‘Hobbit,’ ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ top Saturn Award noms

Feb. 25, 2014 | 10:00 p.m.
Evangeline Lilly in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"; Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in "Game of Thrones" (Warner Bros./Lionsgate/HBO)

Evangeline Lilly in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”; Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in “Game of Thrones” are all among the nominees for the 40th annual Saturn Awards. (Warner Bros./Lionsgate/HBO)

Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-nominated “Gravity” are the top contenders at the upcoming 40th annual Saturn Awards, with eight nominations each.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” 2012′s highest-grossing film, earned seven nominations, while “Iron Man 3,” “Pacific Rim,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Thor: The Dark World” were recognized with five nominations each. On the television side, HBO’s lavish fantasy “Game of Thrones” received five nominations, as did AMC’s drama “Breaking Bad” and TNT’s “Falling Skies.”

Founded in 1972 to recognize films often overlooked by mainstream awards series, the Saturn Awards fetes projects in a broad swath of genres, including science fiction, horror, fantasy, thriller and action/adventure — there are also awards for best independent film with nominees including critical favorites “12 Years a Slave” and “Inside Llewyn Davis”; best international film (a group that includes Edgar Wright’s apocalyptic comedy “The World’s End” and Park Chan-wook’s English-language debut “Stoker”); and best animated film (“Frozen,” “From Up on Poppy Hill,” “Despicable Me 2″ and “Monsters University”).

Guillermo del Toro works with actor Charlie Hunnam on the set of "Pacific Rim," a $180-million original science-fiction action adventure. (Kerry Hayes / Warner Bros.)

Guillermo del Toro works with actor Charlie Hunnam on the set of “Pacific Rim,” a $180-million original science-fiction action adventure. (Kerry Hayes / Warner Bros.)

J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek Into Darkness”), Peter Berg (“Lone Survivor”), Guillermo del Toro (“Pacific Rim”) and Francis Lawrence (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) will compete with Jackson and Cuarón for best director honors.

In addition to the directing and fantasy film categories, Jackson’s second installment in his second J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy was nominated for Evangeline Lilly’s supporting performance as the elf Tauriel and its screenplay, production design, score, makeup and visual effects. “Gravity’s” Sandra Bullock was nominated for best actress and George Clooney for supporting actor, in addition to best screenplay, editing, production design, visual effects, director and science fiction film.

Bullock’s fellow best actress nominees include Halle Berry (“The Call”), Martina Gedeck (“The Wall”), Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks)” and Mia Wasikowska (“Stoker”). Best actor nominees are Robert Downey Jr. for “Iron Man 3,” Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Simon Pegg for “The World’s End,” Joaquin Phoenix for “Her,” Brad Pitt for “World War Z” and Ben Stiller for “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Zachary Quinto, left, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine in a scene from "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount Pictures)

Zachary Quinto, left, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine in a scene from “Star Trek Into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount Pictures)

Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston will compete in the supporting actor race for their respective villainous roles in “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Thor: The Dark World.” Nominated alongside the two popular Brits and “Gravity’s” Clooney are Daniel Brühl for “Rush,” Harrison Ford for “Ender’s Game,” Ben Kingsley for “Iron Man 3″ and Bill Nighy for “About Time.”

In addition to Lilly, supporting actress nominees include Scarlett Johansson for her voice-over turn in the futuristic love story “Her,” Nicole Kidman for “Stoker,” Melissa Leo for “Prisoners,” Jena Malone for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and Emily Watson for “The Book Thief.”

To commemorate the fourth decade of its ceremony, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films added two new categories, including a best-comic-to-film field in which Zack Snyder’s Superman epic “Man of Steel” will compete with James Mangold’s Hugh Jackman-starrer “The Wolverine” and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″ and “Thor: The Dark World.”

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in “Game of Thrones.” (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

The second new category is designed to recognize up-and-coming actors working on television, with nominees including “The Walking Dead’s” Chandler Riggs and “Game of Thrones’” Jack Gleeson, the Irish actor who plays the cruel King Joffrey.

Both “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” are nominated for best TV series, the former in the syndicated/cable television category, where it will complete against “American Horror Story: Coven,” “The Americans,” “Continuum,” “Dexter” and “Haven”; the latter will vie against “Bates Motel,” “Black Sails,” “Breaking Bad,” “Falling Skies” and “Vikings” in the limited run series race.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Blacklist,” “The Following,” “Hannibal,” “Revolution,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Under the Dome” are all nominated for best network TV series.

For a complete list of nominations, visit www.saturnawards.org.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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