The Weekend Warrior

12 Years a Slave & Nebraska Dominate Spirit Award Nominations

Source: Film Independent , Edward Douglas
November 26, 2013

The nominations for the 29th Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning at the W Hotel in Los Angeles with Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) leading the nominations with seven, including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay. It was followed closely with six nominations for Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which was nominated for Best Feature and Director but was also nominated in the "First Screenplay" category.

12 Years a Slave, which has been earning praise and accolades since it's debut at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, the latter where it won both the Jury and Audience prizes, received three acting nominations, for Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead category and Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita N'Yongo, all three who are likely to get Oscar nominations as well. It was also nominated for Sean Bobbit's cinematography.

Nebraska also received three acting nods, for Bruce Dern in the lead category and Will Forte and June Squibb in supporting. Unfortunately, they'll be competing for Oscar nominations against all the actors in the bigger budget studio movies, such as Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc., who weren't eligible for the Spirits.

Woody Allen's screenplay for Blue Jasmine was nominated as were his two actresses, Cate Blanchett as lead and Sally Hawkins as supporting.

Some of the odder omissions include the nominations for Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis for Best Feature without being nominated for direction or screenplay. (Oscar Isaac was nominated for his lead performance in the latter.)

Likewise, Dallas Buyers’ Club received nominations for the performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto but nothing else.

Jeff Nichols' Mud will receive this year's Robert Altman Award, given to the director, ensemble cast and casting director. Oddly, Nichols received a nomination for his direction of the movie, which was otherwise shut out.

What do the Independent Spirits mean for the Oscar race? Sometimes it can mean everything, sometimes it means nothing. In this case, the amount of support for McQueen's movie is so overwhelming that it's hard to imagine it not winning the Spirit Award for Best Feature, since it doesn't have to compete with bigger budget movies from Disney, Sony, Paramount and Warner Bros. On the other hand, the Independent Spirits has sometimes been seen as a consolation prize for movies that go on to lose Best Picture to something else. That was the case last year with David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, as well as Lee Daniels' Precious, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Alexander Payne's Sideways and both of Darren Aronofsky's last two movies, Black Swan and The Wrestler.

A lot of the acting nominations give a nice boost to some of the potential candidates being touted for Oscars, although as I mentioned earlier, there's a lot more competition when you add in the movies made on large budgets with a larger studio's financial backing.

The Independent Spirit Awards will take place on March 1, 2014, as usual one night before the Oscars.

You can see the full list of nominations below:

Best Feature
12 Years a Slave, All Is Lost, Francis Ha, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska

Best Director
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color; J.C. Chandor; All Is Lost; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave; Jeff Nichols, Mud; Alexander Payne, Nebraska

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine; Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater Before Midnight; Nicole Holofcener Enough Said; Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Spectacular Now; John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Best First Feature
Blue Caprice, Director/Producer: Alexandre Moors; Producers: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi; Concussion, Director: Stacie Passon, Producer: Rose Troche; Fruitvale Station, Director: Ryan Coogler; Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker; Una Noche, Director/Producer: Lucy Mulloy, Producers: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago; Wadjda, Director: Haifaa Al Mansour, Producers: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul

Best First Screenplay
Lake Bell, In A World; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon; Bob Nelson, Nebraska; Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight; Michael Starrbury, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

John Cassavetes Award (best feature made for under $500,000)
Computer Chess, Writer/Director: Andrew Bujalski, Producers: Houston King & Alex Lipschultz; Crystal Fairy, Writer/Director: Sebastiàn Silva, Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín & Pablo Larraín; Museum Hours, Writer/Director: Jem Cohen, Producers: Paolo Calamita & Gabriele Kranzelbinder; Pit Stop, Writer/Director: Yen Tan, Writer: David Lowery, Producers: Jonathan Duffy, James M. Johnston, Eric Steele, Kelly Williams; This is Martin Bonner, Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Julie Delpy, Before Midnight; Gaby Hoffmann, Crystal Fairy; Brie Larson, Short Term 12; Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now

Best Male Lead
Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Supporting Female
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station; Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine; Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Yolonda Ross, Go For Sisters; June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Supporting Male
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave; Will Forte, Nebraska; James Gandolfini, Enough Said; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club; Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12

Best Cinematography
Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave; Benoit Debie, Spring Breakers; Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis; Frank G. DeMarco, All Is Lost; Matthias Grunsky, Computer Chess

Best Editing
Shane Carruth & David Lowery, Upstream Color; Jem Cohen & Marc Vives, Museum Hours; Jennifer Lame, Frances Ha; Cindy Lee, Una Noche; Nat Sanders, Short Term 12

Best Documentary
20 Feet From Stardom, Director/Producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers; After Tiller, Directors/Producers: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson; Gideon’s Army, Diretor/Producer: Dawn Porter, Producer: Julie Goldman; The Act of Killing, Director/Producer: Joshua Oppenheimer, Producers: Joram Ten Brink, Christine Cynn, Anne Köhncke, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Michael Uwemedimo, The Square, Director: Jehane Noujaim, Producer: Karim Amer

Best International Film
A Touch of Sin, (China), Director: Jia Zhang-Ke; Blue is the Warmest Color, (France), Director: Abdellatif Kechiche; Gloria, (Chile), Director: Sebastián Lelio; The Great Beauty, (Italy), Director: Paolo Sorrentino; The Hunt, (Denmark), Director: Thomas Vinterberg

17th Annual Piaget Producers Award
Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston, Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa, Frederick Thornton

20th Annual Someone To Watch Award
My Sister’s Quinceañera, Director: Aaron Douglas Johnston; Newlyweeds, Director: Shaka King; The Foxy Merkins, Director: Madeline Olnek

19th Annual Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award
Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course; Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn; Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, Manakamana

Robert Altman Award
Mud, Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon

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