By Dave Karger
December 16, 2010 at 10:16 PM EST

Image Credit: Ron BatzdorfWhen it comes to two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, you underestimate her awards chances at your own peril. When I chatted with the Conviction star in Toronto this year, she seemed more excited about her costar Sam Rockwell’s prospects than her own. But here she is on the SAG Awards list of Best Actress nominees alongside Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, and Jennifer Lawrence. “Well, I wasn’t underestimated by my peers, which I really appreciate!” Swank told me today after hearing the news. “Any time I went to a screening, audiences were responding to the movie. They were moved and touched by it.” SAG voters clearly found Swank’s uplifting performance more appealing than moodier fare like Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine or Lesley Manville in Another Year. And of course it’s rich that she’s now a dark-horse contender for a nomination in a year when Bening, who’s lost two Oscars to Swank over the years, is a front-runner.

So will Hilary now land her third career Oscar nod? The SAG nomination puts her in the thick of it to be sure. I still think Williams or Manville might have a better shot with the Academy, but if today has taught us anything, it’s that you should never count Swank out of an awards-season race.