2015 Oscars: 'Indies' lead in Hollywood's annual film stakes

Nominations for the Screen Actors Guild awards ignore blockbusters.

So-called “independent" ("Indie") films largely made outside the Hollywood big budget studio system look like dominating this year’s awards season.

The annual fest of movie industry backslapping will culminate in the Oscars on February 22 next year and are unlikely to feature many, if any, box office hits.

The season has kicked off with nominations for the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards to be announced in Los Angeles on January 25.

The SAG awards comprise 13 acting-based categories in movies and television. They will be followed by awards featuring directors, writers and producers, Golden Globes (chosen by the Hollywood foreign press corp), Baftas (British film academy) and the Academy Awards (Oscars). 

Oscar-tippers have already picked out the favourites and all feature in the SAG nominations.

Only a handful have been released in New Zealand – Oscar-worthy films are held back in their US release until the December 31 deadline so they can be fresh in the minds of judges.

Nominees familiar to New Zealand filmgoers include Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Judge, Nightcrawler, St Vincent and Gone Girl but also include Birdman, The Imitation Game, Into the Woods, The Theory of Everything, Wild and Cake.

None of this year box office champions, such as the third Hobbitt and Hunger Games films, is featured. Other favourites to miss out are Guardians of Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men Days of Future Past, which were among the 10 most-seen films in New Zealand this year.

By contrast, the TV nominees are dominated by long-running series Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards and Orphan Black  in drama; and Orange is the New Black, Modern Family, Veep and The Big Bang Theory in comedy. The full list:

MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Cast:
Birdman, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; Michael Keaton, Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor:
Jennifer Aniston, Cake; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor (Supporting Role):
Robert Duvall, The Judge; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; JK Simmons, Whiplash
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor (Supporting Role):
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods; Naomi Watts, St Vincent

TELEVISION
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble (Drama Series):
Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble (Comedy Series):
Orange Is the New Black, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family, Veep, The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor (Drama Series):
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Woody Harrelson, True Detective; Matthew McConaughey, True Detective; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor (Drama Series)
Claire Danes, Homeland; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder; Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black; Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey; Robin Wright, House of Cards
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor (Comedy Series):
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Louis CK., Louie; William H. Macy, Shameless
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor (Comedy Series):
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor (TV Movie or Miniseries):
Adrien Brody, Houdini; Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge; Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow; Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart; Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor (TV Movie or Miniseries):
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic; Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge; Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman; Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart; Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful