Will Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, sweep top Screen Actors Guild awards?

Actors Frances McDormand (right) and Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. PHOTO: 20TH CENTURY FOX

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Black comedy crime story Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could dominate at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (Sunday, in the US), a bellwether for the Oscars.

The movie took four nods in three categories - best ensemble cast, best lead actress (Frances McDormand) and best supporting actor (Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell).

Joining Three Billboards in the running for best cast - the top award - are romantic comedy The Big Sick, racial satire Get Out, offbeat dramedy Lady Bird and civil rights drama Mudbound.

SAG nominations are the second major announcement in Tinseltown's glittering awards season, which climaxes with the Academy Awards in March.

Guillermo del Toro's acclaimed 1960s-set fantasy romance The Shape Of Water led the Golden Globe nominations with seven but picked up just two SAG nods.

Three Billboards, starring McDormand as a mother seeking to avenge the rape and murder of her daughter, picked up six Globes nods. It has been a top Oscars contender since taking the influential audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

While far less flashy than the Globes, the SAG awards are seen as more of an indicator of Oscars glory. Members represent some 1,200 of the roughly 6,000 voters for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In the best actor category, Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) faces competition from James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.).

For best actress, McDormand faces off against Judi Dench (Victoria And Abdul), Sally Hawkins (The Shape Of Water), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird).

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