The Independent Spirit Award Nominees (and mine, too)!

I know this isn’t a major award like the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards, but I love my indie features as much as the next guy. For this reason, I’ll dissect their selections and post my own (as of now this year) keeping in mind the restrictions towards foreign features and such.

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)

  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Amreeka
  • Precious
  • Sin Nombre
  • The Last Station

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
  • Lee Daniels, Precious
  • Cary Fukanaga, Sin Nombre
  • James Grey, Two Lovers
  • Michael Hoffman, The Last Station

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

  • A Single Man
  • Crazy Heart
  • Easier With Practice
  • The Messenger
  • Paranormal Activity

BEST FEMALE LEAD

  • Maria Bello, Downloading Nancy
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Two Lovers
  • Gabby Sidibe, Precious
  • Nisreen Faour, Amreeka

BEST MALE LEAD

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
  • Souleymane Sy Savane, Goodbye Solo
  • Adam Scott, The Vicious Kind

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

  • Mo’Nique, Precious
  • Samantha Morton, The Messenger
  • Natahlie Press, Fifty Dead Men Walking
  • Mia Wasikowska, That Evening Sun
  • Dina Korzun, Cold Souls

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

  • Jemaine Clement, Gentlemen Broncos
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
  • Ramon McKinnon, That Evening Sun
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

  • A Prophet
  • An Education
  • Everlasting Moments
  • Mother
  • The Maid

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

  • A Serious Man

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Cold Souls
  • Crazy Heart
  • Adventureland
  • Precious
  • A Single Man

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

  • Cold Souls
  • Crazy Heart
  • Amreeka
  • Precious
  • A Single Man

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • A Serious Man
  • Sin Nombre
  • Treeless Mountain
  • Cold Souls
  • Bad Lieutenant

So a few notes then: I’m not admiring their ‘Best Feature’ lineup. I have yet to see The Last Station and Amreeka, but I wasn’t big on Precious, felt Sin Nombre was an admirable, but flimsy effort and liked (500) Days of Summer, but felt it was way too hollow to be anything too memorable.

I love the Souleymane Sy Savane and Christian McKay mentions. Both are my winners thus far and look to hold those positions until years end. Jemaine Clement’s nomination makes me giddy because he was flat-out hilarious in Gentlemen Broncos. Even if the film was unnecessarily foul and obvious, his performance brought up the quality to an uncountable degree.

I can’t comment on A Single Man, The Messenger, Crazy Heart or The Last Station’s love. I’m excited for all three though (to some extent and probably in the order presented), which is unfortunate because they did large damage here. I’ll also mention that Cold Souls, while a good first attempt, wasn’t nearly as solid as I’d hoped it to be. Oh, and the lack of Nicolas Cage in lead actor is painful.

The one category I can (almost fully) comment on is foreign. I’ve seen 4/5 of the nominees (and awaiting The Maid to come to Toronto), so I’ll give my two cents here. If I could have it my way, Maria Larsson’s Everlasting Moment would win. It’s a brilliant, brilliant film and one of the finest films of 2009 (and it would also easily make my foreign lineup for 2008). A Prophet is a strong crime ‘epic’ (that’s what critics are calling it) but it waddles around in its own intelligence far too much to appeal to me. Good performances and an interesting use of violence, but it isn’t something that’s particularly impressive – mainly because Gomorrah did the same neo-realist, gritty style last year (but I wasn’t fond of that one too much). Then you’ve Mother (which I’m going to review for TIFF: Day 10 soon) and An Education. Each with two good acts but one shoddy one. An Education’s just happens to be the most vital in the final, while Mother’s is the second. Still, Mother’s worst act isn’t nearly as poor as An Education’s. It’s a fine lineup, but if justice should befall this category, the Swedish flick gets it.

So alright, I’ll do my one’s for now. I won’t go into as much detail, but Feature, Screenplay, Direction, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Foreign seem good (I’ll be including The Hurt Locker though, even though they weren’t able to this year because it was eligible last). I probably won’t update this after I see the other competition, but whatever, this is just done to kill some time and preach the word of indie.

BEST FEATURE
WINNER:

  • A Serious Man

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Blind Date
  • Goodbye Solo
  • My One and Only
  • Sugar

BEST SCREENPLAY
WINNER:

  • A Serious Man

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Black Dynamite
  • Blind Date
  • Goodbye Solo
  • Sugar

BEST LEADING ACTOR
WINNER:

  • Souleymane Sy Savane, Goodbye Solo

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • Michael Shannon, My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man
  • Stanley Tucci, Blind Date

BEST LEADING ACTRESS
WINNER:

  • Evan Rachel Wood, Whatever Works

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Katie Featherston, Paranormal Activity
  • Paulina Gaitan, Sin Nombre
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
  • Kristen Stewart, Adventureland

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
WINNER:

  • Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Kevin Bacon, My One and Only
  • Jemaine Clement, Gentlemen Broncos
  • Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
  • Jason Ritter, The Education of Charlie Banks (had to add another slot for him)
  • Peter Sarsgaard, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
WINNER:

  • Collete Wolfe, Observe and Report

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Patricia Clarkson, Whatever Works
  • Alycia Delmore, Humpday
  • Mo’Nique, Precious
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Two Lovers

BEST DIRECTOR
WINNER:

  • Joel + Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • Ramin Bahrani, Goodbye Solo
  • Lee Isaac Chung, Munyurangabo
  • Werner Herzog, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • Werner Herzog, My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?

BEST FOREIGN FEATURE (made it 10 nominees)
WINNER:

  • Antichrist (Denmark)

THE REST OF THE NOMINEES:

  • In the Loop (UK)
  • Liverpool (Argentina)
  • Lorna’s Silence (Belgium)
  • Maria Larsson’s Everlasting Moment (Sweden)
  • Police, Adjective (Romania)
  • Thirst (South Korea)
  • Tokyo Sonata (Japan)
  • Tony Manero (Chile)
  • The White Ribbon (Germany)

Yeah, so that’s my personal list. Pretty empty year for lead actress (even considering non-indies) so a barren list for that was obvious. Hopefully you check some of the films I listed. There’s one that didn’t make the cut for any of the awards that I want to preach good word about and that’s Youth in Revolt. Cera and the screenplay just missed out on my nominations – they’re both hilarious and I’m campaigning hard (funny, I know) for Cera to get his first GG nomination with his performance there. Just see it when it hits limited release this month.

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