Friday, March 05, 2010

Who Would You Vote For at The Spirit Awards?

The Spirit Awards are nearly upon us. I will live blog haphazardly tonight whilst cleaning my apartment and fine tuning Oscar Party Plans. In the meantime, while you wait for the festivities to begin, I thought you should hear from a Spirit voter. So I'll let him take it from here.
Hello everybody! Michael B here, writing my first (and hopefully not last) guest post. Let me tell you a few things about myself before I begin. I’m 19 years old, from Los Angeles, but reside in New York City during the fall and spring. I attend NYU and major in Dramatic Writing, or also known as, Film, Play and Television Writing. I’m a huge Oscar buff—I live five blocks away from the Academy Building—and have been an avid reader and “chatty moviegoer” at The Film Experience for over five years. And I do too love the actresses. I’m here to talk about this year’s Independent Spirit Award’s and which nominees will (literally) get my vote.

Best Feature: (500) Days of Summer, Amreeka, Precious, Sin Nombre and The Last Station

When these set of nominees came out in early December I had only seen Precious, which I absolutely loved. Now after viewing the other four (very) worthy nominees, my preference hasn’t changed. What I do wish was that Crazy Heart had replaced The Last Station. And for those of you who have not yet seen Amreeka or Sin Nombre, do so immediately.

Precious is also my favorite from this crowd as you may have ascertained. But will the Spirit awards do that "it's nominated for an Oscar, so it deserves our win thing... or will they think more independently? But I don't mean to interrupt. Back to Michael
Best Director: The Coen Brothers-A Serious Man, Lee Daniels -Precious, Cary Fukunaga-Sin Nombre , James Grey-Two Lovers and Michael Hoffman-The Last Station

Daniels. He gets a lot of flack (especially from my fellow dramatic writers) but had Daniel’s not had helmed this it would have been an entirely different movie. There’s a reason why all his actors are in love with him. Yet, I’m saddened that Marc Webb wasn’t nominated in his fabulous directorial debut for (500) Days Of Summer.

Best Female Lead: Maria Bello-Downloading Nancy, Helen Mirren-The Last Station, Gwyneth Paltrow-Two Lovers, Gabby Sidibe -Precious and Nisreen Faour, Amreeka

Gabby Sidibe, in a sublime performance that should win the Oscar. The other four ladies are remarkable, especially Paltrow and Faour.

The continued love for Gabourey Sidibe from so many quarters is essentially why I think Meryl Streep is losing to Sandra Bullock on Sunday night. One potential beloved spoiler can sometimes disrupt the awards momentum of a "favorite". But when two to three of the other nominees have major support, the frontrunner is going to win (see Hilary Swank's Million Dollar Baby triumph. Too many people were pulling votes and siphoning them from each other to put up a real fight against that lady boxer. That's a famous example of the situation). Anyway... Michael was saying...
Best Male Lead: Jeff Bridges -Crazy Heart, Colin Firth-A Single Man, Joseph Gordon Levitt-(500) Days of Summer, Souleymane SySavane-Goodbye Solo, Adam Scott-The Vicious Kind.

How or why Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Stuhlbarg were snubbed for Two Lovers and A Serious Man, I’ll never know, but what I do know is that Jeff Bridges gives the best male lead performance of the year.

Best Supporting Female: Dina Korzun-Cold Souls, Mo’Nique-Precious, Samantha Morton-The Messenger, Natalie Press-Fifty Dead Men, Mia Wasikowska-That Evening Sun

Mo’Nique. I don’t think it’s even debatable. Wasikowska is the next big thing and should have won an Emmy for In Treatment, but we’ll leave that for another time.

Best Supporting Male: Jemaine Clements -Gentleman Broncos, Woody Harrelson-The Messenger, Christian McKay-Me and Orson Welles, Raymond McKinnon -That Evening Sun, Christopher Plummer-The Last Station

I’ve been going back and forth between Harrelson and Plummer for ages. Then I realized I was putting Plummer on equal footing with Harrelson because it was not only just a good performance but also because he’s been around for ages. I told myself I would not be one of those voters!

But it's so hard NOT to be one of those voters. We're all human. I suppose McKay is my favorite from this bunch but I also sometimes love it when the true tiny indies win something and I thought McKinnon was fantastic in That Evening Sun.
Best First Feature:A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Easier With Practice, The Mesenger, Paranormal Activity

This category was a toss-up between A Single Man, Crazy Heart, and The Messenger—all movies that I loved and all movies that I thought were well directed, acted, written and produced. But after viewing Crazy Heart for the second time I had a winner.

You could sit through it a second time? I kid I kid. I am firmly in the "don't get it" camp in regards to everything outside of Jeff Bridges (and the songs).
Best Screenplay:The Messenger, The Last Station, The Vicious Kind, Adventureland and (500) Days of Summer

Summer was the best written script, refreshing and new. Saddened by it’s Oscar snub.

