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The road trip comedy Sideways led contenders for the Screen Actors Guild Awards with four nominations Tuesday, including honors for lead performer Paul Giamatti and the ensemble cast.
Four other films followed with three nominations: the Howard Hughes film biography The Aviator; Finding Neverland, tracing the creative roots of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan; Hotel Rwanda, the real-life tale of an innkeeper sheltering refugees from genocide; and the boxing saga Million Dollar Baby.
All five of those films earned nominations for their overall casts, the equivalent of a best picture prize for the guild, which represents Hollywood actors. Because of a tie in voting, the guild nominated a sixth film for best cast, the Ray Charles biopic Ray.
Besides a nomination for the Ray cast, star Jamie Foxx earned three other honors, selected as a lead actor nominee for the title role in Ray, supporting actor for the hit man thriller Collateral and best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for the prison drama Redemption.
Foxx, considered a front-runner to win the best actor Academy Award, also has three nominations for Ray, Collateral and Redemption at Sunday's Golden Globes.
Besides Foxx and Giamatti, who plays a loser with a fresh chance at love in Sideways, the guild's best actor film nominees are Don Cheadle as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda; Johnny Depp as Barrie in Finding Neverland; and Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes in The Aviator.
Nominated for best actress are Annette Bening as a 1930s London stage diva in Being Julia; Catalina Sandino Moreno as a Colombian woman who takes on a perilous job as a drug mule in Maria Full of Grace; Imelda Staunton as a housekeeper who moonlights as an abortion practitioner in 1950s Britain in Vera Drake; Hilary Swank as a boxer whose life turns tragic in Million Dollar Baby; and Kate Winslet as a woman who has erased memories of her ex-boyfriend in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Swank also had a nomination for actress in a TV movie or miniseries for the suffrage drama Iron Jawed Angels.
Moreno was a surprise nominee, overlooked in most earlier Hollywood honors. The supporting categories also produced some surprise picks, including Cloris Leachman as a boozy grandma in Spanglish; Sophie Okonedo as Rusesabagina's wife in Hotel Rwanda; and Freddie Highmore as a boy who inspires Barrie in Finding Neverland.
Joining Leachman and Okonedo in the supporting actress category are Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator; Laura Linney as the wife of sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey in Kinsey; and Virginia Madsen as a restaurant server romanced by Giamatti in Sideways.
Along with Foxx and Highmore, supporting actor nominees are Thomas Haden Church as Giamatti's randy buddy in Sideways; Morgan Freeman as a former boxer in Million Dollar Baby; and James Garner as a man trying to jog his ailing wife's memories in The Notebook.
Garner also is receiving the guild's lifetime achievement award.
In TV categories, the late Jerry Orbach earned his first nomination for best actor in a dramatic series for Law & Order. Orbach's death Dec. 28 likely brought a late rush of votes for him before the guild's balloting closed 10 days later.
Patricia Heaton earned three nominations, for best actress in a comedy series for Everybody Loves Raymond, as a member of that show's overall cast and for actress in a movie or miniseries for Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl.
The Sopranos led TV shows with four nominations, for its cast, actor James Gandolfini and actresses Drea de Matteo and Edie Falco.
Awards will be presented Feb. 5 in a ceremony televised on TNT. SAG nominations are chosen by 4,200 randomly chosen members of the union. The guild's full membership of 98,000 is eligible to vote for winners.