The Screen Actors Guild doesn’t hand out a Best Picture award, so to say, but their nominations do help clarify which movies and actors are in the hunt for Oscar’s top prizes. Announced this morning, the SAG Award nominees sprinkled love on several expected projects, and then shed light on a few dark-horse contenders who likely appreciate the boost.

A quick scan of this year’s nominees shows that Jake Gyllenhaal rallied enough support for his darkly demented turn in Nightcrawler, a film that needed a bump like this to keep Gyllenhaal in the Oscar discussion. The Best Actor race is ridiculously crowded this year, and we will continue to write about omissions every time a new batch of nominees gets announced. For example, the absence of Oscar Isaac and David Oyelowo on this list suggests that the SAG voters didn’t get to see A Most Violent Year or Selma prior to casting ballots.

Jennifer Aniston also turns heads this morning by climbing into the Best Actress race for her work in Cake. Screeners for Daniel Barnz’s drama are landing in the mailboxes of various guilds, suggesting that the one-time Friends star could mount a serious campaign. A SAG nomination is a terrific first step. Let’s see if it continues with the Golden Globes next.

Elsewhere, when looking at the Outstanding Performance By A Cast nods, this is the equivalent of Best Picture, and these are the films that seem to have the most momentum at the moment. Birdman always was going to connect with SAG voters. It is an ACTOR’s movie, about ACTING. Boyhood checks yet another box, while The Grand Budapest Hotel enjoys another publicity bump on the lengthy awards trail. Not to overlook the nominees, but the bigger story always will be the movies left out here, and for that, I have to wonder what a lack of a SAG nomination does for the Best Picture dreams of films like Unbroken, Gone Girl (which did get love for Rosamund Pike), Foxcatcher, Into the Woods, Selma and American Sniper.

Birdman

Here are the complete nominees. More analysis as the morning continues:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
STEVE CARELL / John du Pont – "FOXCATCHER" (Sony Pictures Classics)
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Alan Turing – "THE IMITATION GAME" (The Weinstein Company)
JAKE GYLLENHAAL / Louis Bloom – "NIGHTCRAWLER" (Open Road Films)
MICHAEL KEATON / Riggan – "BIRDMAN" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Stephen Hawking – "THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING" (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JENNIFER ANISTON / Claire Bennett – "CAKE" (Cinelou Films)
FELICITY JONES / Jane Hawking – "THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING" (Focus Features)
JULIANNE MOORE / Alice Howland-Jones – "STILL ALICE" (Sony Pictures Classics)
ROSAMUND PIKE / Amy Dunne – "GONE GIRL" (20th Century Fox)
REESE WITHERSPOON / Cheryl Strayed – "WILD" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ROBERT DUVALL / Joseph Palmer – "THE JUDGE" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
ETHAN HAWKE / Mason, Sr. – "BOYHOOD" (IFC Films)
EDWARD NORTON / Mike – "BIRDMAN" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MARK RUFFALO / Dave Schultz – "FOXCATCHER" (Sony Pictures Classics)
J.K. SIMMONS / Fletcher – "WHIPLASH" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
PATRICIA ARQUETTE / Olivia – "BOYHOOD" (IFC Films)
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY / Joan Clarke – "THE IMITATION GAME" (The Weinstein Company)
EMMA STONE / Sam – "BIRDMAN" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / The Witch – "INTO THE WOODS" (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
NAOMI WATTS / Daka – "ST. VINCENT" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS / Jake
MICHAEL KEATON / Riggan
EDWARD NORTON / Mike
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH / Laura
AMY RYAN / Sylvia
EMMA STONE / Sam
NAOMI WATTS / Lesley

BOYHOOD (IFC Films)
PATRICIA ARQUETTE / Olivia
ELLAR COLTRANE / Mason
ETHAN HAWKE / Mason, Sr.
LORELEI LINKLATER / Samantha

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM / Mr. Moustafa
MATHIEU AMALRIC / Serge X.
ADRIEN BRODY / Dmitri
WILLEM DAFOE / Jopling
RALPH FIENNES / M. Gustave
JEFF GOLDBLUM / Dep. Kovacs
HARVEY KEITEL / Ludwig
JUDE LAW / Young Writer
BILL MURRAY / M. Ivan
EDWARD NORTON / Henckels
TONY REVOLORI / Zero
SAOIRSE RONAN / Agatha
JASON SCHWARTZMAN / M. Jean
LÉA SEYDOUX / Clotilde
TILDA SWINTON / Madame D
TOM WILKINSON / Author
OWEN WILSON / M. Chuck

THE IMITATION GAME (The Weinstein Company)
MATTHEW BEARD / Peter Hilton
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Alan Turing
CHARLES DANCE / Commander Denniston
MATTHEW GOODE / Hugh Alexander
RORY KINNEAR / Nock
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY / Joan Clarke
ALLEN LEECH / John Cairncross
MARK STRONG / Stewart Menzies

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus Features)
CHARLIE COX / Jonathan Hellyer Jones
FELICITY JONES / Jane Hawking
SIMON McBURNEY / Frank Hawking
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Stephen Hawking
DAVID THEWLIS / Dennis Sciama
EMILY WATSON / Beryl Wilde

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