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2011 Spirit Awards: My Thoughts

The “Winter’s Bone” love definitely does not meet a front on this blog. The film is an incredibly solid piece that has a great sense of its characters and its setting, with a tense story and fantastic acting. While I haven’t seen half of the field of Best Feature nominees, at this point, I would have no problem with it taking home the win.

It was kind of obvious that certain films would do well here. “The Kids Are All Right” is this year’s quirky, off-beat, crowd-pleasing Sundance hit. It seems to be tradition in recent years (Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire). An independent film like that can’t help but get noticed here. Same thing for “Rabbit Hole.” Even though it somehow missed out on a Best Feature nomination (to “Greenberg,” of all things), John Cameron Mitchell has done a lot for independent film in the last decade and has an excellent track record with the Spirits. Therefore, I’m not surprised it got nominations for Kidman, Eckhart (who might have more to offer in this movie than I thought), Screenplay, and Mitchell for Director.

Now, on to that which baffles me. The “Greenberg” love. Isn’t it a little bit too pedestrian to hold such stature here, or does it just seem that way because of Ben Stiller? Because it managed to beat out films the likes of “Rabbit Hole,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Never Let Me Go” and, by God, “Blue Valentine?”

Speaking of “Blue Valentine,” where the hell is it? I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this film, its stars and its makers. That it’s going to turn the world of cinema on its heels. If it was going to excel anywhere, I would imagine it be here. Yet, all it manages is a one nomination for Best Actress? Where in the world is Ryan Gosling?

Meanwhile, Bill Murray gets a nomination for a fairly average turn, while Robert Duvall is passed over in a performance that’s been talked about for going on two years now. Also, “Jack Goes Boating” gets 3 nominations, yet it seems that they went out of their way to avoid nominating the film’s director and star, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Strange times.

My predictions for the wins (3 months before the win so probably incorrect):

BEST FEATURE
Winter’s Bone

BEST DIRECTOR
Debra Granik – Winter’s Bone

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Kids Are All Right

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Jack Goes Boating

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Tiny Furniture

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Daddy Longlegs

BEST ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone

BEST ACTOR
James Franco – 127 Hours

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney – Life During Wartime

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Exit Through the Gift Shop

BEST FOREIGN FILM
The King’s Speech

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