SAG's 'Wild' bunch


"Into the Wild," Sean Penn's study of a young man who ditches civilization for a life on the road, dominates the film nominations for the 14th annual SAG Awards, which were announced Thursday morning.

It scored four noms, including shout-outs for its ensemble cast, Emile Hirsch as best actor, Hal Holbrook as best supporting actor and Catherine Keener as best supporting actress.

In the category of outstanding performance by a cast of a motion picture, "Wild" faces off against "3:10 to Yuma," "American Gangster," "Hairspray" and "No Country for Old Men." SAG appears to favor films that have spent weeks, if not months, in release, ignoring such titles as "Atonement," "Sweeney Todd" and "The Great Debaters," which are just hitting theaters.

On the TV side, "30 Rock," "The Sopranos" and "Ugly Betty" lead the pack with three nominations apiece.

"30 Rock" and "Ugly Betty" were nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, where they will compete with "Desperate Housewives," "Entourage" and "The Office." In addition to "The Sopranos," the nominees for best dramatic ensemble are "Boston Legal," "The Closer," "Grey's Anatomy" and rookie series "Mad Men."

Because the WGA has granted its union ally SAG a waiver to produce the awards show — which will be broadcast Jan. 27 by TNT and TBS from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles — the SAG Awards promise to be one of the few untroubled spots in an embattled awards season.

"Wild," a Paramount Vantage release, was left in the dust when the nominations for Golden Globes were announced last week — it picked up just two mentions for its score and Eddie Vedder's song "Guaranteed" — but it roared back to life Thursday as Jeanne Tripplehorn and Terrence Howard announced the SAG picks at a predawn news conference at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

"Wild's" Hirsch, who appears to starve himself in the film as he confronts a harsh Alaska winter, scored his first SAG nom and will compete for best dramatic film actor with George Clooney, who plays a troubled legal fixer in "Michael Clayton"; Daniel-Day Lewis, a ruthless oil baron in "There Will Be Blood"; Ryan Gosling, who romances a real, not-so-live doll in "Lars and the Real Girl"; and Viggo Mortensen, who goes mano a mano with the Russian mob in "Eastern Promises."

For dramatic film actress, the SAG nominating panel of 2,100 guild members stayed loyal to Cate Blanchett for again presiding over Elizabethan England in the sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Blanchett, who now has been nominated for SAG Awards 11 times, was first nominated in 1999 for "Elizabeth." She also was nominated this year for supporting actress for making like Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."

In the best actress heat, Blanchett is surrounded by Julie Christie, who drifts off into Alzheimer's in "Away From Her"; Marion Cotillard, who embodies Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose"; Angelina Jolie, who plays another real-life woman, Mariane Pearl, in "A Mighty Heart"; and Ellen Page, who stars as a wisecracking pregnant teen in "Juno."

The best supporting male lineup consists of Holbrook, who appears as a lonely retiree in "Wild"; Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, who represent opposite sides of the law in the same film, "No Country for Old Men"; Casey Affleck, who has a love-hate relationship with a celebrated outlaw in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; and Tom Wilkinson, who suffers a breakdown in "Michael Clayton."

Keener, who teaches Hirsch's character some hard-learned lessons about life on the road in "Wild," is nominated for supporting actress along with Blanchett; Ruby Dee, who plays the crime lord's mom in "American Gangster"; Amy Ryan, who plays another mom caught up in a crisis in "Gone Baby Gone"; and Tilda Swinton, a manipulating corporate attorney in "Michael Clayton."

On the TV side, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, who each have won two SAG Awards as best dramatic actor and actress for their work in "The Sopranos," are again nominated in those categories for the mob series' cut-to-black final season.

Gandolfini is nominated along with Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House") and James Spader ("Boston Legal").

Falco's fellow nominees are Glenn Close ("Damages"), Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace") and Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer").

Comedy series actors nominated are Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Ricky Gervais ("Extras"), Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk").

The comedy series actress lineup will see on-air foils America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams from "Ugly Betty" in a contest that also includes Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?"), Tiny Fey ("30 Rock") and Mary-Louise Pensarker ("Weeds").

Two fellow castmates — Oliver Platt and John Turturro — were nominated for ESPN's Yankees tale "The Bronx Is Burning" in the category of outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries. Other nominees in the category are Michael Keaton ("The Company"), Kevin Kline ("As You Like It") and Sam Shepard ("Ruffian").

The best actress in a TV movie or miniseries resulted in a tie that yielded six nominees: Ellen Burstyn ("Mitch Albom's For One More Day"), Debra Messing ("The Starter Wife"), Anna Paquin ("Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"), Queen Latifah ("Ana") — who also received a nom as part of the "Hairspray" cast — Vanessa Redgrave ("The Fever") and Gena Rowlands ("What If God Were the Sun?").

This year, SAG is introducing two new awards for stunt ensembles.

Nominated for best stunt ensemble in a motion picture are "300," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "I Am Legend," "The Kingdom" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

The TV stunt nominees are "24," "Heroes," "Lost," "Rome" and "The Unit."

Charles Durning will receive SAG's Life Achievement Award.