Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2008 Independent Spirit Award Nominees

I tend to like the nominees and winners of the Spirit Awards more so than the Oscars, which more often than not comes down to a popularity contest, or worse yet, determined based solely on marketing strategy. This year's Spirit Nominees are typically all over the place, and as a result are a nice breath of fresh air as the same names continue to pop up in the Oscar race. I am glad to see a lot of love for Frozen River and the great Rachel Getting Married in particular, a film that continues to grow on me with every passing day. This will probably be the only awards body to give substantial love to Charlie Kaufman's head-spinningly wonderful Synecdoche, New York as well, and for that I give them props. I gotta say I am a little surprised that Milk could garner two acting nods and somehow miss out on Best Feature and Best Director mentions. I guess they would rather single-out true independent productions, so I can't really argue with that when you get down to it. Besides, Milk is going to get plenty of high-profile Oscar love. Anyway, check the list below and try and seek out some of these small gems. (Thanks to Awards Daily)

Best Feature

“Ballast”
Producers: Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh

“Frozen River”
Producers: Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae

“Rachel Getting Married”
Producers: Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, Marc Platt

“Wendy and Lucy”
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani

“The Wrestler”
Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

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”
Director: Antonio Campos
Producers: Sean Durkin, Josh Mond

“Medicine for Melancholy”
Director: Barry Jenkins
Producer: Justin Barber

“Sangre de Mi Sangre”
Director: Christopher Zalla
Producers: Per Melita, Benjamin Odell

“Sleep Dealer”
Director: Alex Rivera
Producer: Anthony Bregman

“Synecdoche, New York”
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Sidney Kimmel

John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

“In Search of a Midnight Kiss”
Writer/Director: Alex Holdridge
Producers: Seth Caplan and Scoot McNairy

“Prince of Broadway”
Director: Sean Baker
Writers: Sean Baker, Darren Dean
Producer: Darren Dean

“The Signal”
Writer/Directors: David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry
Producers: Jacob Gentry and Alexander Motiagh

“Take Out”
Writer/Directors/Producers: Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou

“Turn the River”
Writer/Director: Chris Eigeman
Producer: Ami Armstrong

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 Cristina Barcelona”

Anna Fleck and Ryan Boden, “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 Cristina Barcelona”

Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”

Sean Penn, “Milk”

Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”

Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”

Best Supporting Female

Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina 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 (Nerakhoon)”
Director: Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath

“Encounters at the End of the World”
Director: Werner Herzog

“Man on Wire”
Director: James Marsh

“The Order of Myths”
Director: Margaret Brown

“Up the Yangtze”
Director: Yang Chung

Best Foreign Film

“The Class” (France)
Director: Laurent Cantet

“Gomorrah” (Italy)
Director: Matteo Garrone

“Hunger” (UK/Ireland)
Director: Steve McQueen

“Secret of the Grain” (France)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

“Silent Light” (Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany)
Director: Carlos Reygadas

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: Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams

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