Best First Screenplay: Cold Souls, Crazy Heart, Precious, Amreeka and A Single Man

Precious. No surprise here. A great screenplay based on a great novel. Sad that it will be Geoffrey Fletcher’s only win of the awards season.

Best Cinematograpy: Roger Deakins-A Serious Man, Adriano Goldman-Sin Nombre, Anne Misawa-Treeless Mountain, Andrij Parekh- Could Souls, Peter Zeitlinger-Bad Lieutenant

Sin Nombre. No question about it.

Best Foreign Film:A Prophet, An Education, Everlasting Moments, Mother and The Maid

The Maid is a must-see. Felt as if I was watching a documentary and Catalina Saavedra’s performance is the best by an actress this year. I do think that lazy voters will check off An Education without having seen any of the other nominees. Sigh.

End Notes: I don’t vote for categories that I haven’t seen the majority of the films or if I haven’t seen any—which is why I didn’t vote for Documentary or The John Cassavetes Award. And finally, my track record with the Spirit Awards hasn’t been the greatest. Last year I voted for Rachel Getting Married in every single category and guess what happened? It went home empty handed. (And for Rachel fans…I voted for DeWitt, not Winger). Yet I suspect I’ll do better this year. How bout you ? Who do you think will and should win at this year’s Spirit Awards?

Awww, I knew I liked Michael B for a reason. Rachel Getting Married fans are always welcome chez moi.

Come back later for that SPIRITed live-blogging.


Steven said...

" I don’t vote for categories that I haven’t seen the majority of the films or if I haven’t seen any—which is why I didn’t vote for Documentary or The John Cassavetes Award."

YESSSSS! If only people like this voted for the Oscars. And his picks are great as well. I'm in the Crazy Heart camp! Hope Bridges wins.

Dolly said...

A Single Man deserves to win in all of its categories. Especially for Firth. WHAT a performance!

But this is why I like the Spirit Awards. They'll nominate performances that people don't realize are soo good! Like Mia.

Christine said...

Okay, I just have to ask. How do you get chosen to vote? I'm curious how the process works.

Anonymous said...

Lee Daniels should get a Razzie for his direction in Precious.

Franco Marciano said...

@ Christine, based on what I see from the website, one can vote for the Spirit Awards by becoming a dues-paying member of the Film Independent organization. They have different membership levels, with different perks that come along with it(which aren't bad IMHO). I'm guessing Michael B has the student membership level since he's studying at NYU?
BTW, thanks for your insight Michael, and I too love that you only vote in categories where you've seen most of the films.
@ Nate, I wish I was going to your Oscar Party! Have fun.

Christine said...

I need to add that my comment is nothing against Michael B. He seems like a thoughtful and careful movie-goer and, generally, a mensch. But how does the Spirit Award panel decide who gets to vote and why?

DH said...

So question. Does no one think all the backlash The Blind Side got for being nominated for Best Picture will hurt Sandra Bullock's chances of Best Actress. I feel like we're in for big spoiler in that category, either for Mulligan or Sidbe, or Streep.

Franco Marciano said...

@ Denzel, I sincerely hope so.

Michael B. said...

So Michael here (of course) to answer Christine's question.

I am a Film Independent Member and so thus I get to vote for the Spirit Awards. I pay the dues because the screenings they have in Los Angeles (when I'm there) are fantastic. I've been to screenings with Q&A's Hathaway, Rourke, Clive Owen, Martin McDonagh along with many others...

I really recommend signing up in you live in LA--and anyone can join.

Michael Parsons said...

Love the post Michael (I ignore people who post with 'Anonymous' because if you can't use your real name when bashing, then you bash has no merit)

So glad you shared your ballot with me, and hope you are right in all categories. Look forward to our next chat.

Christine said...

Michael, it's fascinating to hear the thought process behind how people vote I can only hope that the rest of the voting members of the Spirit Awards have as good of taste as you do.


Franco -- fly over. ya got two days ;)

Andy Scott said...

Sin Nombre's cinematography was fantastic!

Kudos for picking that and not something like Roger Deakins for A Serious Man.


Andy Scott Lives!!!!!

how ya been?

Ashley said...

I stopped caring about the Spirit Awards after they snubbed Whip It.

Marshall1 said...

Definitely the Maid is one of the best this season and the lead actress performance by far is the best as well (above Streep and Bullock for me, and just as powerful as Sidibe). I saw it in the Vancouver Film Festival by chance (the story and buzz attracted me so I just blindly bought ticket for what reward!)

Simon said...

I'm pretty sure they didn't nominate Phoenix because they didn't want to risk him going to the show. With the hippity hop and whatnot.

I like the Spirits. They show me movies I haven't heard of.