Sony Pictures Classics leads the nominations for the Spirit Awards this year with an incredible 15 nominations though Fox Searchlight's leads all films with 6 nominations. And rather ridiculously even at the Spirits we have to play category fraud with Alfred Molina dubbed supporting in the marriage drama while his screen hubby John Lithgow is declared lead. (sigh). But we're happy that Love is Strange did so well wtih 4 nominations including Best Feature.
In case you forgot last year's nominations and would like a comparison, you can see them here as well as the eventual winners. Of all the awards shows you'd think that Spirit Awards could at least be a little different but last year they weren't with Best Picture and all four acting prizes repeating on Oscar night. Will this year have a greater and thus more exciting and wealth-spreading disconnect? We'll see but given the nominees in the acting categories (many from presumed Oscar hopefuls, we could well see a four for four again.
A strong lineup. But also one that's likely to repeat with Oscar save Love is Strange which never really got an Oscar campaign going despite its brilliance.
Another lineup we could see repeating at Oscar minus Zellner who is the true "indie" director of this lineup.
Relieved that LOVE IS STRANGE, one of the year's best, has not been forgotten.BEST SCREENPLAY
That Big Eyes was eligible is a surprise given that it's a Burton film and his films are about as far from Independent as you can get given his firm status as a globally successful mainstream director. A nice mix of topics and genres here for this particular prize.
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
- SHE'S LOST CONTROL - Anja Marquardt
Three female driven films here which is a nice antidote to the male-centric "Best Feature" list.
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Appropriate Behavior - LOVE this underseen movie
- LITTLE ACCIDENTS, Sara Colangelo
- THE ONE I LOVE, Justin Lader
- SHE'S LOST CONTROL, Anja Marquardt
- DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, Justin Simien
At Sundance very early this year I was all in Appropriate Behavior's corner as the best of the two wild NY girls sleeping around and growing up face/off with Obvious Child. Obviously this one's profile is still miniscule but I think it's funnier.
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Which is the best feature made with a budget under 1/2 a million. The award goes to the writer, director and producer.
TEST resurfaces for one nomination
- BLUE RUIN - Jeremy Saulnier
- IT FELT LIKE LOVE - Eliza Hittman
- MAN FROM RENO - Dave Boyle
Land Ho! and Test are both worth seeing. Alas I still need to see the others so cannot, as of yet, vouch for them.
BEST FEMALE LEAD
- RINKO KIKUCHI, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
- JENNY SLATE, Obvious Child
Tilda came to global fame as the ancient protagonist of Orlando who just kept writing on living through various centuries. She's back to those immortal tricks 22 years later as a vampire in Jarmusch's latest. She always feels right under the Spirit tent.
BEST MALE LEAD
- ANDRE BENJAMIN, Jimi: All is By My Side
- JAKE GYLLENHAAL, Nightcrawler
- MICHAEL KEATON, Birdman
- JOHN LITHGOW, Love is Strange
- DAVID OYELOWO, Selma
With Birdman leading the nominations Michael Keaton is the man to beat here. Though Spirit wins used to surprise. If they return to their old wilder ways you could see an upset via Gyllenhaal or Oyelowo
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
We're at war here!
Oh calm down, Jes. It's just the Spirits!
- PATRICIA ARQUETTE, Boyhood
- JESSICA CHASTAIN, A Most Violent Year
- CARMEN EJOGO, Selma
- ANDREA SUAREZ PAZ, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
- EMMA STONE, Birdman
You'll have to save your "this was very disrespectful" jokes for a future snubbing of Jessica Chastain because she made it to this lineup. This could well be the Oscar lineup, minus Suarez Paz in a true indie.
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
- RIZ AHMED, Nightcrawler
- ETHAN HAWKE, Boyhood
- ALFRED MOLINA, Love is Strange
- EDWARD NORTON, Birdman
- J.K. SIMMONS, Whiplash
Another category that will have significant overlap in that the winner will also take the Oscar. It's either Norton or Simmons with the latter currently looking most likely.
- THE IMMIGRANT - Darius Khonjdi
- BIRDMAN - Emmanuel Lubezki
- IT FELT LIKE LOVE - Sean Porter
- A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT - Lyle Vincent
- SELMA - Bradford Young
An amazing category with Birdman's transcendent virtuousity up against The Immigrant's period glow, A Girl's black and white creepiness, and of course Bradford Young who is awesome.
- BOYHOOD -Sandra Adair
- WHIPLASH - Tom Cross
- NIGHTCRAWLER - John Gilroy
- A MOST VIOLENT YEAR - Ron Patane
- THE GUEST - Adam Wingard
You always know that the nominating committee's really thought about a particular achievement when it's the only nomination for that film. So congratulations to Adam Wingard for his work on The Guest.
- 20000 DAYS ON EARTH
- CITIZEN FOUR
- STRAY DOG
- THE SALT OF THE EARTH
Debra Granik (aka Glenn's new bestie) of Winter's Bone fame is up against Nic Cave and other very buzzy docs. Will Citizen Four take every doc prize this year?
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
An absolutely amazing lineup here. Oscar would do well to take note (only Under the Skin is ineligible in the corresponding Oscar category)
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
This ensemble prize is given to the film's director, casting director and the cast. They never have nominees. Just a winner.