We've barely had time to take a breath since the Gotham Awards were awarded last night, and already we're moving on, because their big cousin, the 28th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, revealed their nominations just a few minutes ago.
Among a strong slate, it's two potential Oscar contenders that came off the best, in the shape of David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," and Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which each picked up five nominations. There was some speculation in advance as to the eligibility of the former, but as usual, Harvey Weinstein worked his magic, giving the film an important pick-me-up after some mildly disappointing box office numbers. After picking up Best Feature at the Gothams yesterday, this is the second big boost in 24 hours for "Moonrise Kingdom," which looks like it might have the voter support to make it into the Best Picture field with the Academy. A nice surprise for the latter was a well-deserved Supporting Male nomination for Bruce Willis, though it came at the expense of Robert De Niro for "Silver Linings Playbook."
Also doing very well were "Beasts of the Southern Wild," gay romance "Keep The Lights On" and Sundance winner "Middle Of Nowhere," which all picked up four nominations, though the latter missed out on Best Feature, having to settle for a nod in the microbudget John Cassavettes Award category. Richard Linklater's "Bernie" rounded out the Best Feature field, and also picked up a nod for star Jack Black, while "Fill The Void," "Gimme The Loot," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Sound Of My Voice" and "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" made up the First Feature nominees. "The Loneliest Planet" director Julia Loktev got a directing nod for her film, while Matthew McConaughey picked up two nominations -- Best Male Lead for "Killer Joe," and Best Supporting Male for "Magic Mike." Who'd have guessed that a year ago? It could also give McConaughey a boost for his Oscar chances for "Magic Mike," which have been flagging as of late.
The most notable loser was probably either Nicholas Jarecki's "Arbitrage," which missed out altogether, or "The Sessions," which, while it won nods for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, missed out otherwise, whereas many had pegged it as a likely Best Feature nominee. Most other omissions -- including "The Master" -- are due to the films being too expensive, or otherwise ineligible. Also of note: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence continuing their march to the Oscars with nominations, a surprise nod for Wendell Pierce for the under-the-radar "Four," a deserved mention for Mary Elizabeth Winstead for "Smashed" (which may just keep her long-shot Oscar chances alive), three acting nominations for "Middle Of Nowhere," and a lead actress nomination for Linda Cardenelli for "Return" -- the "Freaks & Geeks" star has made headlines by funding her own awards campaign.
Altogether, we can't complain too much here -- the love was spread quite equally, with semi-studio pictures like "Seven Psychopaths" and "End Of Watch" each winning two nods, but smaller films like "Compliance" and "Here" also making the cut in various categories. It speaks to what's been a very, very strong year for American independent film, and it's about as diverse and agreeable a line up as we can remember. Read the full nominations on page two. [Indiewire]