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Awards Season - Precious and Station Lead Independent Spirit Awards

December 2nd, 2009

As always, the Independent Spirit Awards represent the unofficial start of Awards Season with the announcement of their nominations. This year The Last Station and Precious topped the list of nominees with five each. For the former, it should help build buzz for its 2010 release. For the latter, it is the first step towards possible Awards Season glory and further enhances its already lofty box office potential.

The categories and nominations are...

BEST FEATURE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST FIRST FEATURE

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

BEST SCREENPLAY

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

BEST FEMALE LEAD

BEST MALE LEAD

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST DOCUMENTARY

BEST FOREIGN FILM

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Given to one film's director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

A Serious Man

Also announced were the nominees for the three Filmmaker Grant Awards.

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award

  • Kyle Patrick Alvarez for Easier With Practice
  • Asiel Norton for Redland
  • Tariq Tapa for Zero Bridge
The 12th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.

  • Natalia Almada for El General
  • Jessica Oreck for Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
  • Bill Ross & Turner Ross for 45365
The 11th annual Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.

  • Karin Chien for The Exploding Girl & Santa Mesa
  • Larry Fessenden for I Sell the Dead & The House of the Devil
  • Dia Sokol for Beeswax & Nights and Weekends
Notes and Reactions...

  • Two films top the nomination list: The Last Station and Precious, both with five nominations. Trying to figure out which is in the lead is tough because both grabbed nominations for best film, best director, best script, and received two for acting (one lead and one supporting). The only real difference is The Last Station earned a nomination for Best Screenplay, while Precious earned a nomination for Best First Screenplay.
  • If I were to put money on the line, I would say Precious has a better shot at Awards Season success, but when The Last Station starts its Oscar qualifying run on the 23rd, it could show surprising strength, which could change my mind.
  • The Messenger was next with four nominations, including Best Screenplay, Best First Feature, and two for acting.
  • Sin Nombre is another major player earning nominations for Best Feature Film and Best Director, which are arguably the two most prestigious awards.
  • There are more than a few films that I was pleased to see earn a single nomination including Big Fan, Adventureland, Fifty Dead Men Walking, and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

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Filed under: Awards Season, (500) Days of Summer, Food, Inc., Two Lovers, Sin Nombre, Goodbye Solo, Cold Souls, Everlasting Moments, Humpday, Amreeka, Big Fan, Treeless Mountain, Downloading Nancy, The Last Station, Gentlemen Broncos, An Education, Un Prophète, Me and Orson Welles, That Evening Sun, Paranormal Activity, A Single Man, Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), Madeo, Fifty Dead Men Walking, More Than a Game, The Messenger, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, A Serious Man, Crazy Heart, Adventureland, Anvil! The Story of Anvil