The Independent Spirt Award nominations are fast approaching and they’re one of my very favorite awards of the season. Besides being s slightly edgier show, one of their many other charms is how unpredictable their nominee slate usually is, and I expect that to be the case again this year. That makes predicting their nominees a fool’s errand, but one can still get an idea of what they might be looking towards honoring, if not specifically so. One thing to be aware of is the budgetary limitations that often exclude films you’d expect to do well with Film Independent. It’s just a matter of waiting and seeing what gets nominated, but in the meantime, we can do some guessing. Consider this a broad look at what each category might have in store for us at the Spirit Awards. Perhaps I’ll be able to catch that Indie Spirit…
I wish I could say with any degree of certainty what the contenders for this category (or really any other) might be, but the aforementioned restrictions often make it hard to know what will or won’t make the cut. My best guesses for nomination consideration? Films like 50/50, Another Earth, Another Happy Day, Beginners, Bellflower, The Descendants, Drive, Like Crazy, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Rampart, Red State, Shame, Take Shelter, Terri, and possibly The Tree of Life. If I had to pick the nominees, I’d say it winds up being 50/50, Beginners, The Descendants, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Shame getting nominated, but watch out for Drive and Take Shelter, plus The Tree of Life if it makes it, eligibility wise. Others could be in play, but these are the big fish I think.
You can’t quite take a total cue from Best Feature for this category, but you can sort of use it to form an opinion here, like I will. Flashiness never rules the day here, but they do like style. I’d say Beginners, The Descendants, Drive, Shame, and Take Shelter get the nomination, but other contenders include 50/50, Like Crazy, Rampart, and of course the potential inclusion of The Tree of Life. I wish I knew if it was in or not, as that would make things a bit easier. We’ll just proceed as if it’s in and work like that. There’s also Red State, but I won’t get my hopes up.
Similar to Best Director, this category will mostly come from the Best Feature contenders, with some differences of course. The nominees could very well end up being the same as Director (Beginners, The Descendants, Drive, Shame, and Take Shelter), though I’d say at least one gets upended by the likes of Like Crazy, Rampart, or The Tree of Life. We shall see, as Film Independent does like to go against the grain a bunch…
Best First Feature-
Another Earth, Another Happy Day, Bellflower, Ceremony, Happythankyoumoreplease, Higher Ground, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah, Sympathy for Delicious are among the major films in contention for this award, but of course plenty of others are in play that escape me. My best guess is it ends up being Another Happy Day, Bellflower, Higher Ground, Margin Call, and Martha Marcy May Marlene as the nominees, but honestly…who knows?
Best First Screenplay-
Some of the contenders here include 50/50, Another Happy Day, Bellflower, Ceremony, Happythankyoumoreplease, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah, and Sympathy for Delicious going for this nomination, with the nominees ending up as 50/50, Ceremony, Happythankyoumoreplease, Margin Call, and Sympathy for Delicious. These first time categories are impossible to predict, but they’re always fun to think about.
This particular award consists of the best film made for under 500,000 bucks. I just don’t know which are suitable this year, but the one I know for sure should make it is Bellflower. I’d bet on it to win too, unless the voting body just did’t care for it at all. My guess is that it at least gets in with a nod, alongside some less recognizable fare.
Best Female Lead-
Here is one of the bigger categories, but one real dependent on what’s eligible and what’s not, which makes it difficult. My prediction is that the contenders are taken from a pool of Ellen Barkin, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Jones, Lianna Liberato, Brit Marling, Adepero Oduye, Elizabeth Olson, and Uma Thurman, among others I’m spacing out on. I’d say Thurman is snubbed, and the rest make up the slate of nominees, barring a surprise.
Best Male Lead-
This is a bit of an easier one, since there’s more actors in play. The contenders include George Clooney, Michael Fassbender, Evan Glodell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Woody Harrelson, Hunter McCracken, Ewan McGregor, Michael Parks, Josh Radnor, Michael Shannon, Christopher Thornton, and Anton Yelchin. I think a lot could happen here, but the likely nominees are Clooney, Fassbender, Gosling, Gordon-Levitt, and Shannon, but don’t count out any of these guys.
Best Supporting Female-
This category should include Jessica Chastain, just like most supporting fields this year will, but beyond that we have some choices. There’s Keri Bishe, Ellen Burstyn, Judy Greer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Zoe Kazan, Anna Kendrick, Melanie Laurent, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Shailene Woodley, and many more. It’s a hard one to predict, but I see Chastain making it without a doubt, and joined by Huston, Laurent, Mulligan, and Woodley. This is one competitive category, without a doubt.
Not far behind in terms of competition is this category. Contenders include Albert Brooks, Robert Forster, John Goodman, John Hawkes, Jeremy Irons, Ezra Miller, Ron Pearlman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Seth Rogen, and Kevin Spacey. I think the end result is Brooks, Forster, Hawkes, Miller, and Plummer getting the nomination slots, but one or more could slip. It’s just like every other category, essentially.
Basically consider every eligible film for this particular category, but they might end up nominating the likes of Beginners, The Descendants, Drive, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and The Tree of Life. The ones on the cusp of breaking through include Like Crazy and Take Shelter. I freely admit to not being sure what will happen here, since it’s all up in the air right now.
The money factor makes figuring this one out a tough task, but I’m obviously going to try. I’d expect the nominations to include Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, Bill Cunningham New York, and Buck, with the other slots depending on what’s eligible. Look for the remaining openings to be filled by options like Battle for Brooklyn, How to Die in Oregon, If a Tree Falls, Into the Abyss, Paradise Lost 3, Pina, and Project Nim. As to what ends up getting in, your guesses are as good as mine.
Best Foreign Film-
A number of bigger titles that would otherwise be in major categories might show up here (like The King’s Speech did last year), and that includes The Artist, The Guard, Tyrannosaur, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. Then there are purely foreign films, but I won’t even begin to know which might make the cut. I’d bet on seeing The Artist here though…
Robert Altman Award-
I think that this could go to The Tree of Life if it’s eligible, as a way of embracing the movie in a unique way. If not, perhaps either The Descendants, Drive, or Shame could end up being honored in this relatively new way. It all really depends on what the other nominations end up looking like.
Well, there’s my attempt at previewing the Independent Spirit Awards. Capturing that Indie Spirit is damn hard to do, but I’ve tried my best, so now I turn it over to you. What films and performances are you hoping make the cut? Where does the world of independent film want to look for their prizes? Let me know!
-Thoughts? Discuss on the Forum!