Courtesy Warner Bros.
Tom Gliatto
December 10, 2014 02:30 PM

Awards season, and all the entertaining prognosticating and hubbub that go with it, properly began Wednesday with the announcement of the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.

The SAGs, which are bestowed by members of Hollywood’s acting community, are seen as a good indicator of who may ultimately be in the running for Oscar gold.

With that in mind, the drumbeat has commenced for Jennifer Aniston, for her breakthrough dramatic turn in Cake, as well as for Jake Gyllenhaal, who made it into the best actor competition playing a damp-haired, news-stalking creep in the nasty thriller Nightcrawler.

Gyllenhaal was, appropriately, a dark horse with a dark movie, but two other vaulted performances were unexpectedly shut out: Bradley Cooper as a true but emotionally exhausted patriot in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s drama about the civil rights movement, Selma.

Selma’s large, impressive cast, which includes Oprah Winfrey, also failed to score one of the SAG “ensemble” nominations. (There was speculation that screeners hadn’t been sent out early enough to voters.)

The same was true of the fairytale musical Into the Woods: Despite a full-throated cast singing Stephen Sondheim’s intricate rhyming schemes, only Meryl Streep (who easily handled the tongue-tripper “rooting through my rutabaga”) was honored in a supporting category.

Nominations bolstered two small but wildly acclaimed movies, Birdman and Boyhood. Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton are all in the running for the first movie, about an actor’s comeback night, and Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke for the second, in which they age literally by more than a decade. Both movies are in the best ensemble category as well.

And, now that she has a SAG nomination, relative newcomer Rosamund Pike should see an upward spike as a potential Oscar candidate for Gone Girl, a movie that’s fundamentally far nastier even than Nightcrawler.

Will Pike make it into Thursday’s announcement of Golden Globes nominees? So many awards have to be digested between now and the Oscars in February, you wonder if people in show business wish they had multiple stomachs, like cows.

The 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will simultaneously air live on TNT and TBS Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.

VIDEO: Flash Back to Last Year’s SAG Awards

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