"Chocolat," "Billy Elliot," "Almost Famous," "The Contender," and "Gladiator" each picked up three nominations Tuesday for the seventh annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Each film was recognized for its cast in the ensemble category, along with "Traffic." On the TV side, NBC came out way ahead of any network or studio with 15 noms, backed by strong showings from the casts of "Will & Grace," "The West Wing," "ER," and "Frasier."
Judi Dench racked up a total of three nominations this year, bringing her total SAG nominations to six. The Academy Award-winning actress was recognized individually in the supporting actress category for her work in the feel-good feature "Chocolat" and in the TV-movie category for HBO's "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells". Dench's third nomination came as part of the "Chocolat" ensemble. Also receiving multiple nominations Tuesday was Sally Field, who picked up noms for her roles on NBC's "ER" and TNT's "David Copperfield."
Dench's "Chocolat" co-star Juliette Binoche was nominated in the lead actress category, along with "Erin Brockovich" star and Golden Globe winner Julia Roberts, Joan Allen for "The Contender," Ellen Burstyn for "Requiem for a Dream," and Laura Linney for "You Can Count on Me." Golden Globe winner Tom Hanks picked up his sixth SAG nomination Tuesday for his role as the executive who finds himself stranded on a tropical island in "Cast Away." Joining Hanks in the lead actor category are Globe winner Benicio Del Toro for "Traffic," Russell Crowe for "Gladiator," Geoffrey Rush for "Quills," and youngster Jamie Bell for "Billy Elliot." Bell is certainly the dark horse in this company—which, pointedly, does not include such talked-about performances as Michael Douglas in "Wonder Boys," Mark Ruffalo in "You Can Count on Me," Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls," and Ed Harris in "Pollock."
In addition to noms for Crowe and for the ensemble cast, the third nomination for "Gladiator" went to Joaquin Phoenix in the film supporting actor category (there is no supporting actor category for TV). Phoenix is up against Gary Oldman and Jeff Bridges for "The Contender," Willem Dafoe for "Shadow of the Vampire," and Albert Finney for "Erin Brockovich." Dench is joined in the feature supporting actress category by Golden Globe winner and first-time SAG nominee Kate Hudson for "Almost Famous," Frances McDormand for "Almost Famous," Julie Walters for "Billy Elliot," and Kate Winslet for "Quills."
"Ally McBeal" led the way on the TV side, earning four nominations, including recognition in the comedy categories for the ensemble cast and for Peter MacNicol and Golden Globe winner Robert Downey Jr. in the lead actor category. "Ally" star Calista Flockhart picked up her fourth consecutive nomination in the lead actress category.
Although none of its stars received individual nominations, the cast of NBC's "Friends" picked up a nom for ensemble in a comedy series. In addition to "Friends" and "Ally," the comedy ensemble noms include "Frasier," "Sex and the City," and "Will & Grace". Joining MacNicol and Downey Jr. in the actor in a comedy category are Sean Hayes for "Will & Grace" and Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce for "Frasier." Grammer has garnered 14 SAG nominations for his work on the NBC comedy. In the actress in a comedy category, Flockhart is up against Golden Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker for "Sex and the City," Jane Kaczmarek for "Malcolm in the Middle," and Debra Messing and Megan Mullally for "Will & Grace."
Indeed, while the cast of "Will & Grace" received recognition in the ensemble comedy category, notably missing from the individual mentions, which included noms for Messing, Hayes, and Mullally, was a nomination for Eric McCormack, who plays Will.
The SAG noms delivered a pair of ties, with a sixth nominee being added in the categories of outstanding female actress in a drama and outstanding male actor in a telefilm or miniseries. The six nominees in the lead actress in a drama category include Field for "ER," Golden Globe winner Sela Ward for "Once and Again," Allison Janney for "The West Wing," Lauren Graham for "The Gilmore Girls," Gillian Anderson for "The X-Files," and last year's winner, Edie Falco for "The Sopranos."
James Gandolfini, last year's winner in the lead actor in a drama series, will compete against nominees Anthony Edwards for "ER," Dennis Franz for "NYPD Blue," Martin Sheen for "The West Wing," and first-time nominee Tim Daly for the freshman series "The Fugitive." The Daly nomination seemed to come out of nowhere—and to be an upset for Andre Braugher, star of "Gideon's Crossing," and for Richard Schiff, the quiet conscience of "The West Wing," both of whom seemed likely to be recognized.
The male actor in a telefilm or miniseries nominees are Golden Globe winner Brian Dennehy for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," James Woods for "Dirty Pictures," John Lithgow for "Don Quixote," Danny Glover for "Freedom Song," and Alec Baldwin and Brian Cox for "Nuremberg."
In the category for lead actress in a telefilm or miniseries are Golden Globe winner Dench for "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells," Field for "David Copperfield," Stockard Channing for "The Truth About Jane," Elizabeth Franz for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," and Vanessa Redgrave for "If These Walls Could Talk 2."
David Robb writes for The Hollywood Reporter. Rob Kendt, Back Stage West editor, contributed to this story.