NEW YORK • The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards threw a curveball into the awards race on Wednesday, shutting out early favourites The Post, The Shape Of Water and Call Me By Your Name from its all-important list of best cast nominees and instead including inter-racial romance The Big Sick and racial thriller Get Out.
Since 1996, every Best Picture Oscar winner has landed a SAG best cast nomination beforehand.
The black comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri led the SAG nominations on Wednesday, with four nods, including best cast and best actress for Frances McDormand, as an angry woman seeking vengeance for her murdered daughter.
The other outstanding cast nominees are mother-daughter comedy Lady Bird and period race drama Mudbound.
The best actor nominees are Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Denzel Washington, a surprise inclusion as his film, Roman J. Israel, Esq., drew poor reviews.
Notably absent from the list was Daniel Day-Lewis, who has been much lauded for his exacting performance in Phantom Thread.
Other surprises included Judi Dench as a best actress nominee, for Victoria & Abdul, and the omission of Meryl Streep (The Post). The other best actress nominees are Sally Hawkins for The Shape Of Water, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, and Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird.
For best supporting actress, Hong Chau (Downsizing) landed a nomination ahead of such heavy hitters as Melissa Leo (Novitiate) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape Of Water).
With 160,000 members, the SAG-AFTRA union is the biggest in Hollywood and it claims the biggest voting pool - about 120,000 people - of all the movie awards.
Its nominees are strong predictors for the acting and best picture Oscar nominations.
The awards will be handed out on Jan 21 at a show that will address the #MeToo moment.
All 13 acting awards will be presented by women, as will be the two stunt awards, which will be handed out beforehand.
On Wednesday, the nominations were also announced by women, actresses Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash, and the awards will have a host, its first: actress Kristen Bell.