'The Artist,' 'The Help' Dominate 2012 SAG Awards Nominations

[caption id="attachment_74646" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Weinstein Co."][/caption]

Here's a twist we didn't see coming: "The Help" leads the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations with four gongs.

In a more predictable turn, "The Artist" follows with three.

The Screen Actors Guild announced nominations for their 18th annual awards today and the two aforementioned films continued to build award season momentum. Up against the two of them for the coveted Outstanding Cast prize include "Bridesmaids," "The Descendants" and "Midnight in Paris."

"The Artist wasn't alone in consolidating its position, though. "The Help" also emerged as a strong contender, with nominations for Viola Davis (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role) and both Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role), in addition to Outstanding Cast.

Meanwhile, despite being overlooked in the Outstanding Cast category, "Moneyball" and "Albert Nobbs" each earned two acting nominations, with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill being recognized in the Outstanding Male Actor and Outstanding Male Supporting Actor categories for "Moneyball" and Glenn Close and Janet McTeer landing nods for Outstanding  Female Actor and Outstanding Supporting Female Actor respectively.

Other films earning multiple nominations include "Bridesmaids" (which also landed an Outstanding Supporting Female nomination for Melissa McCarthy), "The Descendants" (George Clooney for Outstanding Male Actor), "J. Edgar" (Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer for Outstanding Male Actor and Supporting Male Actor, respectively) and "My Week with Marilyn" (Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh for Outstanding Female Actor and Supporting Male Actor).

Debuting in 1995, the Screen Actors Guild Awards is unique among industry accolades in that SAG only honors performances, with the results being voted on by by the full SAG membership. Many actors consider a SAG Award to be one of the highest honors possible as they are awarded by their peers.

Actor Awards will be handed out on Jan. 29 and will air on TNT and TBS.

You can view the full list of nominees here.

Hot People Looking Hot at the 2011 SAG Awards