"Modern Family" Season 5 DVD promotional image. Courtesy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, via EPK.tv
“Modern Family” Season 5 DVD promotional image. Courtesy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, via EPK.tv
“Modern Family” Season 5 DVD promotional image. Courtesy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, via EPK.tv

“Birdman” scored a leading four nominations Wednesday for the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, with “Boyhood,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” each getting three nods while in television, four-time comedy ensemble winner “Modern Family” led the pack with four nominations

Michael Keaton got a nod for his critically acclaimed lead role in “Birdman,” starring as Riggan, an actor who once played a superhero in blockbuster films but is now struggling to revive his career. Castmates Edward Norton, playing a Broadway star, and Emma Stone, as Riggan’s daughter, also scored nominations for their supporting roles.

“Birdman” by director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu also picked up a nomination for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, the SAG equivalent of a best picture Oscar. It shared that honor with Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” Wes Anderson’s period adventure “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything,” which tells the story of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking.

Nominations were announced at the Pacific Design Center by Ansel Elgort and Eva Longoria, along with SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard.

Other nominees for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role included Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”).

Nominations for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role went to Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”), Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), and Reese Witherspoon, who also produced her star turn as a woman who hikes 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in “Wild.”

Norton was joined by supporting actor nominees Robert Duvall for his role in “The Judge,” Mark Ruffalo as an Olympic wrestler and coach Dave Schultz in “Foxcatcher,” Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood” and J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash.” Ruffalo also picked up a second actor nod for his role in the television miniseries “The Normal Heart.”

Supporting actress nods went to Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood,” Keira Knightley for “The Imitation Game,” Meryl Streep for the musical “Into The Woods,” Naomi Watts for “St. Vincent” and Stone.

The SAG Awards are generally considered a strong indication of who may receive an Oscar in February.

“Modern Family,” which holds the tying record for most ensemble wins with the long-running series “ER,” was nominated for its comedy cast. Cast members Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen were also each nominated for an individual actor;s award. Other comedy series ensembles nominated were “The Big Bang Theory,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Veep.”

Also nominated for comedy roles were Louis C.K. for his eponymous comedy series, William H. Macy for his role as father of the Gallagher clan in “Shameless” and Jim Parsons for “Big Bang Theory.”

Actresses set to compete with Bowen for outstanding performance in a comedy role include Uzo Aduba for her role as “Crazy Eyes” in the Netflix hit “Orange Is the New Black,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) , Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) and Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”), who holds the record for most Actor nominations, with 21.

Drama series picking up nominations for their casts included “Boardwalk Empire,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” and “House of Cards.”

Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) and castmates Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, who played detectives in HBO’s “True Detective,” were all nominated for their dramatic roles.

Actresses with that distinction included Claire Danes (“Homeland”), Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”), Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) and Julianna Margulies, who has won eight Actors to date for her work in “The Good Wife.” Now she has a chance to break a tie with Alec Baldwin for the record.

HBO was the big winner with 14 nominations today, far outpacing the rest of the field. The next highest count was five nods, which was matched by ABC, Netflix and cable competitor Showtime. The four traditional networks combined scored 11 nominations.

Four of HBO’s nominations came in the television movie and miniseries category.

Actors nominated for their roles in that category included Ruffalo, for his performance in HBO’s The Normal Heart” and Richard Jenkins (HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge”), as well as Adrien Brody as Harry Houdini (“Houdini”), Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes (“Sherlock: His Last Vow”) and Billy Bob Thornton (“Fargo”).

Actresses picking up nods for their miniseries or TV movie work were Ellen Burstyn (“Flowers in the Attic”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Honorable Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Olive Kitteridge”), Julia Roberts (“The Normal Heart”) and Cicely Tyson (“The Trip to Bountiful”).

Screen Actors Guild Awards are nominated and chosen exclusively by actors, with separate panels choosing nominees for film and television. In categories with six nominees, a tie could not be broken by panelists.

“Fury,” “Get on Up,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Unbroken” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for stunt ensembles in a motion picture. For television stunt teams, nominations went to “24: Live Another Day,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “The Walking Dead.”

The SAG Awards will be presented at the Shrine Auditorium Jan. 25 and aired live starting at 5 p.m. PST on TBS and TNT. Debbie Reynolds will be honored during the ceremony with the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award.

Staff and wire reports

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