LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Oscar picture will come into better focus Sunday when the Screen Actors Guild Awards are presented at the Shrine Auditorium, with Golden Globe winners George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams among those competing for top honors.
The civil rights era tale “The Help” is the top film nominee, with nods for best ensemble cast, best actress for Viola Davis and supporting actress nominations for Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain.
Davis is a sentimental favorite in the best-actress category for her role as a maid who opens up to an aspiring writer about her experiences working in a white household.
Davis won a Critics’ Choice Award earlier this month, but she lost the Golden Globe to Streep, who won the prize for her role as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
Williams is also nominated in the category for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.” Also up for the award are Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and Glenn Close, who plays a woman pretending to be a man while working as a butler in “Albert Nobbs.”
Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice winner Clooney appears to be a favorite to win best actor for his role in the family drama “The Descendants,” although he could face a challenge from Dujardin, who also took home a Golden Globe for his lead role in the silent black-and-white drama “The Artist.”
They will compete for The Actor — the name given to the SAG Award — with Leonardo DiCaprio for “J. Edgar,” Brad Pitt for “Moneyball” and Demian Bichir for “A Better Life.”
Octavia Spencer has been collecting plenty of supporting actress awards this year for her role as a maid in “The Help,” while Christopher Plummer has done the same for his work as an aging father who announces he is gay in “The Beginners.”
Spencer will compete with her “The Help” co-star Chastain, Berenice Bejo of “The Artist,” Melissa McCarthy of “Bridesmaids” and Janet McTeer for “Albert Nobbs.”
Plummer is up for best supporting actor along with Kenneth Branagh for “My Week with Marilyn,” Armie Hammer for “J. Edgar,” Jonah Hill for “Moneyball” and Nick Nolte for “Warrior.”
In the ensemble-cast category — the SAG equivalent of the Oscar for best picture — “The Help” will compete with “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Bridesmaids.”
On the small screen, ABC’s Emmy-winning comedy “Modern Family” has a leading five nominations, including one for best ensemble cast in a comedy series.
The ensemble casts of “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Glee” and “The Office” are also nominated for the top TV comedy prize.
Among dramas, “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Good Wife” are all nominated for best ensemble.
Steve Buscemi will look to repeat his SAG win for best actor in a drama series for “Boardwalk Empire,” but is being challenged by Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad,” Michael C. Hall for “Dexter,” Kyle Chandler for “Friday Night Lights” and Patrick J. Adams for “Suits.”
Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife” will also be looking for a repeat victory for best actress in a drama. Also nominated are Kathy Bates for “Harry’s Law,” Close for “Damages,” Jessica Lange for “American Horror Story” and Kyra Sedgwick for “The Closer.”
Margulies is a SAG record holder, with eight previous individual acting and ensemble wins.
“Modern Family” co-stars Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet will compete for best actor in a comedy series, along with “30 Rock’s” Alec Baldwin, who has won the award for each of the past five years. Also nominated are Steve Carell for “The Office” and Jon Cryer for “Two and a Half Men.”
“Modern Family” also has two nominees for best comedy actress — Julie Bown and Sofia Vergara. They are nominated along with last year’s winner, Betty White of “Hot in Cleveland,” three-time winner Tina Fey from “30 Rock” and “Nurse Jackie’s” Edie Falco, who won two SAG Awards for her work in the drama series “The Sopranos.”
During the SAG ceremony, Mary Tyler Moore will receive the guild’s life achievement award, which will be presented by her former co-star, Dick Van Dyke.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)