Steven Spielberg's historical drama Lincoln, Tom Hooper musical Les Misérables and David O Russell romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook have cemented their positions as Oscars frontrunners following the announcement of nominees for the Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards.
Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president of the US, received a record 13 Critics Choice nominations and garnered four from the Screen Actors Guild, often seen as the most important film awards ceremony after the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Les Misérables, based on the long-running stage musical and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, received 11 Critics Choice nods and another four from the Screen Actors Guild. Silver Linings Playbook, which stars Oscar-tipped Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as neurotic lovers, grabbed 10 Critics Choice nominations and four Screen Actors Guild nods.
Three other films that have been seen as potential Oscar contenders, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, Ben Affleck's Argo and Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, will have been disappointed by their SAG haul. Zero Dark Thirty, which has won early prizes from critics' groups in Boston, New York and LA, has just Jessica Chastain up for best actress. Argo has shouts in the best supporting actor (Alan Arkin) and best ensemble cast categories, while The Master is up for best supporting actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The Critics Choice awards handed Argo and The Master seven nominations, with Zero Dark Thirty receiving five.
The Screen Actors Guild snubbed other critically favoured films such as Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and Ang Lee's Life of Pi. The latter film received an impressive nine Critics Choice nominations but Tarantino's tale of slavery in America's deep south had just two.
Day Lewis continues to be a clear frontrunner for the best actor Oscar after picking up nominations from both bodies, while Lawrence looks a good bet for best actress after taking two more nominations. SAG's ensemble acting award, which often predicts the winner of the Academy Award for best film, is between Argo, Les Misérables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The latter, which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy as British expats living in India, also picked up a best supporting actor nomination for Smith.
The Critics Choice awards are considered an excellent Oscars bellwether: last year, all nine Academy Award nominees for best picture were among the Oscar nominees, as well as 13 of the 20 acting nominees.
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