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2012 Independent Spirit Award Winners

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Oscar morning, everyone! It’s obviously a pretty busy day. I’ve got to finalize my predictions, prepare for my night of live-blogging and tweeting, and help my girlfriend get our place ready for our Oscar party. Therefore, I’ll keep this brief. Needless to say, anyone not predicting “The Artist” for a Best Picture win, tonight…you know what, I’m not even going to go there. It may be just another one of the Academy’s heart-warming, middle-of-the-road, de facto winners. However, after a nearly unprecedented sweep of the Indy Sprits, last night, following victories in almost everything else, there’s no reason not to bet everything you have on tonight to follow suit.

Interestingly enough, as much as both last night’s and tonight’s victories have been expected, “The Artist” will break a long-standing curse. In the twenty-six year existence of the Indy Spirits, it’s been twenty-five since the last time their Best Picture choice lined up with Oscar (“Platoon”). The last films to come close were “Pulp Fiction,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” Yet, alas, “The Artist” will be the one to finally bust down that barrier.

The highlights of the night? “Margin Call” picking up two awards for Best First Feature and the Robert Altman Award was a nice touch. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to see Steve James’ “The Interrupters” win Best Documentary. The Academy not even adding that film to its shortlist was a grievous mistake. Thank you to the Spirits for helping to rectify that wrong.

On one more note, following Jean Dujardin’s victory last night, it’s become too difficult to continue predicting George Clooney for the Best Actor win. I’d always hoped that if someone were to upset the longtime frontrunner, it would have been Brad Pitt. But with three straight victories with the SAG, the BAFTA and now the Spirit, Dujardin has ultimately transformed himself into the frontrunner. Granted these were some weird awards, with both Clooney and Michael Shannon failing to pick up nominations, despite their films getting Best Picture noms. Boy, I tell ya, if Clooney still wins after I’ve waited this long to change my mind, I will not be a happy camper. But, as Aaron Sorkin would say, that’s life in the NFL…

Here are the winners of the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards:

BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST MALE LEAD: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

BEST FEMALE LEAD: Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: “50/50”

BEST FIRST FEATURE: “Margin Call”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Artist”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Interrupters”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Margin Call”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: “Pariah”

Stay tuned for my last minute Oscar predictions sometime this evening. It should be an interesting night…

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2011 Independent Spirit Award Nominations

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow. Busy morning. Lots of multitasking. I will try to add my two cents about these later. But in the mean time, I ask one question.

WHERE IS “SHAME”?

Eligibility? Who knows. I’ll try to come up with some hard information on why one of best-reviewed films of the year was shut out of the awards that it should have owned.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Best Feature
50/50
Beginners
Drive
Take Shelter
The Artist
The Descendants

Best Director
Mike Mills, Beginners
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Best First Feature
Another Earth
In The Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection

Best Male Lead
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me
Rachel Harris, Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye, Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks, Drive
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston, 50/50
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

John Cassavetes Award for films made under $500,000
Bellflower
Circumstance
Hello Lonesome
Pariah
The Dynamiter

Best Documentary
An African Selection
Bill Cunningham New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
We Were Here

Best Cinematography
Joel Hodge, Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke, The Off Hours
Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Shiffman, The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill & Brit Marling, Another Earth
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Patrick DeWitt, Terri
Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Screenplay
Joseph Cedar, Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Mike Mills, Beginners
Alexander Payne, The Descendants

2011 Spirit Awards: My Thoughts

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

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

All “Winter’s Bone,” All Day Long

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

And yet another massive victory for the independent wonder “Winter’s Bone.”

This morning, the film received 7 nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards, more than any other film. That includes nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Supporting Actor (John Hawkes) and Best Supporting Actress (Dale Dickey).

Complete list of nominees:

BEST FEATURE
127 Hours
Black Swan
Greenberg
The Kids Are All Right
Winter’s Bone

Read the rest after the jump…

Read more…