LOS ANGELES) - ``Gladiator'' picked up three nominations -- the most of any film -- as the Screen Actors Guild (news - web sites) on Tuesday announced contenders for its ``Actor'' awards on March 11, an important step on the road to the Oscars two weeks later.
While no clear favorite emerged from the nominations some interesting ``Only in Hollywood'' questions did, including: Can a weapon-wielding survivor of the Roman Empire crush a dirty old French porn writer -- or is the pen really mightier than the sword?
``Gladiator's'' heartthrob hero, Russell Crowe, is up against Geoffrey Rush, who plays the Marquis de Sade in ``Quills,'' for the award for best performance by a male actor in a leading role. But both men face Hollywood hero Tom Hanks, who won the Golden Globe earlier this month for best actor in a drama for his role in ``Castaway.''
Also nominated for the category are teenager Jamie Bell as the boy ballet dancer in ``Billy Elliot',' and Benicio Del Toro as the honest cop in ``Traffic.''
Vying for top female acting honors in the seventh annual SAG awards are Joan Allen, as the politician whose personal life is suspect in ``The Contender'' Juliette Binoche as the free spirit in ``Chocolat,'' Ellen Burstyn as the mother in ''Requiem for a Dream,'' Laura Linney as the sister in ``You Can Count on Me'' and Julia Roberts as the crusading legal assistant in ``Erin Brockovich,'' a role for which the superstar has already won a Golden Globe.
Contending for outstanding performance by the cast of a motion picture are ``Almost Famous,'' ``Billy Elliot,'' ``Chocolat,'' ''Gladiator'' and ``Traffic.''