Black comedy crime story “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” could dominate at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, 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 SAG’s top award — are romantic comedy “The Big Sick,” racial satire “Get Out,” offbeat dramedy “Lady Bird” and civil rights drama “Mudbound.”
On the TV side, three series were tied at the top with four nominations each: HBO drama “Big Little Lies” and — including the stunt team nominations — Netflix sci-fi thriller “Stranger Things” and wrestling comedy “Glow.”
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 and has been has 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.
The awards were being closely watched this year as they come with Hollywood engulfed in the worst sexual misconduct scandal in its history.
Allegations from harassment to rape have sparked the downfall of numerous powerful industry players, from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to actors Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor and Louis C.K. to filmmaker Brett Ratner.
In the best actor category on the film side, 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”).