Previewing the Independent Spirit Awards!


spirit-awards-2013-nominations-led-by-moonrise-kingdom-and-silver-linings-playbookI’ve often said that my favorite awards show each year usually winds up being the Independent Spirit Awards. Part of that has to do with how the nominees often reflect my tastes more so than many other awards, but also I just really enjoy how unpredictable they can be. It’s not a total love affair though, as there’s an odd commercialism that’s at play and runs counter to the supposed indie spirit of it all. Filmmaker Vincent Pereira actually commented on a Facebook post I did stating that I was finishing this piece and his thoughts on the show only reminded me more about the sort of false independence on display. Still, any show that once upon a time gave Kevin Smith an award can’t be all bad in my book. As is always the case right before the Oscars, I’m here to preview the Spirit Awards. My predictions are usually way off, though this year I may actually do better here than with the Academy Awards…go figure. Anyway, I know you all are mostly interested in this piece for the predictions, so I’ll shut up and get right to it. Enjoy this spin off of the Will Win/Should Win series focused on the Spirit Awards!

Best Feature
Lets start right at the top with the biggest prize of the show. The nominees here are Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, Keep the Lights On, Moonrise Kingdom, and Silver Linings Playbook. I feel confident in saying this is between Beasts, Moonrise, and Silver Linings, with the bookending titles having the upper hand. I’d love to see Bernie pull the upset, but it seems like this should be Silver Linings Playbook’s to lose. A victory for Beasts of the Southern Wild wouldn’t shock me, but the former has a big edge over the latter.

Will Win: Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook
Could Win: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Director
There’s no surefire guarantee that Picture and Director will match up, so keep that in mind. The nominees are Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Much as in Picture, this is between Anderson, Russell, and Zeitlin’s movies. I don’t see Russell losing this one, though if he does it’ll more likely be to Zeitlin than Anderson.

Will Win: David O. Russell
Should Win: David O. Russell
Could Win: Benh Zeitlin

Best First Feature
The baby brother of Best Picture here features Fill the Void, Gimme the Loot, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Sound of My Voice as the nominees. Perks seems like the obvious frontrunner, but I think either Safety Not Guaranteed or Sound of My Voice has a shot too. In the end, the most popular of the bunch emerges victorious.

Will Win: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Should Win: Safety Not Guaranteed
Could Win: Sound of My Voice

John Cassavetes Award

The prize given to the best film made for under $500,000 each year, the nominees are Breakfast with Curtis, The Color Wheel, Middle of Nowhere, Mosquita y Mari, and Starlet. The only three I’ve heard of are The Color Wheel, Middle of Nowhere, and Starlet, so I’ll take the easy way and say it’s between them. I do think it’s probably a slam dunk for Middle of Nowhere, but I’ve been wrong in this particular category a lot over the years.

Will Win: Middle of Nowhere
Should Win: Starlet
Could Win: The Color Wheel

Best Screenplay
An eclectic group makes up the nominees here, and they are Keep the Lights On (Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola), Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh), and Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell). While I’d love to see Kazan win this one, and even McDonagh would be cool, this seems like Russell’s to lose. Anderson and Coppola are likely the runners up, but I see Russell winning this one easily.

Will Win: David O. Russell
Should Win: Zoe Kazan
Could Win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Best First Screenplay
The young pup version of Screenplay, the nominees here are Celeste and Jesse Forever (Rashida Jones and Will McCormick), Fill the Void (Rama Burshtein), Gayby (Jonathan Lisecki), Robot & Frank (Christopher D. Ford), and Safety Not Guaranteed (Derek Connelly). This is a wide open category, so anyone really could take it. I give the slight edge to Connelly with Jones and McCormick right behind him.

Will Win: Derek Connelly
Should Win: Rashida Jones and Will McCormick
Could Win: Jones and McCormick

Best Female Lead
A couple of Oscar hopefuls headline Female Lead this year, as is usually the case. The nominees are Linda Cardellini (Return), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed). I’d love to see Winstead pull the upset, but she’s a long shot. This is really between Lawrence and Wallis, with the smart money on the former.

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should Win: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Could Win: Quvenzhané Wallis

Best Male Lead
The most stuffed category this year (literally, with six nominees), Male Lead is extremely strong. The nominated gentlemen are Jack Black (Bernie), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Thure Lindhardt (Keep the Lights On), Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe), and Wendell Pierce (Four). Black, Cooper, and Hawkes are fighting it out for this one, but it looks like this is Cooper’s to lose, making for another Silver Linings win.

Will Win: Bradley Cooper
Should Win: Jack Black
Could Win: John Hawkes

Best Supporting Female
For this category, we have an interesting group. It consists of Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister), Ann Dowd (Compliance), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice), and Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere). This is a hard one to predict, with Dowd, Hunt, and Marling about equal in terms of their chances. Dowd would please me most, but Marling or Hunt seem the most likely. I’ll predict a Marling upset, but this could go almost any way.

Will Win: Brit Marling
Should Win: Ann Dowd
Could Win: Helen Hunt

Best Supporting Male
A very unusual lineup (with no Oscar crossover) makes up Supporting Male. The guys fighting it out here are Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike), David Oyelowo (Middle of Nowhere), Michael Pena (End of Watch), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths), and Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom). Pena is the most deserving, but probably the least likely. I had initially picked McConaughey, but at the last-minute I’ve switched to Rockwell. Still, Oyelowo and especially Willis have a chance here. Yet another toss-up in my book…

Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Should Win: Michael Pena
Could Win: Matthew McConaughey

Best Cinematography
The DP’s cited here are Yoni Brook (Valley of Saints), Lol Crawley (Here), Ben Richardson (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Roman Vasyanov (End of Watch), and Robert D. Yeoman (Moonrise Kingdom). I’d love to see Vasyanov’s work cited, but I’m not expecting it to happen. Richardson and Yeoman are the most likely, with the former a more likely victor than the latter. Go with Richardson here.

Will Win: Ben Richardson
Should Win: Roman Vasyanov
Could Win: Robert D. Yeoman

Best Documentary
Making up this nonfiction category are the following nominees: The Central Park Five, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, and The Waiting Room. I see a three-horse race between The Central Park Five, How to Survive a Plague, and The Invisible War, with the latter two being well in the lead. I think How to Survive a Plague will wind up taking it in a close call.

Will Win: How to Survive a Plague
Should Win: The Invisible War
Could Win: The Central Park Five

Best Foreign Film
Given to the best International production, the nominees in this final category are Amour, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Rust and Bone, Sister, and War Witch. I can’t see Amour losing this one, but if there’s an upset to be found it’ll be courtesy of Rust and Bone. Still…it’s Amour all the way.

Will Win: Amour
Should Win: War Witch
Could Win: Rust and Bone

There you have it folks, my best guesses for the Spirit Awards. I’m not expecting to do too well, but we shall see. Until Saturday night folks, take these with a grain of salt…

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!