LOS ANGELES • Trumbo, a biopic about a blacklisted 1940s Hollywood screenwriter, led the Screen Actors Guild nominations on Wednesday in a diverse field that hinted at likely Oscar contenders but snubbed two presumed front-runners, Matt Damon's space adventure The Martian and Jennifer Lawrence's drama Joy.
Trumbo earned three nominations, including the guild's top prize for best ensemble.
The other nominees for best ensemble are the rap movie Straight Outta Compton, the Wall Street comedy The Big Short, the Netflix child soldier tale Beasts Of No Nation, and Spotlight, the movie about the Boston Globe journalists who uncovered sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts.
The awards are often a solid early indication of Oscars hopes, since members of the acting guild represent about 20 per cent of the 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Trumbo tells the story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who, in 1947, was blacklisted along with other artists for refusing to testify before Congress about alleged communist propaganda in Hollywood films.
Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame landed a best actor nomination for his role as Trumbo and Helen Mirren had a supporting actress nomination for her role as conservative gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.
The biggest surprise inclusions lay in the best actress category, with Mirren (Woman In Gold) and Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back) joining other early leaders Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) in that race.
The best actor race was less of a surprise, with Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) and Johnny Depp (Black Mass) among the nominees.
The biggest surprises might have been in the shutouts: Besides Lawrence and Damon, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo failed to make the cut for best supporting actor for Spotlight.
Quentin Tarantino's western drama The Hateful Eight and Will Smith's football injury movie Concussion also came away empty-handed.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES