Spirit Awards Regain Independence

Double whammy. McConaughey is nominated for two Spirit Awards.

Last year’s Independent Spirit Awards were almost a mirror image of the Oscars, given out the following day.  With so many indie films in the running for both trophies, it was hardly surprising that the winners of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay at both ceremonies were the exact same people.

That won’t be the case this time.  Today’s announcement of this year’s nominees shows they are more typical of independent movies and most of them are far less likely to get even a look-in at the bigger ceremonies.  But I did say “most” …….

Leading the pack, with five nominations each, are David O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.  If the latter raises an eyebrow, it’s not because it doesn’t deserve recognition, but because it’s easily Anderson’s most mainstream film.  Both have nominations for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay.  Just behind is Behn Zeitlin’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild with four nods, again including Best Feature.

Among the acting nominations, Matthew McConaughey does the double, with nods for Best Actor for Killer Joe and Best Supporting Actor for Magic Mike.  He’s up against Silver Linings Playbook’s Bradley Cooper for Best Actor and the combined might of Sam Rockwell in Seven Psychopaths and Bruce Willis for Moonrise Kingdom in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Jennifer Lawrence is in the running for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, as is nine year old Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts Of The Southern Wild – and both are already being tipped as likely Oscar nominees.  Helen Hunt is in contention for Best Supporting Actress for The Sessions and is currently the front runner for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (the nomination goes without saying).

Whether any of the nominees for Best Feature will find themselves on the Oscar shortlist will depend on how many films are nominated.  If the Academy sticks to last year’s nine, it increases the likelihood of one – or more – of them making it onto the list.  Again, the likely contenders are Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook and/or Beasts Of The Southern Wild.  But they still have current favourites like Argo, The Life Of Pi , The Master and Lincoln to contend with.

We’ll have to wait until 23rd February for the ceremony – the day after the Oscars shin-dig.  With over three months before the climax of the awards season, it’s anybody’s guess whether the Spirit Awards will reflect any trends thrown up by either the Golden Globes or BAFTAs.

It would be refreshing – and truly independent – if they didn’t.

The full list of the Independent Spirit Award nominations for 2013 is on http://www.spiritawards.com/.




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