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Spirit Award Nominees Announced

This might be the most commercial year of the Film Independent Spirit Awards yet. Sure, the show often has some Oscar crossover (witness Natalie Portman's win last year for "Black Swan"), but most of the nominees this year are all films people have actually heard of.

The nominees, with commentary in some places.


"The Artist"


"The Descendants"



"Take Shelter"

All these films are or should be players in the Oscar race. And after doing well at last night's Gotham Awards, "Beginners" might emerge as a real player outside of just Supporting Actor.


Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"

Mike Mills, "Beginners"

Jeff Nichols, "Take Shelter"

Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"

Nicolas Winding Refn, "Drive"

At least two of these directors--Payne and Hazanavicius--will be on the Oscar list.


Joseph Cedar, "Footnote"

Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"

Tom McCarthy, "Win Win"

Mike Mills, "Beginners"

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"

Nice to see "Win Win" getting some love here, though I wish it had earned a picture nod.


"Another Earth"

"In the Family"

"Margin Call"

"Martha Marcy May Marlene"

"Natural Selection"

Wow--usually this is a list of unseen movies, but I've seen all of these except "In the Family." Tough call.


Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, "Another Earth"

J.C. Chandor, "Margin Call"

Patrick deWitt, "Terri"

Phil Johnston, "Cedar Rapids"

Will Reiser, "50/50"


(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)



"Hello Lonesome"


"The Dynamiter"

Someone to Watch Award: Simon Arthur, Mark Jackson and Nicholas Ozeki

Piaget Producers Award are Chad Burris, Sophia Lin and Josh Mond

Truer Than Fiction Award: Heather Courtney, Danfung Dennis, and Alma Har'El

Best Cinematography: Joel Hodge (Bellflower), Benjamin Kuh-Sulk (The Off Hours), Darius Kond-Jee (Midnight in Paris), Gui-omme Shiffman (The Artist), Jeffrey Waldron (The Dynamiter)

Best International Film: "A Separation", "Melancholia", "Shame", "The Kid With a Bike", "Tyrannosaur"

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

Best Supporting Female: Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter), Angelica Huston (50/50), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Harmony Santana (Gun Holl Road), and Shaileen Woodley (The Descendants)

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

Yay for Corey Stoll, finally getting some awards love for his turn as Ernest Hemingway.

Best Female Lead: Lauren Ambrose (Think of Me), Rachael Harris (Natural Selection), Adepero Oduye (Pariah), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

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

Would love to see these actors names on the Oscar list, but other than Dujardin and possibly Shannon, it's not likely. Interesting to note that George Clooney, a favorite for Oscar gold for "The Descendants," didn't make the cut.

 --Jenelle Riley

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