LOS ANGELES – Colin Firth and Christian Bale are expected to take home Screen Actors Guild Awards prizes in a ceremony that looks to be a prelude for acting honors at the Academy Awards.
Out of the 20 guild nominees at Sunday night's awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, 17 also earned Oscar nominations, with Firth considered the almost certain best-actor winner at both shows for "The King's Speech" and Bale the likely supporting-actor recipient for "The Fighter."
Best-actress and supporting-actress honors are more competitive. Natalie Portman for "Black Swan" and Annette Bening for "The Kids Are All Right" are in a tight race for lead actress, while "The Fighter" co-stars Melissa Leo and Amy Adams both are strong contenders for supporting actress, along with 14-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld for "True Grit."
Other lead-acting nominees for both the guild honors and the Feb. 27 Oscars include last year's winner Jeff Bridges for "True Grit"; Nicole Kidman for "Rabbit Hole"; James Franco for "127 Hours"; Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network"; and Jennifer Lawrence for "Winter's Bone." Nominated for overall cast performance at the guild awards are "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network." All five were among the 10 best-picture nominees at the Oscars, where "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" are considered the front-runners for Hollywood's biggest prize.
Last year's individual winners at the guild awards — Bridges for "Crazy Heart," Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side," Mo'nique for "Precious" and Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds" — all went on to win at the Oscars. But the cast prize, considered the guild's equivalent of a best-picture honor, has a spotty record at predicting the top Oscar winner.
The recipient of the guild's cast award has gone on to claim best-picture at the Oscars only seven of 15 years since SAG added that prize. Last year's guild cast recipient, "Inglourious Basterds," lost out to "The Hurt Locker" in the Oscar best-picture race.