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Awards Season - Ballast, River, and Rachel Getting Nominations

December 2nd, 2008

It's the official start of award season as the Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced today. At first glance, no one film jumps out as the big player, but Frozen River did manage to pull in seven nods, while Rachel Getting Married and Ballast earned six each.

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 DOCUMENTARY

BEST FOREIGN FILM

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

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

Synecdoche, New York

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

Acura Someone to Watch Award

  • Lynn Shelton for My Effortless Brilliance
  • Nina Paley for Sita Sings the Blues
  • Barry Jenkins for Medicine for Melancholy
Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.

  • Margaret Brown for The Order of Myths
  • Sacha Gervasi for Anvil! The Story of Anvil
  • Darius Marder for Loot
Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.

  • Jason Orans for Goodbye Solo & Year of the Fish
  • Lars Knudsen & Jay Van Hoy for Treeless Mountain & I'll Come Running
  • Heather Rae for Frozen River
Notes and Reactions...

  • As I mentioned above, Frozen River leads the way with seven nominations followed closely by Rachel Getting Married and Ballast
  • While it was back in the pack with four nominations, paradoxically I think Milkhas the best chance out of all of the films on this list at picking up Oscar nominations.
  • That said, I look at this list and think the Oscars will be dominated by the major studios, because there are not a lot of strong independent films that came out this year. (Although regular readers will not be shocked as I have often lamented the lack of a breakout limited releases this year.)
  • There are a few films that are underdogs to win awards, but I was happy that they at least earned some nominations. These include The Visitor, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Synecdoche, New York.

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Filed under: Awards Season, Milk, The Wrestler, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Rachel Getting Married, The Hurt Locker, The Visitor, Entre les murs, Synecdoche, New York, Man on Wire, Frozen River, The Wackness, Gomorra, Encounters at the End of the World, Wendy and Lucy, Up the Yangtze, Savage Grace, Towelhead, The Signal, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Hunger, Ballast, Chop Shop, La Graine et le Mulet, Take Out, The Order of Myths, Turn the River