Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Indie Spirit Nominations

Wheeeee. Precursor Oscar season. As you may have noticed from all the "B"s in the sidebar I've mostly enjoyed the intended Best Picture hopefuls but haven't been blown away. That is to say I think the eventual Oscar lineup will be solid (there don't seem to be any embarrassments being treated like godsends) but I still really hope Oscar looks back further than December if they feel similarly underwhelmed. I mean let's get real: The Visitor --which I don't even love as much as most people-- is just as good as many of them. It's just not as anointed as Future Oscar Player. It lacks the scale they like. There's also Rachel Getting Married, WALL•E, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Happy-Go-Lucky which are also better than some of the big ticket entries not to mention that one superhero movie people went crazy for. Why must precursor bodies and the media accept the studio release decisions as proof of worth? But wait. I'm getting way ahead of myself.

I ramble and I worry about the destination but I'm so glad we've begun the journey. Aren't you?

Best Feature Ballast, Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, Wendy & Lucy and The Wrestler
Best First Feature Campos -Afterschool, Jenkins - Medicine for Melancholy, Zalla -Sangre de Mi Sangre, Rivera -Sleep Dealer, Charlie Kauffman -Synechdoche New York
Best Director
Ramin Barani -Chop Shop, Jonathan Demme -Rachel Getting Married, Courtney Hunt -Frozen River, Thomas McCarthy -The Visitor

This is the second time already (following The Satellites) that Frozen River beat The Visitor to a Best Picture citation while McCarthy was nominated for director. Isn't that quirky? I thought The Visitor would have more awards oomph than Frozen River. Also: I really must see this Ballast movie. It leads the nominations, tied with Rachel Getting Married and Frozen River, all with six nominations each but I expect The Wrestler might win the top prize despite the odd omission of Darren Aronofsky in the director shortlist.

Lead Male Javier Bardem -Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Richard Jenkins -The Visitor, Sean Penn -Milk, Jeremy Renner -Hurt Locker, Mickey Rourke -The Wrestler
Supporting Male James Franco -Milk, Anthony Mackie -Hurt Locker, Charlie McDermott -Frozen River, Jim Myron Ross -Ballast, Haaz Sleiman -The Visitor

It's worth noting that Hurt Locker, the long awaited (well, by me) return of director Kathryn Bigelow is not eligible for the Oscars. Indie Spirits have different eligibility requirements. Hurt Locker will be distributed by Summit Entertainment but we don't know quite when. I expect Mickey Rourke wins this without breaking a sweat. The Oscar will be a tougher get.

Lead Female Summer Bishil -Towelhead, Anne Hathaway -Rachel Getting Married, Melissa Leo -Frozen River, Tarra Riggs -Ballast, Michelle Williams -Wendy & Lucy
Supporting Female Penélope Cruz -Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Rosemarie DeWitt -Rachel Getting Married, Rosie Perez -The Take, Misty Upham -Frozen River, Debra Winger -Rachel Getting Married

Big big love for Rachel Getting Married with all three of its main ladies up for prizes. Who wants to bet that Debra Winger shows up to the ceremony. Nobody? Yeah, y'all are too smart.

Depending on whether you think AMPAS voters take the Indie Spirits as "reward enough" for smaller films or as a rowdy youthful "suggestion" or just ignore them altogether today's announcements are either bad news, good news, or indifferent news.

Which do you think they are?

P.S. my Oscar prediction pages are being updated (right this second) to reflect precursor citations that have already started rolling in.
P.S. 2 For a complete list of the ISA nominations, you can click here.


Nate Tyson said...

For some strange reason, I see Richard Jenkins upsetting Rourke for the win. Either way, it is definitely between those two for this one...unless they split the non-biography vote and Sean Penn slips in. But that seems unlikely.

RJ said...

"Also: I really must see this Ballast movie."

Having seen it (got sent a screener), yes you do.

(fingers crossed I will get to interview Lance Hammer)

E Dot said...

The shoes have been tied, the gloves have been put on, and horn has been blown.

Oscar season has officially begun.

Hayden said...

I still have so much hope for Bill Irwin! :D

And in recent Madonna news I've decided that I might prefer the audio from "Like A Virgin" on the Confessions Tour to the original. Go figure.

