indicators in the form of nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The actors' union has succeeded in focusing attention on two films which lead the nominees - Ron Howard's biopic, A Beautiful Mind and the dark drama, In The Bedroom.

The stars of both films are nominated for the guild's top awards. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly are up for outstanding performance honours for A Beautiful Mind.

Meanwhile Sissy Spacek and her British co-star Tom Wilkinson are in contention for In The Bedroom.

Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind
Connelly: Outstanding performance

These nominations came as no surprise to most Hollywood insiders and largely reflect the Golden Globe honours already dished out by the Foreign Press Association.

But the guild has also thrown a few new names into the ring and omitted to mention several actors previously thought to be among the favourites.

Split votes

The unexpected nods go to Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning for I Am Sam, Life As A House stars Kevin Kline and Hayden Christensen and Cameron Diaz from Vanilla Sky.

Moulin Rouge star Nicole Kidman, who went home with a best actress prize at the Golden Globes, failed to win a nomination, as did Ali star, Will Smith.

Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry in Monster's Ball
Thornton: A surprise omission for Monster's Ball

Billy Bob Thornton, who impressed many critics by his performance in Monster's Ball, also missed out.

Tom O'Neil, author of the book, Movie Awards, said: "The shut out of Billy Bob Thornton and Nicole Kidman was probably because they had too many great movies.

"The votes split and they ended up getting nominated for none of them." Mr O'Neil explained to America's E! Entertainment Television that he thought Kidman had talked herself out of a nomination. 'She had been telling journalists that she wants to be nominated for The Others. You don't win awards for horror movies," he said.


British acting talent features in a number of categories. Dame Judi Dench is nominated for both her leading role as the late Iris Murdoch in Iris and her supporting role in The Shipping News.

Jim Broadbent has won much praise for Iris

Jim Broadbent, who is in contention for his portrayal of Iris Murdoch's husband, is among the favourites, having scooped the equivalent supporting actor award at the Golden Globes.

"He was not only brilliant in Iris but also in Moulin Rouge," said Katy Haber, the Managing Director of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles.

The Screen Actors Guild awards are considered a very reliable indicator of which actors are likely to go home with a golden statue on Academy Awards night.

Like the Oscars acting categories, the guild's winners are also chosen by fellow actors.

But the guild has less influence on the outcome of the best picture race - which is decided by Motion Picture Academy members from all wings of the entertainment industry.

In that department, it is all still to play for. "There are not that many films that people are crazy about," said Ms Haber.

"I think it's a bland year. It's a luke warm year for really great movies," she added.

See also:

29 Jan 02 | Film
SAG awards nominations in full
06 Jan 02 | Film
Tolkien film wins top award
24 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
Bedroom brings emotional wake-up
17 Dec 01 | Film
Bedroom drama tipped for Oscar
23 Jan 02 | Reviews
Crowe's beautiful film
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