From Access

JANUARY 28, 2003

The sassy musical "Chicago" led contenders for the Screen Actors Guild awards with five nominations Tuesday, including lead actors Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.

The drama "The Hours" was next with four nominations, among them Nicole Kidman for best actress, Julianne Moore for supporting actress and Ed Harris for supporting actor. Their co-star, Meryl Streep, had been a strong lead-actress contender for "The Hours" and a supporting-actress prospect for "Adaptation," but was shut out in both categories.

"Adaptation," a twisted Hollywood saga from the creators of "Being John Malkovich," earned three nominations, including for Nicolas Cage as lead actor and Chris Cooper as supporting actor.

"Chicago," "The Hours" and "Adaptation" were among nominees for the ensemble-acting prize, the guild's equivalent of a best-picture award. The other nominees were the fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and the surprise blockbuster "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

The guild's nominations are the last major awards announcement before the Academy Awards nominations Feb. 11. Last month, "The Hours" won the Golden Globe award for dramatic feature, while "Chicago" won in the musical and comedy category.

Besides Gere and Cage, best-actor nominees were Adrien Brody for the Holocaust drama "The Pianist," Daniel Day-Lewis for the 1860s epic "Gangs of New York" and Jack Nicholson for the black comedy "About Schmidt."

Along with Kidman and Zellweger, the best-actress contenders were Salma Hayek for the film biography "Frida," Diane Lane for the adultery thriller "Unfaithful" and Moore for the melodrama "Far From Heaven."

Along with Moore, nominees for supporting actress were Kathy Bates in "About Schmidt"; Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones in "Chicago"; and Michelle Pfeiffer in the mother-daughter drama "White Oleander."

Besides Cooper and Harris, supporting-actor nominees were Alfred Molina for "Frida," Dennis Quaid for "Far From Heaven" and Christopher Walken for the con-man romp "Catch Me If You Can."

The guild will present its ninth annual awards on March 9 in a ceremony airing on TNT. Clint Eastwood will be honored with the guild's life achievement award.

Nominations are chosen by 4,200 randomly chosen members of the union. The guild's full membership of 98,000 is eligible to vote for winners.