Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Spirit Award Nominations

Here are the nominees for the ceremony coveting independent films and debut filmmakers:

Best Picture
Frozen River
Rachel Getting Married
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Best Director
Ramin Bahrani - Chop Shop
Jonathan Demme - Rachel Getting Married
Lance Hammer - Ballast
Courtney Hunt - Frozen River
Thomas McCarthy - The Visitor

Best First Feature
Afterschool (Antonio Campos)
Medicine for Melancholy (Barry Jenkins)
Sangre de Mi Sangre (Christopher Zalla)
Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera)
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)

John Cassavetes Award (Feature made under $500K)
In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Alex Holdridge)
Prince of Broadway (Sean Baker)
The Signal (David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry)
Take Out (Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou)
Turn the River (Chris Eigeman)

Best First Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black - Milk
Lance Hammer - Ballast
Courtney Hunt - Frozen River
Jonathan Levine - The Wackness
Jenny Lumet - Rachel Getting Married

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck - Sugar
Charlie Kaufman - Synecdoche, New York
Howard A. Rodman - Savage Grace
Christopher Zalla - Sangre de Mi Sangre

Best Female Lead
Summer Bishil - Towelhead
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Melissa Leo - Frozen River
Tarra Riggs - Ballast
Michelle Williams - Wendy and Lucy

Best Male Lead
Javier Bardem - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
Sean Penn - Milk
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Best Supporting Female
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Rosemarie DeWitt - Rachel Getting Married
Rosie Perez - The Take
Misty Upham - Frozen River
Debra Winger - Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Male
James Franco - Milk
Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker
Charlie McDermott - Frozen River
JimMyron Ross - Ballast
Haaz Sleiman - The Visitor

Best Cinematography
Maryse Alberti - The Wrestler
Lol Crowley - Ballast
James Laxton - Medicine for Melancholy
Harris Savides - Milk
Michael Simmonds - Chop Shop

Best Documentary
The Betrayal (Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasaveth)
Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog)
Man on Wire (James Marsh)
The Order of Myths (Margaret Brown)
Up the Yangtze (Yung Chang)

Best Foreign Film
The Class (Laurent Cantet) - France
Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone) - Italy
Hunger (Steve McQueen) - UK/Ireland
Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche) - France
Silent Night (Carlos Reygades) - Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany

Robert Altman Award (Given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Synecdoche, New York
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams

Someone to Watch Award
Barry Jenkins - Medicine for Melancholy
Nina Paley - Sita Sings the Blues
Lynn Shelton - My Effortless Brilliance

Truer Than Fiction Award
Margaret Brown - The Order of Myths
Sacha Gervasi - Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Darius Marder - Loot

Producers Award
Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy - Treeless Mountain and I'll Come Running
Jason Orans - Goodbye Solo and Year of the Fish
Heather Rae - Frozen River and Ibid

A couple of things to notice here. First, Marisa Tomei does not get a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, so that might hurt her chances for an Oscar nom. Points for Debra Winger and Rosemarie DeWitt (although a split between the two might end up hurting them both). Next, it will be interesting to see if either Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke wins to establish perhaps a favorite come Oscar night, and look out for Richard Jenkins. Anne Hathaway seems a lock for Best Actress, but she might need a win to keep momentum going. Milk not nominated for Best Picture and Gus Van Sant as Best Director might raise a few eyebrows as well. It also seems that James Franco will be favored over Josh Brolin in the supporting category, but who knows? We also find a couple of favorites in the Documentary category, with Herzog's Encounters and James Marsh's Man on Wire. In the Foreign Language category, The Class will be a strong contender coming off a Palme d'Or win. What do you think?

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