Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook led the nominees at the 19th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards with four apiece. Rounding out the nominees for Outstanding Performance By A Cast in A Motion Picture were Argo and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The SAG always makes moves that surprise me – well, they have over the last few years at least – so it will be interesting to see how much bearing these selections have on the Academy Awards nominees. Usually, the influence is pretty strong.

Here are the lists of nominees for Theatrical Motion Pictures, with commentary:

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor in A Leading Role

Bradley Cooper – The Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

John Hawkes – The Sessions

Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables

Denzel Washington – Flight

There’s Bradley Cooper again. Having not yet seen Silver Linings Playbook, I can’t comment on his performance, but with the film receiving multiple nominations, it is pretty clear that voters are quite taken to Cooper and the film. Most of the usual suspects are here (Day Lewis, Hawkes and Washington seemed to have had their spots locked in for months) but one I also expected to see nominated was Joaquin Phoenix, for his transformative work in The Master.  Jackman was great in Les Miserables, but I’m not convinced he deserves a spot here over Phoenix. Prediction: Day Lewis has been cleaning up for Lincoln.

Outstanding Performance by A Female Actor In A Leading Role

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

Helen Mirren – Hitchcock

Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Here are the surprises. Having not seen four of these films doesn’t help but it is disappointing to learn that Emmanuelle Riva, who has won multiple critics awards for her role in Michael Haneke’s Amour, and Mary Elizabeth Winsted, who delivers breakthrough work in Smashed, have been overlooked. Helen Mirren and Naomi Watts are fine actresses, and have been nominated several times before, but from my understanding their films haven’t been all that well received. It is great to see Marion Cotillard nominated – fantastic work - but I think since voters started to see Zero Dark Thirty, it has become a battle between Lawrence and Chastain. Prediction: Chastain.

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor in A Supporting Role

Alan Arkin – Argo

Javier Bardem – Skyfall

Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln

No Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike? Yikes. No BIG surprises here, otherwise. I thought Arkin had lost some of his momentum, and as great as Bardem is in Skyfall – one of the most memorable Bond villains I have yet seen – I would have looked elsewhere. It is great to see Hoffman recognised (at least someone from The Master was nominated!!). Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones is likely the favourite, but I am going to go with Hoffman. He delivers every time, and he even outdoes himself here.

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor in A Supporting Role

Sally Field – Lincoln

Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Helen Hunt – The Sessions

Nicole Kidman – The Paperboy

Maggie Smith – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Field, Hathaway and Hunt were expected – and I applaud the inclusion of Hathaway and Hunt. Sally Field has emerged as a big threat, and it is very ‘possible’ that Lincoln could take out multiple awards here. Possibly Four. Kidman’s now-infamous turn in The Paperboy and Smith’s work in Marigold were surprise nominations. Especially considering Amy Adams was turned away for The Master.  Crazy. It is interesting to note that Maggie Smith received four nominations this year – for Outstanding Lead Performance/Ensemble for Downtown Abbey too. Prediction: Hathaway.

Andy Buckle is a passionate Sydney-based film enthusiast and reviewer who has built a respected online voice at his personal blog, The Film Emporium. Andy will contribute reviews, features and be our resident film festival, and awards expert.