Over the last decade, the Independent Spirit Awards have been an excellent place for some Oscar campaigns to begin. Just last year, Brie Larson, Tom McCarthy, and “Son of Saul” began their roads to gold with nominations here. The “Indie Spirits” continue to be an excellent place to showcase the best of independent cinema with the new slew of nominations. This year, big winners included “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Jackie.” However, there are a lot of nominees to celebrate. With “Moonlight” removed from the acting races (because it won the Robert Altman award), the group was able to field some spectacular nominees. With this in mind, what are some of your favorite nominations at the 2016 Independent Spirit Awards? Here are a few of mine, but let us hear yours in the comments below!
The nominations can be found here as a refresher.
1. Viggo Mortensen- Best Male Lead for “Captain Fantastic”
One of the exciting things about Viggo’s turn in “Captain Fantastic” is how quickly you’re reminded how strong he is as an actor. Mortensen is balancing a really unique form of comedy in the film, while acting against young and raw talented children. This isn’t “The Lord or the Rings” or “Eastern Promises,” where he is opposite adult, well regarded actors. He is able to elevate the already strong material, and was a perfect choice for an Indie Spirit nomination. More than anything, he needed this for his Oscar campaign, where he is going to have to battle to the very end to get a nomination. Here’s hoping it comes to pass.
2. James Laxton- Best Cinematography for “Moonlight”
One of the most striking pieces of “Moonlight” was the cinematography, which so perfectly captures moments throughout the film. From the intro scene with the extended, swirling take, to Kevin preparing dinner for Chiron, to scenes with Naomi Harris speaking into the camera, the cinematography really pops off the screen. Each shot is so carefully crafted and composed, there’s little doubt that its one of the best of the year. Laxton hasn’t really gotten his due to this point because the cast and Jenkins are receiving most of the praise (with good reason). However, Laxton needs to start building his precursor slate, and given the other nominees, he should take home the prize here.
3. The Entire Best Supporting Male Nominee Group
The Spirits is at its best, when it assembles diverse nominees in deep categories. Ben Foster gives the loudest performance of the group, yipping and hollering as a man on a bank robbing spree. Ralph Fiennes gives a similar performance in “A Bigger Splash,” but below the surface there is far more at play. Craig Robinson plays subtle in “Morris From America” but remains powerful in every scene. Lucas Hedges is beginning to build his Oscar case. Shia LaBeouf reminds us that he’s extremely talented, even with his quirks. Strong lineups like this show that Oscar will have depth to choose from, we just have no idea which way they’re leaning yet.