12 Years a Slave hasn't even been released in most countries yet but has already been heaped with accolades with more awards bound to blossom from the scores of nominations Steve McQueen's movie has garnered. The Screen Actors Guild awards nominations are out and yet again the slavery drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor has emerged on top with four major nominations.

12 Years A Slave Chiwetel Ejiofor
Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' Leads The SAG Nominations.

The critically lauded movie is up for best ensemble, best male actor (Chewitel Ejiofor), best supporting male actor (Michael Fassbender) and best supporting female actor (Lupita Nyong'o). 12 Years will come up against American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Lee Daniels' The Butler and August: Osage County in the coveted Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture category, according to the LA Times.

Watch The '12 Years A Slave' Trailer:

The standard of movies in what is effectively the best film category also shows a strong emphasis on Americana in cinema this year. However, there were some notable snubs from in this hard-fought category, including Captain Phillips, Inside Llewyn Davis and The Wolf of Wall Street. Even though Nebraska grabbed a supporting actress and a lead actor nominations, it was interestingly left out of the runnings for the main prize.

August Osage County
'August: Osage County' Has Been Nominated For Three SAG Awards.

The most notable absence from the Outstanding Male Actor was Robert Redford whose performance and largely self-performed stunts in All Is Lost had even set the Oscar whispers going. Equally, American Hustle's Christian Bale was snubbed in the best actor runnings which came as a mild surprise for those trumpeting the actor's transformation into an overweight, sleazy con-artist. However, the nominations in this category were pretty predictable with Nebraska's Bruce Dern, 12 Years' Chiwetel Ejiofor, Captain Phillips' Tom Hanks, Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew Mcconaughey and Lee Daniels' The Butler's Forrest Whitaker all up for the best actor gong.

The female counterpart award threw up similarly few surprises, with Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett, Gravity's Sandra Bullock, Philomena's Judi Dench, August: Osage County's Meryl Streep and Saving Mr. Banks' Emma Thompson vying for the prime actress position in the run-up to March's Oscar ceremony.

Lee Daniels The Butler
Lee Daniels' The Butler's Enduring Success Could Carry It Through To Oscars Success.

The supporting roles nominations show a little more diversity with the late actor James Gandolfini nominated for his role in rom-com Enough Said and Daniel Brühl given the nod for his role as racer Niki Lauda in Rush. Barkhad Abdi's terrifyingly intense performance Somali pirate Muse in Captain Phillips is also in contest for the award along with Jared Leto's transvestite Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club and of course Michael Fassbender for 12 Years.

In the supporting actress category Jennifer Lawrence's role in American Hustle and Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years were easy to call but Nebraska's June Squibb, August: Osage County's Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey's turn in The Butler were each honoured for their stand-out supporting performances. However, Amy Adams American Hustle character is a noted absence in the SAG awards, particularly after critics have routinely praised her seductive Sydney Prosser.

Dallas Buyers Club
'Dallas Buyers Club' Could Emerge As One Of The Surprise Front-Runners This Awards Season.

The SAG Awards will be handed out on the 18th January 2014 but awards watchers should look out for the upcoming Golden Globes nominations coming up very soon for an indication of where this awards season is heading.