Murtada said...

Was Milk not indie enough to warrant best pic and best director?

Hurrah for Franco, Penn, Winger and Haaz Sleiman, but where's Hiam Abbas?

Karen said...

I'm glad to see Rachel Getting Married and Medicine for Melancholy in the mix.

gabrieloak said...

I think Michelle Williams is getting the Best Actress award this year. She's pretty much in every frame of the film.

Hayden said...

My money's on Leo, but I would kill to see Hathaway take it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" receive some deserved attention. I expected the nominations for Allen and Cruz (and both will probably win), but I was pleasantly surprised by Bardem's nomination.

Anonymous said...

YAY MISTY UPHAM!!! I'm sorry, but the fact that she was nominated shocked me in the best possible way.

adam k. said...

Could the spirit win be the kiss of death for Cruz's oscar?

Do you think James Franco will take it for Milk? None of the other nominees in his category jumped out to me as potential winners. When one nominee's über-famous and getting oscar buzz and the rest of the field is unknowns, he usually takes it (think Dennis Quaid in FFH).

But yeah, why no Milk in the top categories? They nominated Brokeback.

Michael B. said...

As an Independent Spirit Award voter (Just had to put it out there...And anyone can vote for them) there are some shocks. No Milk for BP, Director or Brolin/Hirsch? Where is Aronofsky?

Right now, my choices are:
Rachel Getting Married
Jonathan Demme
Sean Penn
Anne Hathaway (Tho, I really want Frozen River to win somewhere)
James Franco
Woody Allen (Screenplay)

I'm iffy on:
Supporting Actress:
DeWitt or Cruz? I'm leaning towards DeWitt at this moment..

And Best First Screenplay is the race to watch. Probably the winner of this will take home the Oscar. Jenny Lumet Or Dustin Lance Black!?

Michael B. said...

And Nathaniel,
If Winger is nominated for an Oscar I see no reason in why she wouldn't attend the Spirit Awards. It's the day before the big ceremony.

Glenn Dunks said...

I wasn't expecting Milk to be eligible. It looks like it cost waaay too much money. Although this awards group has an oddball sense of "indie" for movies that are neither indie, or even in the "independent spirit".

But, yeah, since they nominated Penn/Franco/Black why not the film itself and Gus Van Sant?

Glenn Dunks said...

Oh, and YAY for Up the Yangtze getting a Best Documentary nomination.

Michael B. said...

Milk was made for $15 million. The Spirit Awards cap is set at 20.

Michael Parsons said...

I think these nomination will at least raise the profiles for a few deserving films. A few people will seek them out and they may get some traction they wouldn't have before.

All in all a good thing!

Glenn said...

Wow, Milk only cost $15mil? Maybe Focus were keeping costs low so they could splurge on Oscar spending?

Anonymous said...

well done isa's on the haaz sleiman love is last scene with richard jenkins was heartbreaking,i feel he will be in my top 5 by years end plus i still do not get the abass love i found gurira far more moving,jenkins has 2 scenes that stood out as oscar clips his rant at the detention centre when tarik is deported but also his dinner with the mother "i pretend to be busy" he is now on my top 5 ballot.

Anonymous said...

As a voter for the Independent Spirit Awards, my selections will most likely look as follows:

Picture: Rachel Getting Married
Director: Jonathan Demme
Actor: Sean Penn
Actress: Melissa Leo
Supporting Actor: Haaz Sleiman
Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz
Screenplay: Woody Allen

Anonymous said...

So what is up with these "Milk" snubs? That's not good, especially for a group that worships the ground that Gus Van Sant walks on. I'm happiest for the "Rachel Getting Married" love and the trifecta of its ladies getting nods. But no Bill Irwin? Sadness. :( Yay for "The Visitor" too!!

Anonymous said...

You said that "Hurt Locker" isn't "eligible" for Oscars, which isn't exactly correct. It just hasn't screened domestically in 2008 yet. It got nominated for ISA awards because it screened at Toronto.

If it plays a qualifying domestic run this month, then it is eligible in 2008 for Oscars. If it is released in 2009, then it will have to wait and will be eligible for Oscars next year. To qualify, the distributor would only have to screen the film in a couple major cities by the end of the month, which is still possible...