Manchester By The Sea’ Leads SAG with 4 nominations

Manchester By the Sea is making a splash in the awards race.

Kenneth Lonergan’s critical darling steamed ahead Wednesday, leading the Screen Actors Guild Awards with four nominations, including outstanding performance by a movie cast, actor (Casey Affleck), supporting actor (Lucas Hedges) and supporting actress (Michelle Williams). The devastating family drama — which also earned four Golden Globe nominations Monday — follows an anguished handyman (Affleck) who returns home to take care of his nephew (Hedges) after his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies.

Tied for second with three nominations each, Barry Jenkins’ transcendent African-American coming-of-age tale Moonlight and August Wilson’s emotional powerhouse Fences both made the cut for outstanding cast, along with space-race drama Hidden Figures and offbeat dramedy Captain Fantastic starring Viggo Mortensen (also nominated for actor).

La La Land, which topped the Critics’ Choice Awards (winning eight, including best picture) and Golden Globe nominations (seven), only managed two SAG nods, for best actor (Ryan Gosling) and actress (Emma Stone). The SAG Awards tend to favor movies with large ensembles (recent cast winners include Spotlight, Birdman and American Hustle), which is likely why Damien Chazelle’s musical charmer was passed over in the top category.

Rounding out the actor field, Denzel Washington (Fences) and Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) both earned nominations, with the latter’s Silence shut out entirely. In actress, assumed locks Stone and Natalie Portman (Jackie) were joined by Amy Adams (Arrival), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Emily Blunt, a surprise nominee for critically maligned mystery/thriller The Girl on the Train.

Manchester’s Hedges is joined in the supporting actor category by Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Dev Patel (Lion). Supporting actress nominees include awards-season favorites Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Viola Davis (Fences), Nicole Kidman (Lion) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures).

Spencer is one of six actors of color nominated for individual movie honors at this year’s SAG Awards — a step up from last year, when Idris Elba was the only black nominee (and eventual winner) for Beasts of No Nation. The outstanding-cast nominees are also slightly more diverse than last year’s crop, when Beasts and Straight Outta Compton lost to Spotlight. Of this year’s contenders, Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences all feature predominantly black ensembles. Diversity is up in the SAGs’ TV nominations, too, with nine actors of color recognized this year vs. five last year.

Netflix and HBO dominated the television categories, with The Crown, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones and Westworld all scoring three nods each, including outstanding performance by a drama series ensemble. The top category was rounded out by PBS’ Downton Abbey, a three-time ensemble winner, which ended after six seasons in March.

FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story made a strong showing with TV movie or miniseries acting nominations for stars Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance. Comedy ensemble nominees include CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, HBO’s Veep, Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and ABC sitcoms Modern Family and Black-ish.

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast on TNT and TBS Jan. 29 (8 p.m. ET/ 5 PT).