On Wednesday, the nominations for the Screen Actors Guild awards were unveiled, confounding certain expectations as per usual. The SAG noms are widely regarded as an early predictor of Oscar trends, and prognosticators have already analyzed the SAG ballot for insights into the Academy Awards race. (SAG award winners, which will be determined by the Guild's 2,100 members, will be announced on Jan. 27.) Here, 5 surprises from the 2013 nominations:
1. Zero Dark Thirty snubbed in Outstanding Performance by a Cast category
Unlike the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild doesn't name a "best film." The SAG equivalent is the "Best Ensemble" award, which honors the entire cast of a film. But critical darling Zero Dark Thirty, the presumptive frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar, was overlooked by SAG in the category in favor of genial comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which few critics had pegged as a major awards-show contender.
2. Joaquin Phoenix snubbed for Best Actor
Just a few months ago, the consensus was that Joaquin Phoenix was a shoo-in for a nomination — and a genuine contender for a win — in the Best Actor category for his starring turn in The Master. But the actor was snubbed by SAG, in a surprise that many are attributing to a widely-circulated October interview in which Phoenix called the Oscars "bullshit."
3. Nicole Kidman nominated for Supporting Actress
The Paperboy, which is probably better known as "that movie where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron," earned just 39 percent positive reviews at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. But Kidman's fearless and relatively acclaimed performance as a trashy Floridian unexpectedly snuck into the Supporting Actress category, bumping an expected nod for Amy Adams' performance in The Master off the list.
4. Javier Bardem nominated for Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem has been universally praised for his deeply unsettling performance as the villainous Silva in the James Bond flick Skyfall, but few had him pegged as a serious awards-show contender. His surprise nod could herald a Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards, which would be the first ever acting nomination for the storied 007 franchise.
5. No nominations for Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino's latest, which doesn't hit theaters until Christmas Day, is entering Oscar season later than most films. But the movie's complete shut-out from the SAG nominations, despite buzzed-about performances from Jamie Foxx as a freed slave and Leonardo DiCaprio as a sadistic plantation owner, may be an early sign that Django Unchained won't be the awards-season threat many had predicted.