You know it's the start of the awards season when two big groups are announcing their awards simultaneously, and despite the NYFCC's attempts to gain attention of late, the big news of the day is the nominations for the 27th Film Independent's Spirit Awards, which were unveiled by Anthony Mackie and Kate Beckinsale this morning.
Despite focusing on independent film, with (relatively) strict budgetary cut-offs, it's not a bad signifier to certain degrees as to how the Oscars might be heading, and it's certainly given a few films a boost, while being something of a blow to other hopefuls. Awards front-runner "The Artist," which despite the assumptions of some, was eligible, leads the pack with five nominations, including Best Feature, but it was matched by Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter," more traditional Spirit fare, which also scored five, including acting nods for Jessica Chastain and lead Michael Shannon.
Just behind were "Beginners," which is having an excellent week, having been the joint winner of Best Film at the Gotham Awards last night, and Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," both of which received four, although in the case of the latter, interestingly not for George Clooney in the Best Actor category. "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Drive" also managed four nods, although Sean Durkin's film was nominated, as is tradition, only in the Best First Feature category, rather than the main prize.
Obviously, the Spirits march to the beat of their own drum somewhat -- hence nominations for the teeny-tiny likes of "Gun Hill Road," "In The Family" and "Think of Me," further down the list, and we wouldn't want it to any other way. But "Take Shelter"'s success does bode well for Michael Shannon's Best Actor chances in more mainstream ceremonies, while conversely Michael Fassbender's absence (and indeed, the almost total lack of attention for "Shame," bar a token Best International Film nod, seems to be a poor signifier for that film, and for its star (although we wonder if it was eligible, although if "The Artist" was, surely it would be too?)
We'll get more into these picks, and the NYFCC awards, in our Amazing Race column later in the week. But in the meantime, check out the full list of awards below. The winners will be announced just ahead of the Oscars, on February 25th.
Mike Mills - "Beginners"
Nicolas Winding Refn - "Drive"
Jeff Nichols - "Take Shelter"
Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"
Alexander Payne - "The Descendants"
Best First Feature
"In The Family"
"Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Best Male Lead
Demian Bichir - "A Better Life"
Jean Dujardin - "The Artist"
Ryan Gosling - "Drive"
Woody Harrelson - "Rampart"
Michael Shannon - "Take Shelter"
Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose - "Think Of Me"
Rachel Harris - "Natural Selection"
Adepero Oduye - "Pariah"
Elizabeth Olsen - "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Michelle Williams - "My Week With Marilyn"
Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks - "Drive"
John Hawkes - "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Christopher Plummer - "Beginners"
John C. Reilly - "Cedar Rapids"
Corey Stoll - "Midnight In Paris"
Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain - "Take Shelter"
Angelica Huston - "50/50"
Janet McTeer - "Albert Nobbs"
Harmony Santana - "Gun Hill Road"
Shaileen Woodley - "The Descendants"
John Cassavettes Award
"An African Election"
"Bill Cunningham New York"
"The Redemption of General Butt Naked"
"We Were Here"
Best International Film
"The Kid With A Bike"
Joel Hodge - "Bellflower"
Benjamin Kasulke - "The Off Hours"
Darius Khondji - "Midnight In Paris"
Guillaume Schiffman "The Artist"
Jeffrey Waldron - "The Dynamiter"
Joseph Cedar - "Footnote"
Michel Hazanivicius - "The Artist"
Tom McCarthy - "Win Win"
Mike Mills - "Beginners"
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash - "The Descendants"
Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill & Brit Marling - "Another Earth"
J.C. Chandor - "Margin Call"
Patreck DeWitt - "Terri"
Phil Johnston - "Cedar Rapids"
Will Reiser - "50/50"
Truer Than Fiction Award
Piaget Producers Award
Someone To Watch
Robert Altman Award - "Margin Call"