The Help, a poignant film about a biracial friendship in the Deep South during the civil rights era, and the primetime television sitcom Modern Family were the top nominees announced Wednesday for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Help earned four nominations, including one in the top SAG category of ensemble cast, while Modern Family earned five nods, including best ensemble cast in a television comedy.
Nominated along with The Help for best ensemble cast in a film were the black-and-white silent film The Artist, the comedy Bridesmaids, George Clooney's family drama The Descendants and writer/director Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
The nominations in 13 acting categories and two categories for stunt performers were announced at the 's SilverScreen Theater in West Hollywood before dawn Wednesday. The awards will be presented at the Shrine Exposition Center on Jan. 29 in a ceremony aired live on TNT and TBS.
Nods for The Help also included one for Viola Davis for lead actress and Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer competing against each other for supporting actress.
Also nominated for best actress were Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin and Michelle Williams for her portrayal of a screen legend in My Week with Marilyn. Close was also nominated in the TV drama actress list for Damages.
For lead actor, the contenders were Clooney for The Descendants, Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar, Brad Pitt for Moneyball, Demian Bichir for A Better Life and Jean Dujardin for The Artist.
The Artist, a period film that takes place in Hollywood at the dawn of the talkies, received three nominations -- best ensemble, lead actor and supporting actress for Berenice Bejo.
Receiving two nods each were the films Albert Nobbs, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, J. Edgar, Moneyball and My Week with Marilyn.
Other actors receiving multiple nods were Kathy Bates in the ensemble film division for Midnight in Paris and TV drama actress for Harry's Law, while Ellie Kember was nominated for her role in the cast of Bridesmaids and in the ensemble of the TV comedy The Office.
In the small screen division, front-runner Modern Family is a contender for comedy ensemble and comedy actor for Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet, while Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara will compete for the comedy actress trophy.
Also nominated in the TV comedy cast race were 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Glee and The Office.
In the TV drama ensemble category, the contenders were Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones and The Good Wife.
Nominated for leading primetime TV drama actor were Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, Michael C. Hall for Dexter, Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk
Empire, Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights and Patrick J. Adams for Suits. Buscemi won the category last year for the HBO show.
The TV drama actress nods went to Bates for Harry's Law, Close for Damages, Jessica Lange for American Horror Story, Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife and Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer. Margulies, who won the award last year, is a SAG record holder due to her eight previous individual acting and ensemble wins.
Nominated for best TV comedy actor were Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock, Burrell and Stonestreet for Modern Family, Steve Carell for The Office and Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men. Baldwin has won the award for the last five years.
The TV comedy actress category consists of Bowen and Vergara for Modern Family, Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey for 30 Rock and Betty White for Hot in Cleveland. ABC's Modern Family, a comedy about an extended Los Angeles family, won the best ensemble award last year.
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.